Our personal space program was launched 13 years ago. The Rocket Man celebrated his birthday today. His daily launches as part of our lives starts with the site of that handsome face and continues to be a mission of joy. We thank him for all the rush, today and always.
Rocket has been our great companion for all but the first six months of his life. Since Laura and I will be celebrating our 13th anniversary in December, it also means that Rocket has been, and hopefully will remain, a major portion of our wonderful Christ-blessed life for all but the earliest portions of our marriage.
The gray hair that covers his face, underside and paws make Rocket look all of those 13 years, but his heart still burns with the enthusiasm of youth. The hip issues that trouble Labs dramatically reduced Rocket’s leaps into our cars over the last few years. He moves slowly in the morning and after our runs or walks along our favorite trails, but we always joke that I do the same anymore. Some anti-inflammatory drugs help us both out now more than we would like.
The biggest change in our otherwise healthy dog is the sadness he now openly displays whenever we pull out travel bags for one of our many road trips. His dejection grows deeper depending on how many bags we drag to the car. He often shows his displeasure with hunger strikes until we return, even though our daughters or friends as house sitters allow Rocket to stay at home.
Laura is Rocket’s great emotional friend. She showers him with her affection every morning and evening. He loves her scratching him behind the ears and rubbing his chest. Rocket hates to have his picture taken. We quip that he views it as a portion of his soul being stolen. Laura struggled just to get the two photographs that go with this story.
Rocket views me as his buddy. He relishes any car ride with me. Our all-out wars on the carpet that usually ended with one of my arms bleeding from a friendly nip have sadly ended. Happily, his enthusiasm for a run or walk never fails. Rocket knows the difference between running shorts and a cycling kit. The running shorts send him dashing throughout the house with joy. My cycling bibs lead him to the treat door knowing one of his favorite jerky strips goes outside with him as I depart on a ride.
Like all dogs, Rocket has perfected the art of napping. It is a great comfort to see him beside me in the basement as I work on photographs for KU. He loves the cold floors in the summer. He soon will be sleeping upstairs while I work. He rests on the warm living room couch or one of our smaller chairs covered with dog blankets during winter. He believes each to be his very own.
All his shedding leaves us frustrated at times, but happy knowing long after Rocket’s time here on earth passes, his hair will be a lasting reminder of all the wonders of our beloved friend. Certainly, we never will find a better watch dog. Rocket is well aware of his security role at our home. His fierce bark still lets everyone know he has no intention of retiring soon.
Tonight Laura will celebrate with Rocket by taking him to the pet food store for a special treat. Unfortunately, I will be photographing a volleyball match after a long day and miss out on the fun. Just as we do for all those we love, our prayers will be that, God willing, Rocket will have many more birthdays to come that neither of us will miss. Happy Birthday, Rocket. God bless you, our dear friend.