Rockie, champion of cute pets
Move over, Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson. The newest celebrity to rub elbows at Buttermilk Mountain is a petite blond with a lot of moxie and too many friends to count on one paw. Rockie, a spunky golden-Labrador-shepherd mix owned by Kim and Shawn Terry of Basalt, has proven his popularity in the Roaring Fork Valley as the People’s Choice winner of the Post Independent’s Cute Pet contest, which featured about 325 pets. A visit with Rockie at Kim’s office at the Aspen Skiing Co. showed just how famous he has become at the base of Buttermilk.”Rockie, just because you are the cutest pet doesn’t mean you can be the loudest,” a co-worker joked when Rockie anxiously barked as he was photographed. Other colleagues popped their heads in the office to note that Rockie is the “happiest dog in the world.” His chestnut brown eyes sparkle as the attention placed upon him grows.”He thinks if he hams it up for the camera he’ll get treats,” said Kim, who is the director of compensation and benefits for the Aspen Skiing Co. “Obviously he’s the cutest pet to me.”The story of Rockie’s beginnings is as rugged as his name. He was born in Ledyard, Conn., on Dec. 27, 1997, to a mother poisoned by antifreeze who later died after thousands of dollars were spent trying to save her life. The Terrys adopted Rockie when he was just 6 weeks old.”Our friend Emma, who owned and was taking care of the puppies, found it too difficult to hand feed all of the puppies and asked for our assistance,” Kim said. “We fell in love with Rockie instantly and have had him ever since. When all the little puppies came running out from behind the couch, he was the cutest one. I was home sick and thus named him ‘Rockie’ Mountain High.”Rockie and the Terrys returned to Colorado 6 months later, residing in Denver briefly until Kim received a job offer in the valley.”Rockie comes to work with me every day and hangs out with his four-legged friends, and in the summer Rockie enjoys hiking up Buttermilk and swimming at Reudi and Lake Powell,” Kim said. “Rockie just celebrated his seventh birthday.”Life in the mountains has been an adventure for Rockie. Last year, during a sunset hike up Red Mountain, he became separated from his owners and did not return until after midnight.”We kept calling and calling for him. No Rockie. No Rockie. We started a fire by the road where the truck was parked and camped out,” Kim said. “We could hear the coyotes. Finally, about 12:30, I just whispered his name and he came running right to me. We redeemed ourselves this year and made it back safely.”Not only is Rockie loved by his owners and Kim’s co-workers and friends, but he is also appreciated by a local animal shelter. The Post Independent will make $100 donation to CARE in Rockie’s name for winning the contest. And the Terrys have matched the contribution.”We loved the cute pet contest and were happy to see a bunch of animals from the shelter,” said Leslie Rockey, executive director of CARE. “We have a special needs fund for animals who have been injured called the Thumper Fund where Rockie’s donation will go. It was named for an 8-month-old Russian blue cat named Thumper who was hit by a car. It took three surgeries to fix the hip and he’s doing wonderful. He had the best personality and zest for life.”Sounds like a certain dog the Terrys know.
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