Professional athlete and 3-time Ironman champion

Remembering Riley

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It’s the first picture we ever took of her; fat little thing.  Doing what she did best, and what she loved to do more than just about anything in the world…..EAT!

 

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When we got her, I hadn’t exactly done my homework.  You see, we had friends who owned a place in Quechee, VT.  They’d just gotten an adorable yellow lab named Bailey.  I simply had to have one.  So I called their breeder, assuming it was in or near Quechee.  (note use of the word “ass-u-me”).  We got on a wait list for a litter due in September.  We’d get to take her home (from near Canada...ooops!) in November.

When the litter arrived, our Riley was the only girl in the bunch.  She had 3 brothers.  I loved her immediately and I hadn’t even met her.  If she could hang with the boys, I knew she’d be the perfect amount of tough and sass. 

What was not to love?

 

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My suspicions were confirmed when we picked her up, 2 weeks after we’d met her initially.  The breeder brought us from the barn into his house to settle some paperwork.  He brought Riley in and gave her free reign.  I followed her around nervously, but he told me to “Relax.  We have them pretty much housebroken already.” 

So I took my eye off her to sign my name to some paperwork, and sure enough, she took a big massive dump right on the guy’s living room rug.  Yep…..sass!

Riley was never short on love.

 

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Even when she grew from puppyhood to dog, she was sure she was still a lap dog; a 73 pound lap dog.

 

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Her passion for eating never left her until the very end. 

 

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There was the running sock she swallowed at 4 months old that landed us in the animal hospital.  Then the ball she swallowed, that $800 later, and a nice surgery, we had returned to us, still intact, despite some stomach acid erosion.

 

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There was about 3 feet worth of base molding, which, on the bright side, got me to be quite the sculptor with wood putty (and DaveyG was never the wiser).  She ate shoes, more socks, trash on the street.  She ate her own food instantly, and, when given the choice, ours too.

 

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She was never short on love and always wanted to snuggle.

 

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She was patient with us when we tortured her year, after year, in honor of our Christmas card.

 

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She loved “top down” rides in the Jeep.

 

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And despite a few bumps along the way, was always pretty happy.

 

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In the end, her liver stopped working and there was nothing more the vets could do.  So many friends have been so kind.  “She was a great dog,” they said.  Indeed, she was.

“You gave her such a great life,” others said.  Upon reflection, I think we did.  But in the end, she gave us an even better life.  We were the lucky ones.

I miss my dog.  I miss the thump her tail makes on the hardwood floor when I’d walk in the door.  I miss her “dinner dance” she’d do at chow time.  I miss her smile.  I miss her puppy dreams where she’d run in her sleep, and always, ALWAYS catch the squirrel.  I don’t miss her dog breath, but strangely, I do miss her hair.  I miss looking at any pair of sweat pants, or shirt and being able to pull 6 dozen Riley hairs off them.  I miss our walks. 

I don’t know why dogs don’t get to live longer.  I suspect it’s because they love us so much and so hard, they just wear themselves out sooner.

She was a great dog.

RIP, Riley the Wonderdog.  And thank you.

 

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Persistence. Determination. Love. The Journey!

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