Rocco Taco Romano is a rescue Bee-gull who I was innerduced to by one of my pooch lady frens, Boo Fallon. Boo an Rocco are next door neighbors an BFFs.
Rocco trotted right up for the Wag-an-Sniff. “How-DO, Mr. Bonzo. I’m Rocco. This is my Daddy, Jeff. My Mommy, Wendy Allen, is elsewhere.”
Rocco’s front legs were extra short and crooked, but he was one squared-away poocheroo. Bee-gulls, in my opinion, always look like they’re going to an important meeting — all neat an tidy an spiffy, alert, great poss-chur. I fluffed my ears, sucked in my tummy as best I could, an sat up straight.
Rocco said, “My gran-father, PaPa Dennis, usta read your columns every single week, so I’m fuh-MILL-yer with ’em. Should I just start yappin’?”
“That’d be great, Rocco!” I opened my notebook.
“Well, when I was a pupper, about 16 months old, a sorta young human guy got me from a pet store in South Florida. He was OK I guess, but I’m not sure why he even got a dog cuz I mostly stayed inna cage ’cept when he wanted to show me to his frens. Anyway, his Dad knew my (future) Daddy, an when he saw me all droopy an duh-PRESSED, sittin’ in my cage, he knew he had to get me outta there, so he called Daddy.
“Before all that (if I can remember it right), Mommy an Daddy had a liddle rat terrier, Lulu. Then they got another Rat Terrier, Mac, so Lulu’d have a pooch pal. But Lulu was her own BFF so they got Gracie, a Bee-gull like me. It was after Lulu went to Dog Heaven, they got the call about me, and decided to drive down to take a look. I think that’s how it went.”
“Woof!” I said.
“Back then, I was Totally Dismal Dog Biscuits. I didn’t have a collar, just a rope around my neck. I was skinny, an my tail was broken in three places, probly cuzza closin’ my cage door on it. I had the personality of a puh-TAY-doh. I didn’t have a clue how to be a dog. I didn’t know about toys. I was just lyin’ inna pile in the corner. I was a Shadow Dog.”
“Woof, Rocco, I can’t even imagine that! I mean, you’re so outgoing an frenly.”
“Now I am. But not then. It’s amazin’ Mommy an Daddy even wanted me. But, Thank Lassie, they DID! Everybody was real kind an patient an, after about 3 months, my personality started to uh-MERGE. I began to get a New Leash on Life!”
Rocco pawsed, sniffled a liddle, then, in a quieter voice, said, “We’re all feelin’ kinda sad still, cuz Gracie an Mac both went to Dog Heaven just a few weeks ago. They were both Getting’ Up There, but still … I miss ’em So Much.”
“Oh, Rocco, I’m SO Sorry,” I told him.
“Thank you, Bonzo. They had a wunnerful life, for sure. An, see, I’m wearin’ Mac’s collar.”
It was blue an white with whales on it.
“That is so Cool Kibbles. I bet you have a buncha frens.”
“Ab-so-woofin’-lutely! I’m glad I have my BFF, Boo. Every morning, I sit by my gate an wait for her to come out an play; then there’s Aunt Sydney, she’s Gramma Skinner’s collie; an my special human fren, PaPa Skinner. I usta jump right in his lap and he let me snuggle as long as I wanted. I always felt so comfy an happy. I LOVED snugglin’ with PaPa. He’s in Heaven now, too, an I think about him every day. Ackshully, Mr. Bonzo, I wanna dedicate my innerview to him. He’d be so proud of me.”
“I unnerstand, Rocco. Grammas an Grampas are special.” I wiped my eyes with my paw. “What’s your day like? Any favrite toys? Snacks?”
“I get two long walks every day. Us Bee-gulls have tons of energy. I also have baskets of toys. I call ’em all ‘balls.’ Me an Daddy play Tug-of-War or Fetch. When I’m tired of Fetchin’ my ball, I rip it to bits, which is almost as fun as the fetchin’ part. I also love ridin’ in the car, with my seatbelt harness on, my ears flappin’ in the wind. Sometimes me an Daddy go to Casey’s for lunch and I get one or two French Fries. And when we go to Dunkin Donuts, I get One-an-Only-One Munchkin. My Totally Favrite treats are Green Beans an Bananas. When I hear the word ‘TREAT’, I run an hop an twirl an bark all the way to the fridge.
“But I don’t always just play. When Mommy an Daddy are feelin’ sad about Mac an Gracie, I snuggle up an make ’em feel Much Better. I might ackshully get trained as a therapy dog. I could even help liddle kids who have disabilities like I do with my front legs. Mommy an Daddy say I have a knack for it.”
“What’s a knack?”
“I’m not sure. But I hope I get to do it. I think helpin’ humans is an important part of a dog’s purpose.”
“You’d be great at that,” I told him.
Alluva sudden, there was a loudish noise outside. Rocco jumped up an let out this big Ah-ROOOoooooooo!!
I picked my pencil up off the floor.
“Sorry about that. Instinks, ya know. I ackshully have three Official Barks: my Famous Bay, which you just heard; my I Smell Something Important Bark; an my Basic Bark.”
I wish I coulda hung out with Rocco longer. Heading home, I was thinkin’ how Cool Kibbles it was that Rocco hadn’t let his dismal beginning keep him from becomin’ a happy, loving poocheroo. An tryin’ to remember if I’d ever had a banana.
Till next time,