I moved to Austin in the summer of 2001 and I was a total mess. Six months before that, two of my best friends and bandmates had been brutally murdered. I spent a couple years finding my way, making friends, and working on music and film and by the start of 2006 I felt like I was in a good place. I had recently made some friends who I was working on film projects with and I was renting a house with some friends. I figured it was time I got a dog.
As a kid I had this mutt named Chris. We got him from the pound and he was the best. He was loyal and smart and everything a kid wants in a dog. I had left him behind when I went to college and not long after I moved to Austin he had to be put down.
I did some research on what I wanted for my next dog. I wanted a mutt, for sure… I was always against the idea of a purebred dog, just doesn’t appeal to me.. And I wanted something smart. A dog that was a challenge. I was looking around at the different smart breeds… mostly herding dogs… but I didn’t want too hyper.
I stumbled on a Craigslist ad for some puppies that had a mother who was a Lab and Border Collie mix and a father that was a Lab and Australian Cattle Dog mix. Perfect! They had a litter of 9 puppies and only one in the picture had the Cattle Dog spotted markings. I called them up and they had a few left, but not the one I wanted. I made arrangements to go over the next day and see them and pick one out, but was bummed they didn’t have the one I wanted.. Before I left the next day they called to tell me they were all already spoken for. I thanked them and resumed the search.
A few days later, on the day the puppies were weaned, I got a call that one of the people had backed out and they still had one… and it was the one I wanted. I raced up there and picked her up, she was the cutest damn puppy ever. She could fit in the palm of my hand! I paid the 15 bucks for the shots and took her home.
Man, was she clever! I didn’t have to house train her, she was confused by puppy pads. She went to the door to be let out from the first day. She was smart and sometimes devious and I loved all those things about her. When she would push me too hard on something I would put her in time out in another room and leave the door open. After some time had passed she would creep up to the door and peak around to see if I was still there and if she saw me she’d duck back in and act like nothing happened. That level of smart.
We were best friends for years and then in the fall of 2008 we had our first challenge. She met Avigail and Alchemy for the first time. And then about a month after meeting them, they moved into our house. Suddenly she had this goofball dog following her around everywhere getting on her nerves and a 18 month old baby grabbing her tail and climbing all over her.
She fought me over Avigail at first. She didn’t want this baby getting all the attention. Eventually she came around and was her biggest protector. She would stand in front of her when people she didn’t know came in the room. And would bark to keep them back. She eventually took Alchemy in and tolerated her and did her best to be friends with her but was always there protecting her. She was incredibly loyal and never backed down from anything.
Once we had a hamster in our house. The cage was on a shelf about 6 feet high. She would sit and stare at the cage for hours on end. I would shoo her away and no one understood why I did that, they thought she was innocent. I told them she wasn’t just curious. I could see her planning. The wheels in her brain were clicking into place.
A couple months later she comes strolling into the living room with the hamster in her mouth just as proud as could be. Directly beneath the cage was a 4 foot tall bass amp. She knocked a framed poster over to create a ramp up to the amp and then had nudged the cage open and grabbed the hamster.
In 2011 Avigail’s mother was killed in a car wreck and my life came crashing down once again. The film friends I had started backstabbing each other and one lunatic I was working with threatened lawsuits and ended up suing me. Rogue was the one who was always there for me during all of that. As devious as she could be, she was also extremely empathetic. She could tell when I needed her and she would come and be near me and snuggle up to me and was absolutely the best dog she could be.
In 2016 I met my wife and Rogue had to make room for another person in her life. She didn’t like it at first but eventually accepted her and begrudgingly came to respect and like her.
Not long after we met Amy, Rogue broke into a roommates box of things and ate a huge bar of dark baking chocolate. She was at the vets overnight and they told me the heart defect that I knew she had, had gotten worse and that there wasn’t anything we could do. It would slowly deteriorate her back legs because she wasn’t pumping blood properly. I’ve watched as she’s gotten weaker and weaker these past few years, but she’s a beast of a dog and never let it show.
About six months ago it took a turn. She had trouble getting up. She does almost everything with her front legs because the back ones just don’t have the strength anymore. Lately she’s had days where she still jogs around a bit and then days where she can barely get up. A couple times recently she’s fallen down and I’ve had to help her up. She can’t run anymore so she can’t chase squirrels or run around the yard barking at neighbors. She used to practically dance when it was dinner time because she was so excited to eat. Now I have to encourage her to eat half a bowl of food.
Yesterday I woke up and she was standing at the door to our room like she needed to go out, something she never does. I opened the door and she made it halfway down the hall and collapsed. I helped her up but she couldn’t stay up. She just kept falling down. She wasn’t able to get up all day. She tries but her body just can’t take it. This dog is one of the strongest willed beings I’ve ever known. She won’t listen to almost anyone but me about anything. And she only listens to me because I earned it. And to see her unable to stand and do things on her own is just heartbreaking.
We made the decision today that we had to let her go. She’s been my best friend for 14 years and 1 month and she’s been the best friend I ever could have asked for. We’ve been through everything together and she’s stuck by my side the whole time.
We spent the morning hanging out today and got some good time in together and then a vet came over and let her go. She was strong but just couldn’t take it anymore, she was exhausted and now she doesn’t have to keep hurting. I’ll forever miss that dog.