RMDog – Chief Barkitect – an Obituary.

Most of you knew who RMDog was. He was the creature that was in my life for 12 years and went by the name of Rolo. This creature caused a lot of stress and anxiety during the first week in July – when chronic stomach problems led to him being hospitalised on 4th July 2021.  On the 6th July 2021, I had to make the most heartbreaking decision of my life and let my boy go over the rainbow bridge.  Rolo passed away in my arms in the evening at 18:41 whilst I sang the song that I’ve sung to him since he was a puppy; “You’ve got a friend in me” from Toy Story.

Rolo’s ‘Gotcha Day’ (the day I brought him home) was the 10th April 2009.  He was named Rolo because he was a red, white, and brindle pedigree Boxer who was the last one in his litter to be bought. His colourings gave him a caramel and chocolate colour. Moreover, if you cast your mind back to 12 years ago, there was a very famous advert on TV “who would you give your last Rolo to?”

Gotcha

His original name was Gunner. I drove from Lincoln, England to Camarthen, Wales to see him. I was convinced that we were just going to go see him. Unbeknownst to me, my mum and stepdad had decided behind my back that we were coming home with a puppy. I will still argue that was not my plan! I missed having a dog in my life. It had been 18 months since my previous dog. But, there was Gunner. He was 5 months old and had been put on hold multiple times – the breeders didn’t think I was going to turn up until I was on their doorstep.

His first photo as Rolo in the back of the car between my legs on the way home.

 

Our first photo after his first bath.

Rolo was *my* first dog. My mum said to me that, if we were taking him home, I was buying him. I was paying for all his fees, food, vets, the lot.  All previous dogs we had were family dogs and they were all Boxers.  There was Duke, who was with me from birth to 7, Benson between age 7 and 19, and then Rolo between 21 and 33.

You might wonder why I made the decision to put him down.  He had gastrointestinal lymphoma cancer and two large lumps within his intestines. This was in addition to extremely inflamed lymph nodes. Initially, I didn’t know for definite that it was cancer, but I did know that his quality of life had deteriorated badly.  I briefly considered surgery or chemo, but I needed to take into account that he was 12.5 years old. Surgery would have been too invasive and he would be suffering.  Keeping him alive would have been for my benefit, not his. He was ready to go and I knew this. I know that I did everything I could for him and I strongly believe in the quality of life over quantity of life. He had both.

 

Me and Rolo a week before he died. Copyright Paul Clarke Photography 2021

RMDog and Mental Health

Rolo was more than a dog.  He was family and in many ways, a mental health dog.  Getting Rolo was the last decision that mum and I made together. She died of Pancreatic Cancer in January 2010 aged 53, the day after my brother’s wedding.  Rolo was just over a year old when she died and he pulled me together. I was made homeless by my biological father, who allowed my house to be repossessed.  I had to leave and the council wouldn’t help me because I wasn’t physically on the street (my friends wouldn’t allow this) or pregnant. Eventually, I moved into a property full of holes, but I was fine because I had Rolo with me. I’ve had many moments when I didn’t want to be here anymore, but I couldn’t bear the idea that I’d be leaving Rolo behind.  He needed me and I adored him.

Rolo is laying at the back of my legs whilst I lay on the sofa in a track suit.

This was taken the day after my mum died and he never left my side.

Rolo was my Fur Child, Protector, Idiot and Goofball all wrapped up in one.

Text from the dog - I'm guarding the house - Good boy - I have a motto. Want to hear it? - Not really = BURGULARS WATCH OUT/I'LL KICK YOUR ASS/ LIKE THE BALROG/YOU SHALL NOT PASS' =- What if the burglars have sausages? - I'll help them carry the TV - Thanks Gandalf!

This was Rolo’s personality, he looked mean and tough but was a sucker for a sausage. A scratch behind the ear and a biscuit and he were anyones.

RMDog – Chief Barkitect

Rolo lived a luxurious life!  I prefer dogs to humans and if you didn’t like him then you didn’t come to our home.  He kept me upright in a lot of scenarios and was with me as I built my career. He travelled with me everywhere even visited clients.  I have such wonderful memories of him onsite with clients; one warm summer, he sat in the open boot of my car. He stayed there in absolute bliss, with a huge bowl of water and getting petted by staff going to meetings or out having a break.  He was in his element.

RMDog's Security Badge

The car was his happy place. He was in familiar surroundings, with his favourite bed and blanket, cold water, regular treats and on-demand pettings!   Clients loved it when he visited and there was always much disappointment when he stayed at home.  On one client site that he even got his own ID badge which hung from the boot whenever he was visiting.

Rolo was ALWAYS awarded ‘Employee of the Month’ in my RMGirl Tribe Newsletter! It was an opportunity for me to talk about him, because he was awesome and I loved sharing his embarrassing stories.

Rolo became ‘RMDog’ in 2013 when @StefArchivist asked a question about him.  I had used the term RMDog once before as a hashtag, but Stef started referring to him as ‘RMDog and it soon caught on.  It got to the point where he was rarely referred to as Rolo online.  In his role of RMDog, he loved to join online meetings, and clients were always glad to see him.

