Monday, April 20, 2009

The Golden Years: A life in Review

I recently read a post by FC, a favorite blog of mine, and it really hit home. Her friends lost their precious Golden Retriever to cancer and it came quite suddenly. It seems as though the ugly disease will take us all. The post reminded me of how little time we really have with our pets. Riley's graying muzzle constantly reminds me of how much she has grown up. She's five now and when I look back at my life 5 years ago, I am amazed at how much my life has changed. I am so different (I guess grown up) and Riley had so much to do with that. She's my buddy and I hate to imagine life without her. She has weathered the storm with me, helped heal my heart after breakups and boyfriends. She has been my snuggle partner during sad movies, scary nights, and lazy weekends. She's lived in seven different homes with me (if only I could get her trained to help me pack). Like her mom, she's had several roommates: Lucy, Desi, Gracie, Nixie, Ruby, Atticus, Millie, Sketch, Rossta, Bruce, Chief and now her brother Axel). She's been the pain in my side, many times (we won't discuss the wall chewing days)! She been my loyal friend.

*Riley being bossy with her former roomie, Ruby (the Bagel)

I remember when I got her...I had just sold all my college school books for the semester. Instead of saving the money for next terms books, which would have been the responsible thing to do, I bought myself the love of my life...Riley Belle. Whoever said money can't buy love was utterly wrong in this instance. That little ball of fur was love at first sight. I can still see her sitting at the foot of my bed at 3 in the morning staring and barking at me with that cute little puppy bark for me pay attention to her, feed her, let her out...I'm not really sure. I felt like a new mom with her baby, not really sure what the thing wanted, but that it was disturbing my sleep and it wouldn't stop "crying" no matter what I did.

Riley was fond of car rides from day one. It was about a 30-40 minute drive to take her home when I first picked her up. She just laid down in the passenger seat and fell asleep. Now she's a pro. She hops up in her spot and awaits our destination. She also, loves going out on our boat and enjoying the lake. However, she does not enjoy her life jacket. I got her one last summer, because I'm always afraid something will happen and she'll go over board while we're cruising around. She's allowed to take it off once we are docked. She loves swimming and getting lots of attention from the other lake rats.

Riley is also, in love with...socks, mail, any form of treat (unfortunately she's really smart and knows the word treat, so if we are ever talking about them we have to spell it out or she starts barking bossy even more to try and get one..."Honey, she wants a T-R-E-A-T", I just hope she doesn't figure out how to spell), peanut butter, stripping sticks of their bark, barking at everything outside, getting wet and dirty, being pet, getting attention, getting the ball away from her brother Axel, going on walks, and most of all me.
Here's a cute email I received a while back, I'm not sure who the author is, about pets. One of those random emails that you're not sure who started them:

To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door - nose height.

Dear Dogs and Cats,

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years…canine or feline attendance is not required.The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough! To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets:
1. They live here. You don't.
2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"niture.)
3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.
Remember: Dogs and cats are better than kids because they:
1. Eat less
2. Don't ask for money all the time
3. Are easier to train
4. Normally come when called
5. Never ask to drive the car
6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends
7. Don't smoke or drink
8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions
9. Don't want to wear your clothes
10. Don't need a gazillion dollars for college, and...
11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.
Give your pets a big hug and a T-R-E-A-T!

Just a Blonde's Take


Deb said...

Oh my gosh! I don't think I have this pic! Ruby was so teeny...she so is not now. You and Riley have been through a lot! She was always so cute sitting in the passenger side of your Saturn! That image will never leave my mind.

there's a little something for you at my blog.

Freckles Chick said...

May I just thank you again for your kind, sweet, supporting words on my post about Kirby? THANK YOU!

And this post had me in tears and laughing all at the same time! It sounds EXACTLY like when Michelle got Kirby (right after college). He weathered everything w/ her: breakups, road trips (he'd sit in the passenger seat, too, and would turn to look at her when she'd say something!), her crazy hrs working as a nurse...... I'm sending her this link b/c it will hopefully make her smile fondly of her own memories.

Hug Riley for me!! =]

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