Michele Grgas Thomas The Triplicate

I've got a new friend. We just met a couple of weeks ago. He's older and not really what you'd call handsome until you get to know him. He's got very kind eyes and a big heart. His name is Rocket.

I had no business going to the South Coast Humane Society that Saturday afternoon. It was 10 years almost to the day that I adopted my good dog Martha from the same organization. They didn't have their building on Railroad Avenue then and Martha was in a foster home. Her age and history were unknown. She was found limping along Sporthaven Beach. She had a dislocated hip and some issues that indicated she'd had a rough life up until the moment we met.

The folks at the Humane Society knew everything about Rocket

including his birthday. He was lying down in the first cage as I walked

in. "He's stopped getting up when people come to look," the volunteer

escorting me around said.

Rocket, she told me, is 9 years old. He was a product of a broken

home andndash; his owners split up and he was dropped off at the pound. That was

28 months ago.

Rocket demonstrated such exemplary behavior behind bars that the

shelter kept him over two years hoping someone would eventually want

him. But his age and his food allergies discouraged any potential


Until I came home and told Rick about him.

The Humane Society does a good job of marketing adoptable pets by

posting descriptions, photos and even videos of them on their web site.

As I was leaving, the volunteer encouraged me to take a look at Rocket's


This past year Rick and I lost both Martha and our foundling Smitty

and we'd agreed to take our time before thinking about another dog. So

it was difficult for me to confess to Rick that I'd been to the shelter

and that there was a dog I just couldn't stop thinking about. I told

Rick about Rocket, then fired up the computer and searched for the

video. When I hit play, music started and a brindle-colored mixed breed

dog ran across the screen chasing a red ball.

There's a song that Rick and I both love, "Over the Rainbow/What a

Wonderful World" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, the late Hawaandshy;iian

musandshy;andshy;icandshy;ianandshy;-singer-songwriter. It's a special song for us and Rick has

spent countless hours strumming his ukulele and singing Iz's song.

What music do you think was the sound track of Rocket's video? Yep.

The shelter was closed until noon Tuesday and we spent the weekend

musing about why we'd want to take in a 9-year-old dog with food

allergies. But come Tuesday we were at the shelter offering Rocket a

ride in the car and a walk at the port.

An hour later I filled out the forms and Rick took a blank check out

of his wallet, a sign to me that he had decided to rescue Rocket before

we left Crescent City that morning.

The three of us strolled out into the sunlight together. Rick held the lead and Rocket followed along like a pup.

I guess that's how we learn to practice what we preach.

Reach Michele Thomas, the Del Norte Triplicate's publisher, at

mtandshy;hoandshy;masandshy;@triplicate.com, 464-2141 or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.