Farewell, Rocky

It is with great sadness that I let you know our beloved Rocky passed away on Saturday.

Line drawing by Artist Rick Clement, inspired by Rocky

Line drawing by Artist Rick Clement, inspired by Rocky

On Thursday, October 1, I found Rocky stuck in the mud down by our creek. It’s hard to say if he fell in, or if he had a medical incident that caused him to collapse.  He tried very hard to get himself out, and we called on countless volunteers to help.  We received a lot of help from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue department (companies 14 and 29) who brought equipment to haul him out onto drier, flat ground.  It was raining very hard, however, and the ground was becoming muddy fast.  We learned of a service called “Float a Cow” – where they use warm water flotation to right a downed cow and provide therapy.  They were able to get Rocky out of the mud and into their flotation tank.  However, he was simply too tall for it. They commented that he was the largest animal they’d ever worked with.

All this time Rocky had round-the-clock support from our volunteers and  Sam the dog.  He was given the best veterinary care possible, was hand fed, massaged, and encouraged.  However, on Saturday we lost the battle – he simply had no more energy to fight and we had to let him go.

Rocky came here as an 8 month old steer. He was slated for the slaughter auction, having outlived his use at the Prince William County animal shelter petting zoo.  His advocate Brooke Bonner and her husband Steve Fleshman negotiated his release from this awful fate – and that included saving his life-long companion and bro Bullwinkle. Rocky lived here 10 years, almost to the day, safe, with all kinds of animal and human friends, good food, shelter, and lots of love.

Everyone is going to miss his large, stately presence, especially Bullwinkle.