R.I.P. Rocky

2011-01-22 14.05.29

I think all pet owners inherently know that when they get a puppy it will grow up and eventually grow old. This is something that is always in the deep recesses of our minds, something that should not be thought about until the time comes when your beloved puppy is now a old adult dog.

Many of you know that I have been on this journey to figure out my potential and in that process I’ve grown attached to Rocky. Thirteen years ago we became acquainted as my girlfriend, at the time, received this small little Lhaso Apso. The cutest brownish dog you could have ever laid your eyes on and she promptly called him Rocky (after The Rock). During that time I was in a rut after being laid off from Duetche Bank because I could not find a steady job so it became my job to take care of him when she wasn’t home.

2011-01-29 14.36.36
He slept any where! lol

We became attached so quickly. I house trained him as best I could and walked him 3 times a day. When she used to come home she would often find him sleeping on my chest (I was knocked out too). Rocky was a vibrant dog that had his own personality. He was feisty and yet very prissy. He hated the snow because his paws got wet (and yet he made it to Syracuse). The one thing I could never be around him was sad or depressed. It was like he sensed that in me. He would nudge me with his face to play and if I didn’t respond then he would use his paw.

Rocky was with me through just about every major change in my life. The layoff, 9/11, the move to Syracuse, the marriage, the divorce, and he was with me when I moved out of my house. It was hard to say goodbye to him when I left Syracuse but I knew that my ex-wife would take good care of him. I wanted him to be able to still walk in the grass and not the concrete of New York City.

2011-03-27 16.52.41
“Rub my belly”

He was getting old. Rocky contracted diabetes and became blind after a while. He morphed into a grumpy old man that just didn’t want to be bothered with the stresses of dog life. He just wanted his belly rubbed, a full bowl of water, and food. Although, he still loved to play. No matter how old he got he still loved to play with me or anyone that was going to give him the attention. Rocky was truly an attention whore that would bark at me if I slept too late. lol

He always adjusted to my schedule. We fell asleep roughly at the same time (but then again he slept all damn day lol). This dog would not really eat until I got home. I would make dinner or get dinner and once I started eating, I would hear him digging around his dish. Rocky would always make me laugh because eating was an event to him. He would play with his food before actually eating, unless it was a bacon strip…then there was no playing around with that.

Rocky was the people’s dog (yes, I said it) because he (and I shit you not) would not back down from any sized dog. TheĀ rottweiler next door would bark and Rocky would bark back. We take him to the dog park and if any ratchet dog sniffed his ass, this little dog would snap back (and then sniff other dogs afterward lol). He simply did not like other dogs until we got Rusty (another dog I just tear up about). Rocky loved people. There was no guard dog sense about him until he became an old man. If I had company over Rocky would lose his mind if I did not let him out the room so he could meet them.

I cried today. One of my best friends is gone. It was time for him to go. He had heart murmur that was giving him seizures. I cannot even imagine what that must have looked like. The vet told my ex wife that it was time for him. When I spoke to her on the phone I could hear him whimpering (I can barely deal with this).

My Dog. He was very much a part of me. I have had many dogs in my life time but he was the one that connected to my heart in the most profound way. I took care of him like he was child of mine. Our personalities flowed and I even wrote a poem about him. That dog taught me what unconditional love means and that is the greatest gift he has ever given to me. I am just very glad that his pain is finally gone. Goodbye Rocky, I will forever miss you.

2011-06-07 16.09.12

Tony FAQ

I wanted to compile a small list of questions that people have been asking me since I moved back to NYC:

The number one question that I have been hearing lately is “how is the new job?” It can often times be more specific like “How is Barnard?” This is a fair question and I feel as if I need to come up with a universal answer since I have often been repeating myself. That is not to say that I do not like answering the question because anyone who switches jobs will tell you that the question of how your new job is will happen well past the first two months from the start date.

