Friday, February 8, 2008

This blog was created to honor and remember Rocky....and to spread the awareness of animal cruelty. As of now, Feb. 8, Jim Jacobs, the man who shot and killed my dog has been charged with an aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years imprisonment and/or a $6,250 fine. Please feel free to send this story to friends, other dog owners, animal rights/cruelty prevention advocates...whomever. And of course, please leave a comment if you so desire.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Rocky's gone

Early on the afternoon of February 2nd, I knocked on Jim Jacobs’ door, near Conroy, Iowa. I had been looking for my dog, Rocky, for the last twelve hours. He, along with my other two dogs, also Huskies, had accidentally been let out of their fenced in yard by some friends who were visiting the night before.

He opened the door saying, “Who called you?” He had a scowl on his face and there was anger in his voice. I looked down to see he held Rocky’s red collar in his hand, with his nametag attached. I was confused.

“You have my dog?” Where’s my dog, where’s my Rocky?” I asked.

He said, “I shot him,” as he handed over the collar.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “You shot my dog!? You shot my Rocky?” I staggered back a few steps.

“I can’t tolerate stray dogs,” he replied.

I stumbled, doubled over in pain, and stammered out a few words, something like “You SHOT MY DOG? YOU KILLED MY DOG!? WHY! WHY? Where is my Rocky?”

“I threw him in a ditch along the road.”

I don’t know what I said after that. I was in a state of shock and denial. I did manage to call 911, and the sheriff’s deputy soon arrived, taking over from there. I was stumbling around, mumbling incoherently.

Rocky and I were closer than close. He meant the world to me. Although I’ve never had children, he was like my child. You would be hard pressed to find a more loveable, friendlier, sweeter presence in a dog. All of my friends and neighbors would agree. He LIVED to play.

Lady, Rocky’s mother, had also been at Jim’s door with Rocky. My guess is that they had been running for quite a ways, had become disoriented, and did not know their way home. They were not accustomed to being off the leash. This had happened one other time and they ended up at Richard Kummer’s house along Highway 6. He and his wife were kind enough to hold them in their garage for me overnight, and later commented on what sweet natured dogs they were, even asking if they were up for adoption.

Whatever the case, they were at Jim Jacobs’ doorstep seeking nothing more than a helping hand. What Rocky was greeted with was something else entirely. Judging by the size of the hole in his head, I would guess it was a deer slug, although I couldn’t say for sure.

My Dad arrived at some point, and after a brief exchange, between him, the deputy, and Jim, it was arranged that Jim would go get Rocky’s body from the ditch and bring him back to be placed in Dad’s truck. It took all the courage I could muster to look at my boy, my Rocky boy, lying there like that, all bloody, cold, and stiff.

I will never know why Jim Jacobs did what he did; why he shot my dog, executed my beloved Rocky, only a few feet from his front door. He was not being threatened, he had no reason to believe he was in any kind of danger, and I do not believe he thought he was shooting at a stray dog. Rocky’s bright red collar and dangling metal nametag would have been in plain view, especially with the porch light on. That same name tag that had his name, my cell number, and my parents’ home number on it. He didn’t bother to call either of those numbers, nor did he bother to call the sheriff, to say the dog he shot, that he thought was a stray, actually belonged to someone. He had plenty of time to do so. It had been at least twelve hours between the time he killed my dog and my arriving at his door.

No, he didn’t do any of those things, but instead dumped Rocky, like some sack of garbage, in a ditch along a country road.

Now that Rocky is in the ground, as I reflect back and continue to be haunted by the horrific details of that afternoon, something has dawned on me. I finally understand why I was confused at the anger in Jim’s voice and eyes when he said, “Who called you!?”, as I approached his door, before he handed me Rocky’s collar. I had just been knocking on EVERYONE’S door, looking for Rocky, but he assumed since I was there at HIS door, that I already knew he had shot my dog, that someone had called me, and there was no further reason to hide the truth.

Rocky’s blood was spattered on the snow, close to the sidewalk, about five or six feet from the front door. The giant hole in his forehead was centered perfectly, between and slightly above his eyes. I think if I were to see Jim tomorrow, I would say this: “It must have been nice for him to sit up so straight and still for you, huh Jim? Almost like you were taking his picture. Was he wagging his tail? Was he looking into your eyes?”

Maybe someday I will find the necessary forgiveness in my heart, maybe there will be a day when I can make my peace with Jim Jacobs for taking away the one who was so, so incredibly dear to me. The two of us were inseparable, and now we are separated. But for now, I am an empty shell of a man, save for a few precious and undying memories.

Rocky was one year and ten days old when he died. I thank the Lord for every precious moment we spent together. God Bless you, Rocky, and may you rest in peace.