Your Pet Loss Stories'Riley'
Riley was an addition to our family at my daughters pleading 11 years ago. She came from the SPCA and I knew right away that she was a special dog. She quickly learned any trick we taught her, seemed to understand what we said, and was obedient and so well mannered that we never had to worry about her around kids, visitors, and other animals.
Riley was a shepherd / rotty mix and appeared intimidating but was very gentle. She often found small animals in the yard such as mice and bunnies, and rather than tear them up she would lick them and appear to befriend them as they stood shivering under her. She showed that she understood me many times, as once as she was laying on our deck in the hot sun and I said to her Riley why don't you get up and lay in the shade and to my surprise she got up and did just that. My daughter even exclaimed how could she know what I said, but Riley demonstrated this everyday. I have had several dogs in my life, but none of them were able to communicate on the level I had with Riley.
Riley was an awesome athlete too. She was a fast runner and a great frisbee catcher. I could toss a frisbee about 30 yards and she would be on it in a flash, leap and catch it, and return it for another try. Riley also played football with me as if she knew how to play the game. She would bark out signals with me as I said Ready, Set ... and then I would throw the ball, and she would run it down, pick it up by the laces and run with it as I chased after her.
Much of what Riley was capable of doing was taken away from her however as she contracted lyme disease when she was 5 years old. I had a 2 year battle helping her combat the disease and it eventually took its toll on her joints. The last 4 years Riley still tried to do as much as she could: long walks, swimming in the creek... but her frisbee catching days were over.
This past August of 2010 Riley started showing signs of a nasal tumor, which at the time I didn't know what it was. Several trips to the vet finally revealed what it was. I tried sooooo hard to cure her of something incurable, and spent the last month giving her the best quality of life I could. One of her bucket list items was to have steak everyday, which I gave her with her dry food and she absolutely loved it. I included vitamins with her meals and she seemed happy and energetic.
The tumor however got worse and bleeding increased. The final episode was too much to bare any longer and I had to make the hardest decision of my life to end her life. I realized how close I came to her, how much I loved her and cared for her, and I felt the same from her to my family that ending her life last night has left everyone of us totally heartbroken.
I know it had to be done, I know she had the best life as we could provide, and I know this day would come, but the loss is still deep and consuming. I will forever remember her and miss her. She was, the best dog I ever had. Goodbye Riley, my very best friend.