I apologise on Rolo’s behalf

The things I used to apologise on behalf of Rolo for, were the things I loved the most about him. Except for an incident in Pets At Home. That was just mortifying. His first visit -post-lockdown was so exciting, he pooped in the shop.  He was forgiven by Pets At Home as apparently it’s a regular occurrence – almost 90% of dogs that visit!!

Screenshot from RMDog_UK twitter account "I am back from my @PetsAtHome and I'd like to congratulate myself for not shitting in the shop.

Rolo was a keen visitor of the buffet that is Pets at Home.

Visitors to our home were at risk of being covered in hair, slobber or biscuits.  Rolo was keen to sit on laps, convinced he was the size of a chihuahua and a lapdog.  He wasn’t necessarily the best security dog, because he’d let you in.  Although he’d almost certainly give you pins and needles and lovings.  I used to warn people by entering our house they risked being mugged by a dog.  Luckily, everyone I had in my life was okay with his affectionate ways. My best friend, Inga, even laid down in his dog bed with him.  He would take any opportunity to curl up with me even if that meant being my wine shelf. He also enjoyed using me as a mattress!

Rolo was ever the best host. He would escort you to the toilet and then be rather put out that he wasn’t able to come in with you. He would breathe through the door like Darth Vadar.  Everyone watches him do his business, so why can’t he return the favour?

 

Crowdfunding Rolo’s Vet Fees

During Rolo’s final illness, I was in dire need of assistance as his vet bills rapidly reached around £3000. I’ve not been given any government support during COVID, so the large bill was pretty galling.  I just want to say thank you to everyone who donated. It’s taken a huge weight off me, as there’s nothing worse than losing your best pal and being left with a chunky bill at the end of it. Thank you, everyone, for your support, I hope you all know how grateful I am for the help.

He suffered from the common Boxer issue of having a heavy head.

Charity

It was really important to me that, following Rolo’s passing, I was able to donate a lot of his stuff to organisations that needed it.

I was able to donate unopened hypoallergenic food to PDSA Pet Hospital. They treat poorly puppers and, since Rolo’s food was made specifically for him by Tails Dog Food, I could provide the hospital with all of the nutritional information. It was perfect for the poorly pups who needed gentle food.

I donated toys, unopened treats, equipment and supplements to Mayhew Animal Welfare Charity. 

I did keep various things for his memory box – some items were too precious to part with. The box is filled with memorabilia from his life,  including his first-ever pet tag.  People were surprised that I still had it – but I work in records management! I’m doing my archives fam proud.  I’ll share the memory box when I’m ready and it’s finished.

People have suggested that I get another dog, but it’s not something I can even think about right now. If I ever do, and it’s huge ‘if’,  it will never be a replacement for Rolo/RMDog.

His finale

As Rolo was my first dog, I’ve made the decision to have him cremated and returned home to me.   I’ve bought a photo urn and it took a while to find the right photos, but these are the photos that resemble him the most.

His ashes probably won’t all fit in the frame and so I’ll also be putting some into some fabric weights – he’ll be my 40kg fabric weight in life and in death.

One final time:

This is me singing to him the night before he passed, and the song I sang to him as he let go.  

You’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me
When the road looks rough ahead
And you’re miles and miles
From your nice warm bed
You just remember what your old pal said
Boy, you’ve got a friend in me
Yeah, you’ve got a friend in me

You’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me
When you’ve got troubles, I’ve got ’em too
There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you
We stick together and we see it through
Cause you’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me

Some other folks might be
A little bit smarter than I am
Bigger and stronger too
Maybe
But none of them will ever love you
The way I do
It’s me and you, boy

And as the years go by
Our friendship will never die
You’re gonna see it’s our destiny
You’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me

He couldn’t come to my 30th Party, so the party came to him.

If you have any memories of Rolo, then please do share them in the comments below.  I’d love to hear anything you have to say about him.

Rolo ‘RMDog’ Overton

28th October 2008 – 6th July 2021

Sleep well, my baby boy.

 


Our last photo together at the vets.

RMDog – Chief Barkitect – an Obituary.
Tagged on:                                                                                         

3 thoughts on “RMDog – Chief Barkitect – an Obituary.

  • 27/07/2021 at 8:46 pm
    Permalink

    Emily,

    This was heartbreaking to read and I’m so sorry you’ve lost your soulmate. I’m actually in tears reading it. We’ve had a few family dogs but the thought of losing “my” first dog is not even worth thinking about.

    He will always be with you

    Much Love

    Amy xxx

  • 27/07/2021 at 10:51 pm
    Permalink

    I remember the time you brought him to our house he was so excited he wee’d on our new floor! Good job it was easily cleaned. He was a beautiful dog and he had a lovely life with you. 😘

  • 28/07/2021 at 7:56 pm
    Permalink

    I’m so sorry…letting go of a beloved pet is never easy.

Comments are closed.