A tribute to our pets

Editor's column
By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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 I’m just crazy about Rocko, my Chi-Pin (Chihuahua-mini pin mix).

We’ve been together 14 years, ever since he was a pup. Rocko knows my every mood, makes me laugh when I need to lighten up and is always the perfect company. I unabashedly love him.

And my family members love Rocko too. He’s one of us. Not only was he the best man at my wedding two years ago, Rocko was the best dog at my daughter’s wedding last September.

We consider Rocko a trusted family member. He’s the one who is always happy to see us, any day or night of the week. It’s reassuring to come home to Rocko waiting at the front door with a wagging tail.

And if I have the occasional rough day, Rocko jumps up on the chair and snuggles with me. Somehow, my pup knows the moment I need companionship. I don’t even have to call him; Rocko senses when I need to pet him.

I’m not the only one benefiting from Rocko’s healing vibes. When my son-in-law, Trevor, was homebound for three weeks due to back surgery, my daughter flew Rocko to Los Angeles so Trevor would have a new best friend by his side. Rocko made Trevor’s surgery less scary as Trevor recuperated and as they first took small walks around the block and, as Trevor regained back strength, bigger walks around the neighborhood.

       In reality, I know Rocko is really a dog. But still, he’s a vital part of the family. And Rocko has a huge personality and his own style that makes us sm smile when he walks into the room.

       Most dog and cat owners I know have similar sentiments about their pets. And the owners treat their pets as they would treat their children. That me means paying attention to daily needs, such as giving them food, water, exercise and attention; and keeping them safe and healthy.

       Having a healthier dog is easier today because animal medical care has greatly advanced since I had my first puppy in the late ’60s.

Rocko has his share of vet visits. He has had dental cleanings, a Cushing’s Disease diagnosis that resulted in daily life-saving pills and, this year, allergy shots and cataract surgery.

Yes, there is cataract surgery for dogs, cats and a host of other animals.

When my family noticed last year that Rocko couldn’t see up close anymore, I was sad … until Rocko was referred to a veterinary ophthalmologist minutes away at the Animal Eye Center in Rocklin.

I never knew that vets specialized in eye diseases and surgeries. But so many other pet owners knew because it took five months before Rocko could be fit into the surgery schedule. The Rocklin office sees pets from as far away as Reno and Redding.

Some friends, sans pets, laugh at me for taking Rocko occasionally to the vet. I’m told that the dogs they had growing up only needed rabies shots and that vets realize I’m a sucker for their recommendations. Fortunately for most pets, their owners don’t have my friends’ philosophy.

Vet care is sometimes expensive. But Rocko is worth it.

For weeks before Rocko’s cataract surgery, I was happy thinking that I was giving him the gift of eyesight again. Post Rocko’s surgery, I’ll always be grateful to Dr. Taemi Horikawa for making that amazing gift happen.

I’m thrilled that Rocko’s regular vet said his breed can live to be 20. So I want to keep Rocko healthy and make sure his quality of life is as great as possible. Rocko has always been there for me and I’m there now for him.