Barnard College is great. I cannot be happier right now. The job I have right now is very similar to what I had at Syracuse University with some differences. The campus is smaller but the fact that it is so neatly tucked into Morningside Heights makes it really special. There is hardly any sense of apathy which is a real change from Syracuse. These young women are very attuned to what is happening in the world and it really impresses me. I suppose being at an Ivy League institution will do that. (Which freaks me out — Ivy League??)

Here is another question I get, “How’s the transition?” The funny thing is, I never considered moving to NYC to be a transition. It was very easy to go back to the public transportation mode. My work hours are relatively the same and I am treating my living situation similarly to what I had before I left Central New York. The only things that took a while to get used to was not having Rocky in my life and the constant Parking Wars that go on in the streets of NYC everyday.

There is not a day that goes by in which I see a dog that reminds me of Rocky. There is always someone walking their small dog that bears that resemblance. There is a dog park over by Riverside Drive that is called Rocky Run. I took him there once and I am the mayor of that place on Foursquare. Perhaps it sounds silly, but I think about him every time I check in. Of course, I am over that way because I have to park the car, which is also about 15 blocks from where I reside. These are the parking wars that I am getting used to and can probably dedicate an entire blog post on this subject.

“Where are you living now?” I am still in Washington Heights. It is interesting to not live in the Bronx or in Mount Vernon. The parking wars are serious in this section of Manhattan this for sure. I do feel very comfortable living here, more than I thought I would. Perhaps because I was so used to everything being slower and quieter. When I was in Syracuse, I felt like I was moving faster than everyone else or that perhaps I was just a little bit louder. I feel like I fit right into a busy neighborhood that plays so much Musica Latina.

I think there is a lot to be said with me coming back to a place that has had the culture that I have missed so much. Before you assume that I am making this all about Spanish food and Latin Music, there is a definite culture in being a New Yorker. It is the feel of the city, the thrill of the sports, and oddly enough the subway train rides. It is these things that have made my return easier for me on all fronts.

Finally, “How is your mother doing?” She is doing remarkably well. I often say that you would never know that she had a quintuple bypass surgery. I believe there is a part of her that feels she now has a second chance at life. I have often wondered what it is like to get older and face death, but I think that because she was a nurse in The Bronx, she has seen her fair share of death.

She is walking around more than she did in the past. While she may not be as strong as before she will get to where she needs to be with PT. Her body is not just recovering from the surgery, as I mentioned before that she does have Diabetes. Taking that into account will all the other ailment, like Arthritis, and you get a picture of how she should look and feel. But, she doesn’t look like one of those old ladies. As long as she continues to pay attention to diet and maintain her exercise, I think she will be fine for years to come.

If you have any more questions feel free to send me a message on here or through Facebook!

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

As I write this, I look down and see an empty floor. For the last few years I have had Rocky by my side. He has been the one living thing that has witnessed just about everything that has happened to me in the 21st Century. Now, Rocky is the last real sacrifice I have made before I leave Syracuse. He will stay here with the ex-wife to live out the rest of his days.

I cannot help but feel sad about this even though I know that I am doing the right thing. He will be much happier in Syracuse where there is more grass and trees. The chances are extremely high that he will be more spoiled than ever and I am ok with that. It was just heart breaking to say good bye to him. It is going to be weird to wake up every morning and not have to walk him. I am grateful that my days here are numbered because him not greeting me everyday when I open the door to my bedroom will be difficult.

Rocky is a reminder of where I have been. He was a puppy sleeping on my chest when I was going through my unemployment period in 2000. I remember the walks from Soundview to Castle Hill, in which, we crossed through the mall on White Plains Road in the Bronx. I also remember hugging him hard after I came home from 9/11.

He had such great resilience to survive that first drive to Syracuse. Rocky hates the snow but loved to dig his face in it. I remember how he loved the other dog, Rusty, and how sad he was when he died. Rocky has seen me at my worst during the divorce and he is seen me at my best when I sold the house. He could tell my moods and always found away to make me feel better. I repaid him by nursing him back to health when he was sick.

