Monday, December 8, 2008

Riley - My Forever Dog

Parted by death on April 23, 2005 a few hours after
my dear boy was hit by a hit-and-run driver.

Throughout my life I've been fortunate to love and be loved by many amazing dogs. Riley is one held forever in the center of my heart. One day, a few months after my son Jesse and I said goodbye to our dear friend Oscar, I got an urge to visit our local shelter. Slowly I walked up and down the aisles, looking into the stricken, wild, angry, grieving eyes of the dogs in the cages. Many a fine dog, but nowhere did I see "my" dog. Then, in the very last cage, was a little golden retriever mix puppy. He saw me, whined, lifted one paw in greeting and gave me a hopeful wag with his tail. We fell instantly in love.

Riley grew up long, lean, and golden. Throughout his life we put in many, many miles backpacking in the Trinity Alps Wilderness with Max, my friend Liz and her dogs Otis and Peaches. They were trail dogs and were a sight to behold - four large dogs coming down the trail, each with their own dog pack, accompanying the two middle aged women who gamely trudged up the hills. Riley learned to swim in Caribou Basin with the help of his friend Otis who put a helpful paw on Riley's back to stabilize him and position him lower in the water.

Never sure of Riley's heritage, I liked to believe that he was a golden retriever/greyhound mix. He loved to run. When the trail dogs went to the beach they would play "chase the gazelle" trailing behind Riley as he flowed in front of the pack, so beautiful as he led his friends in wild joy across the sand. They would try endless maneuvers to catch him, but with Riley's grace and speed it was rare that his friends would win the game . Silly boy just never learned not to drink from the ocean!

Miss you always, sweet dog of mine.

1 comment:

Ishtar said...

What a sweetheart! He certainly looks as if he could have been Golden/Greyhound! Can definitively relate to missing a dog forever - some creatures just stand out so much. For me, the first dog I fell for in that sense was Aslan's father Arthur, who unfortunately was poisoned just before the birth of Aslan. Then came Aslan - my most beloved dog ever - and now, there is Sheba. Although I've enjoyed all our other dogs so much, these three have a very special place in my heart. And Aslan's mother Bamse was special in the sense that I did not own her, she own me, lol!

Looking forward to see where your dogs bring you! Sheba & Dennis Mugu sends big paw hugs!