Saturday, August 28, 2010

Who's to Decide?

According to Amanda, I forwarded the photo of Rocket wrapped in the orange towel to her work the morning he showed up. I was on the phone with her cooing about him, saying that we don’t know who he belonged to yet, but he needed help and a home. When I hung up, she turned to her co-worker and groaned, “Oh my God, we’re getting a dog.” (For the record, she just told me this information this morning, ten months after the fact).

A week before Rocket stumbled into the road, Amanda and I were driving along that same highway (I should point out here that there is only one “highway” that leads to and from our house…Honoapiilani Highway. That’s island life for you…), towards Lahaina town when we saw a striking white and grey pit bull riding in the back of a white truck. Both of us “oohed.” “Now that is a looker! I would have a gorgeous dog like that,” I said. “You know,” Amanda remarked, (and I quote), “if I had to have a dog, I’d consider a pit bull.” (She later denied this vehemently as it worked against her argument of why she didn’t want a dog, but I wanted a dog so badly, I vividly recall this passing comment as an opportunity to plead my case as to why it would be a great idea to get two Dalmatian puppies, which I’d been begging for for months). I gasped. She quickly turned to me and corrected herself, “Don’t come home with a pit bull. That didn’t mean anything. We’re not getting a dog.”

Before Rocket, I’d spend hours online looking up rescue dogs and Dalmatian puppies. (I had a beautiful Dalmatian years ago, Jaxum, who passed away at a young age from organ failure. He lived with my Mom and Dad, but I wanted my own chance to do right by another Dalmatian. I missed the feel of his fur, his sweet disposition, his high energy, his unbroken spirit. I believe some breed specific qualities can speak to person. I wanted my buddy back. I wanted it to be better this time. I knew it was delusional to think that just by getting the same type of dog, that I would have the same experience, but I entertained the thought anyway). In my searching, I kept thinking about what I would name a new dog or two. I kept coming back to one name: Rocket. This meant I’d have a boy dog, and only one. It was the only name that felt like a “sure” thing. Rocket, Rocket, Rocket kept going through my head. Does this mean a “Rocket” is coming into my life?, I journaled weeks before he arrived.

(My journal also says: My next dog is going to be Banjo, when the time is right. This entry, of course, is post-Rocket. “When the time is right” is underlined for emphasis).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Is your name Rocket?

This video showed up in my inbox shortly after the name "Rocket" was decided upon. Do you think it suits him?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Name Game

I hadn’t really told anyone that I had decided to keep the puppy. My best friend and roommate, Amanda, was arriving the following day to join us for the last two weeks of our trip. There was a lot to talk about with her—and I had a sneaky suspicion it would take the full two weeks to work out the details. In all fairness to the dog (and Amanda), everyone in the house needed to be on the same page in order for this to work peacefully. There was still a chance he wouldn’t be able to live with me. My thoughts were racing day and night—from the adventure, work, and the possibility of a puppy. Something was starting to stir inside me. I found it easier to enjoy and be in the moment when my future was forming in front of me. Nothing was certain, nothing was familiar, not even my current surroundings, and yet everything felt “right” and alive.

Names were being discussed. The puppy should have a great name—but what? Buster? Biscuit? John? Peter Pan? Story? James? Lucky? Pickles? Action? Bruiser? Dopey? Gonzo? Luke? Rascal? Bubba? Gizmo? Poko? I cringed at some of them, because, (although these are fine names), I felt like he already had one.

I kept adding “Rocket” to the list. “Hey, you already said that one!” I was told over and over. “I know,” I answered, “because that’s his name.” “No, we’re choosing his name right now,” was the reply. “I know,” I smiled.

When I thought back to my dream of having a dog, I saw him. I saw a “Rocket” by my side. This puppy felt like that Rocket. From the moment he crawled in my lap at the vet, I had been trying to smother that “Oh, there you are!” feeling. But I was nervous. What if Amanda came and we discovered that he couldn’t stay, and then he was named Rocket and went to live with someone else? But I didn’t want my dog to end up with a name like Hippo or Rover. So I had to keep pushing for ‘my’ choice.

A tiny bit of my fear subsided when I heard someone say, “So what should we name Rocket?”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Almost as soon as I made the silent decision to keep him, the puppy began to get better. He looked healthier in his photos. His caretakers said he was getting more comfortable, letting his personality show more each day. I was feeling better, too, knowing that he was going to live, (and live with me).

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Life on Hold

Sinking into a bathtub at a six star hotel (I didn’t even know such things existed before that trip), on the gold coast of Australia, I sighed, and started to think about my life rather than…well, anything and everything else.

I was having one of those “how did I get here?” moments. Quite a few of my friends and family often mentioned that I’m “living the life.” I’m not married. I live with my best friend on Maui. I have a great job that allows me to travel all over the world. No kids, no mortgage…on paper, I look as young and fancy free as they come. I bike or walk to work along a picturesque path—ocean to my left, the majestic West Maui mountains to my right; more than once a week, the beauty of it all takes my breath away. But a nagging thought occurred to me, “Is any of it really “me?”

Truth be told, this isn’t the life I signed up for. As a little girl, I didn’t dream of being single or traveling or living in Hawai’i. It never crossed my mind to wish for any of that. There are days I think I want what all of my friends on the mainland have, if only because I spent years wanting the same thing: to get married young, have the mortgage with the yard and kids and the dog, and even the stinky boy husband. But right now, my lifestyle lets me take off at a moment’s notice—I can explore entire cities and meet a dozen new people at breakneck speed, but still have the space and lack of attachments to enjoy it at whatever pace I choose. (I just always choose the fast lane). But how much of that exploring has been intrinsic? How much of my life involves getting to know the ‘real’ me as I change? How much of it includes my goals, present and future? It had been a long time since I had asked myself anything like that. The blankness I felt in response was enough of an answer.

My life felt like it was on hold. The idea of “living the life” bothered me, because some days it felt like someone else’s life. Did my life really belong to someone else? Had I allowed my job and other people’s concerns to completely block out my hopes? I knew my job and Maui could work as long as I remained unattached and available for travel. (I won’t tell you what my job is, because it honestly doesn’t matter. And in an effort to make myself feel better, I’d like to point out that I am not the only person who has ever used their job as a scapegoat for the lacking in their own lives…). I was allowing myself to be held back.

Maybe that’s why I wanted to keep the new puppy so much, (sooooo much). It felt like a portion of my ‘old’ dreams was presenting itself, reminding me to work for things that I really wanted in my own life. I made up my mind, while still in the bathtub, that this is what I really wanted. Now to convince everyone else that adopting the puppy was a good idea…

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Dog with 1,000 Faces

Huh? When these photos arrived in my inbox, I began to wonder if this was even the same puppy. His shape shifting was making it difficult to choose a name...not that anyone was talking about names.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Guessing Games

Blurry or not, the puppy's "in your face" photos made us laugh. We started multiple guessing games, What do you think his name is? What kind of dog is he? Where do you suppose he'll live? What on earth is he doing in that photo?