I have watched him grow old and lose his eye sight. Rocky is like an old man now with his old man ways. You have to carry him downstairs because he is afraid to fall. I almost do not remember life without having to cater to him. Yet, I would not have it any other way because I truly love that dog.

Saying goodbye was something I had to prepare for. He was originally supposed to come back home with me. But, things happen and situations change. Rocky will be in a better place and will still be loved. I will miss him more than than he will know. This is truly my last sacrifice. I feel know that I am coming back with nothing but the clothes on my back (and the comic books, dvds, PS3, and TV in the Car)…

Saying Goodbye

“How do you find the words to say, To say goodbye When your heart don’t have the heart to say, To say goodbye…” – Alicia Keys “Goodbye”

Time to get a little personal here. Although I think I have done that already, I have always been very vague about many of the details that surround my personal life. However tomorrow I have to do something that will prove to be very tough indeed.

Most of you know how much I love my dog, Rocky. He has been in my life for such a long time. He will be 10 years old this summer and he has literally been a rock in my life. Ever since he was a puppy, he has brightened my day. Rocky is very bright and has some serious personality. I am not sure any other animal, human or not, has made me laugh as much as this dog.

I have to say goodbye to him. As part of an agreement that I have with my ex wife, she will take him. Rocky is very much her dog. He was given to her as a gift in 2000 and while I have been there for him, Rocky does belong to her. Tomorrow will be the last day I see him for sometime. While I am saddened by the fact I will not see him for awhile, Rocky will be ok.

Usually it is better to not have a long goodbye. I know that will see him again so I will promise myself not to make this harder than it needs to be. The funny thing is, he will just look at me with his eyes and want to play. He will probably bark and then I will have to bark back at him. You know that a dog has touched you when you have a pet name for him. I call him “papa”.

I am not sure if I will ever get another dog. I have had several in my life since I was a kid, but Rocky has had the most spirit. He is a dog that does not like to have his ass smelled by other dogs but will definitely smell theirs. He is a small dog with a big dog attitude in which case I have seen me stare down a Rottweiler. He loves human contact. If you walk in a room and you do not pet him…he will let you know. Let’s not forget that he is only dog I have ever written a poem about.

Saying Goodbye is always hard. I am not very good at it because I have had trouble letting go. However, in this particular instance I have no choice. I am ok with this because she loves him as much as I do, so it is not like he is going somewhere that is unsafe for him. The best thing, however, is that I have tons of good memories and pictures.

Rocky has touched my heart in so many ways. He has seen me and my best and my worst. This dog has proven to me that I can be a very gentle and loving man. When I was at my darkest points, he was there for me.

This is not a goodbye forever….just a goodbye now. Goodbye papa, I will miss you… šŸ˜¦

Me & My Dog

I am foregoing “Tid Bit Tuesday” this week because I woke up with a poem in my head that I needed to write. I do not just come up with poetry everyday so the times I feel inspired I just need to write it down. So this is what I got:

Me & My Dog

My Dog would neverā€¦
Say ā€œI donā€™t want youā€
or tell me we can never be together

My Dog would neverā€¦
would never nag me or
complain that I work too much

My Dog would neverā€¦
ignore me and pretend I do not exist
nor would I have to question if I am being missed

My Dog is sad when I leave and happy when I return
I never have to wonder where I stand in the heart
of an animal that just knows what love is

My Dog would neverā€¦
be confused or require space
or be hung up on mistakes

My Dog has a very short memory and will not linger in the past
instead will live for the moment, for as long as it can last

My Dogā€™s love is unconditional and I would never have to worry
about maintaining a friendship
or proving my love

I donā€™t have to fight for My Dogā€™s heart, I already have it
when I am lonely I can look over and see
that all My Dog really wants is just me

My Dog appreciatesā€¦
my touch, my voice, my playfulness, and my humor
as well as my desire to be needed

I would never have to get defensive because
My Dog would not point out things that I constantly do wrong

My Dog understandsā€¦
that I am a man that is not perfect
that my indecisiveness is based on need to make a better choice

My Dog understandsā€¦
that at the end of the day all I want is hug
and to feel that I am important

Right now, the only thing
I need is the only thing
that loves me

So for nowā€¦it is just Me and My Dog

Struggling to Focus

I should have a problem focusing about what to write about. But, of course I am. Why you may ask? Several different reasons…

I brought work home tonight. My boss decides to tell me in the late afternoon that she needs a report by tomorrow. This report usually takes me several days to complete. So I am trying my hardest to make sure I get this done tonight. Which is the problem with being so damn good at what you do…no one else can do it.

