By Lori Jones
Special to the Yukon Progress
Every so often in rescue, a dog or puppy comes along that completely envelops your heart and brings great love. We love every single rescue that comes through our doors, and many have stayed for their lifetime due to past neglect, trauma or abuse. That’s okay. We will love them through their lifetime, and when they cross that Rainbow Bridge, our hearts hurt, but we know we gave them love, safety, kindness, acceptance and happiness, as well as a good and honorable life. The old ones we expect to leave us, the deeply sick or injured, we understand what is coming.
But Rocket Man was different. He was a part of a litter of ten puppies, born to a very malnourished, abandoned mother who had no way to feed herself or her unborn puppies. Two of the puppies when born didn’t make it. Another had some physical issues which we worked hard to correct, and Rocket Man, well, Mom simply pushed him away. She knew he had special needs, and with seven other babies to feed, her decision created a deep love in us and a strong desire to help this tiny little boy. So much smaller than his siblings, it was very touch and go for a few weeks. I carried him around with me to keep him warm, and fed him first using a bottle, then used a souvenir spoon to feed him wet puppy food as he grew. After some time, we were able to get him to get him to use his legs, then he found some balance, and before too long, he was running around like a normal puppy and playing with toys and growling at the big dogs. He completely captured our hearts, but mine most of all. Hours were spent sleeping close to him, feeding him every few hours, watching over him as he developed and grew bigger and stronger. Deep inside was an overwhelming love and desire to protect him and help him thrive.
Rocket Man stayed much smaller than his siblings, yet seemed to be living his best life. He would run as fast as he could and jump into my arms when I called him, he explored and sniffed and smelled, and loved the grass. He would lounge on the back porch in the sun for hours, and was so excited when he discovered Milk Bones. He had such a personality, and was a happy boy, so innocent and sweet. He somehow drew you into him, and captured your heart.
We knew Rocket had some trouble with his balance, he had since the beginning. We thought he would continue to grow out of it, but it suddenly started to grow worse. After a trip to the vet, and to the emergency room, then to another vet, it was discovered he had somehow contracted Tetanus, which is an awful disease. Our vet immediately started medicines, and for awhile, he responded. But it hit him hard, and he never was able to get back on his feet again. He would eat, and still try to play, and drink, and sit up and watch the world, but the spark softly started leaving his bright, bright eyes, his little tail slowly stopped wagging for us.
On September 10th, 2020, Rocket Man softly slipped away in the early morning hours. He was exactly 8 months old. We were able to be there, to comfort him, and to softly touch him as he flew. As many dogs and puppies as we have loved and lost over our years, losing Rocket Man was heartbreaking. He was supposed to live. He was supposed to get better. This rescue heart is still shattered, but I know he is up there, running freely and keeping his little nose to the ground.
Rocket Man touched so many hearts. We shared his story and kept his friends updated on his little progresses, and his challenges. I am still amazed at the number of people that followed his story and prayed over him and cheered him on. He was so loved, and I know there were many tears when we shared our deep loss with the world. His loss is still deeply felt here. We still look for him, still see him on the pallets we haven’t been able to move. Finding his toys under coffee tables and around corners brings that loss back over and over. His impact on our hearts has been profound and always will be.
Rocket Man has many champions that grew to love him too. Two of those champions were touched deeply by this little puppy’s strength and determination to get better, and they have generously offered to sponsor an “In Remembrance of Rocket Man” memorial. For every donation received on behalf of Rocket Man’s important little life, it will be matched up to $2,000 for Haven of Hope Rescue to continue to help puppies like Rocket Man.
Donations to honor Rocket Man can be made through PayPal using firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations can be made through our website – http://www.havenofhoperescue.com – Click the “How to Help” tab.
Monetary donations can be made to Haven of Hope Rescue and mailed to:
7820 Gregory Road NW
Okarche, OK 73762
This is an incredible gift and will mean so much to us as we head into the winter months and puppy season, and as we continue to work toward finishing out our second facility so we can save more dogs.
We would like to make this generous gesture go viral. We know Rocket Man will not be the last special needs puppy we bring through our doors. He was just the one that will always be held tight inside our hearts, the one that was so brave that he brought such admiration, the one that changed us forever and helped us learn lessons that only he could teach us.
We will be forever grateful for his presence in our lives.