I just watched the Mets fall apart. Good Lord. It takes me more than just a few minutes to cool down when they lose so badly. Let me just go on the record and say that I would rather they get blown out in games. This way I can just not be too into the game. Losing close games makes me want to… I am good. I am over it.

My poor dog. His eyes are not doing well. I think the other cataract popped. He looks bad in my opinion, but god bless that dog, he just rolls with it. What I do not get is that despite his eye issues, he is eating now! Which is something he was not doing before. We continue to give him his drops and he does not seem in pain. He is running around (although bumping into shit).

Then there is the fact that I have a cough that will not go away. I have been living on DayQuil for the last few days. I would take NyQuil…but last time I did that, I had issues waking up and staying up. So, i am trying to feel better.

Anyway…I did mention in my last post that I wrote other poems. I did post one on Myspace and I did archive it on this blog. Just in case any of you wanted to read it…

A Few Points…

I have a long weekend ahead of me, which makes me wonder if I will even get to blog tomorrow. I am working the T-Pain concert tomorrow night. While I am more fortunate than my other co-workers, who have to report in at like 8am because we have an Admissions event in the morning (and not to mention T-Pain’s bus at 9 am), I will show up at noon to take care of my normal duties then transition to the entrance manager for the show.

One would think that I am excited for this concert but I am not. I know that T-Pain has many songs (most of which are with other people) and even though I am interested in seeing how he is going to pull a solo concert. I will leave my opinion to after the show.

I keep hearing that Dolphy day was supposed to be today. I am so very sad that it not turn out to be the case. Wednesday night I thought I was in Baghdad with all the explosions of Fireworks that were happening on this block. I saw a cop car and thought maybe these kids would stop, but, not at all. A routine traffic stop….at 3am. The cop ignored what was going on around him.

Since I had heard that today was supposed to be Dolpy Day, I made sure that I prepared myself. I put the dog and his bed in the basement. Took some NyQuil, because I am sick, and past the hell out. I did hear Fireworks when I was in the shower, but I did not hear a thing last night. So I know I knocked out hard.
The bad part about all this was that I knocked our so hard that I felt it took me all day just to wake the fuck up. Not even the coffee I had this morning.


The Vet called today. Rocky’s blood work is normal. I knew it would be. I know my dog. The quack wants to see him sometime next week. She still wants that urine sample because dogs that have diabetes can get urinary track infections. Of course is not like they give you a cup. This woman is like “use a jar”. WTF? So I have to follow my dog around in hopes he lifts his legs then I got to bottle that shit

I haven’t called the other Vet yet. I may wait to see what this Quack has to say about my dog. I am damn sure going to ask her about pain meds for him.

My Dog is Sick

So, Rocky is sick. As mentioned in a post weeks ago, he has diabetes. He does struggle with it. He also has cataracts, which is an condition that is onset from the diabetes. Rocky has an inflamed eye. It is infected and due to the cataracts, he has a whole in his eye. If this sounds painful, well it is. He is in pain and we have been working with this asshole of a vet to get him antibiotics.

The Vet that we took him too was just a royal bitch. She did just about everything to make it seem that we do not know how to treat our dog. She ran some tests. Then gets on Josie for not bringing him in every month. Apparently, when a dog has diabetes, you are supposed to have him come in for a check up every month….a fact that was never shared with us. Not to mention that each visit is like damn near a hundred bucks.

Of course she questions how we get the Insulin. Well, Josie tells this brainiac that Novlin N is a over the counter insulin that any Pharmacy has. Then she is like,”Well you need a prescription for the syringes.” Again she had to be corrected. You can by needles in bulk, dumb ass. Then she tried to find out if he has any accidents. Which, he does, but not often. This bitch wants us to get a urine sample. Are you kidding? What does that have to do with his eyes? He pisses a river with no pain…there is no infection there.

So she tells us that Rocky is in pain, which just breaks my heart. Do you think she gives up anything to ease his pain? Not at all. So after $280, we are stuck with a small bottle of drops for his eyes. She recommends we go talk him to Cornell for treatment.

Whatever Doc! There is an Animal Hospital on the other side of LeMoyne (where they kept me up again last night….I swear I hate them little fuckers). There is a Vet there that comes highly recommended. I am taking Rocky there next week.

What is it about Sleep?

I love to sleep. I could sleep all day if it was up to me. So, why is that I don’t allow myself to get enough of it? I always feel the need to stay up late. You do not have convince me for long to stay up. What makes it worse is that I act this way even when I have to be at work in the morning. There are times I have been up past 2 am. What the hell am I doing? This week I am on vacation and I find myself not getting enough sleep.

Well, it is like this. I love to sleep, but since I spent so much time and energy at work, when I get home the last thing I want to do is sleep. Although, I am a very big fan of napping. I can nap like a champ. Anywhere between 15 – 45 minutes and I am refreshed! It just cannot be too long because then I cannot sleep later. So, again when the times comes for me to sleep, I just don’t want to. The reason is that the sooner I sleep, the sooner I have to get my ass up to work.

Now, I love my job and all the random events and phone calls/emails that I may get at any given time. But as most of us know, work is work. So everyday I pull my head up from the pillow and get ready for work. I count how many hours I had sleep. Normally is it about 6 hours. On a good night I will get 7 and 1/2. On the weekends, I catch up and 8-9 hours.

However, this week, I am not getting enough sleep at all. I am up playing the Wii, watching the World Baseball Classic, reading blogs, chatting, and ripping DVDs (more on that in a later blog). So, I go to bed late, but I do not want to waste most of the day sleeping so I get up earlier than I need to. Then, last night I am thinking…you know I should just go to sleep and wake up when I wake up. Here is how it went…

– 3:46am Head on pillow
– 8:09am Text Message from Co-worker saying I did not put an away message on my email (I know…wtf)

– 8:10am tossing
– 8:25am Dog (Rocky) is Snoring
– 8:50am I hear something banging outside…is my neighbor doing construction?
– 9:10am Rocky is tossing because of the damn noise outside
– 9:50am Rocky has this faint high pitched squeal when he wants to go out…
– 10:05am I turn on the laptop…doze off
– 10:15am Squealing again…he is looking at me now…
– 10:20am I finally take him out
– 10:25am I check on the noise…that is not construction, that is the neighbor’s big ass dog pulling on the aluminum siding of his house
– 10:30am the IMs begin…

Well I have to pack today and get ready to head to NYC tomorrow. I am leaving in the morning so I really cannot mess around. Then I am thinking…well I can always sleep in the car. Hey, I ain’t driving…

Guess Who Got a Hair Cut?

I have to tell you, there are very few things better than a dog in a good mood. When Rocky is shaved, he is like a bat out of hell. He wants to run every where and do everything. When his fur is fully grown in, he is lazy and grumpy. He looks like a mop! So getting him groomed is like getting a brand new dog.

I have no problem with his energy or his guile, the problem I have is that he is blind! Rocky is about 8 years old and with all this dog has been through, I am surprised he is so energetic. He has diabetes and lost his vision. However, it is almost like when he has his buzz cut that he can see again. He has a problem with going down the stairs but with his new look, he is almost a bullet.

I was greeted at the dog today by this blur today and I am happy about that. Since my other dog passed 2 summers ago, I feel he has never been the same. But it is always great to see him like this. As I write this he is killing this bone that we gave him from a Pernil that my wife made.

Josie just said, “You know he is a Puerto Rican Dog”