Friday, July 3, 2009

Goodbye Riley

My heart is breaking a little bit this morning. Last night we learned that Riley, Duncan's oldest friend, crossed The Rainbow Bridge suddenly and unexpectedly.

It was four years ago this week that Riley, who I'd known casually for some time, came to stay with us while Heather and Emma, his companions, were out of town. He was a big dog, wide and tall with a slow, lackadaisical gate and a face and heart that were without malice. He was a cuddler and one of the sweetest creatures I've ever wrapped my arms around and snuggled my chest and face into. He and Duncan hit it off right away, and although Duncan was still very much a puppy at the time, Riley was kind and patient with him, firm and also fun and a bit mischievous.

Over the course of the four days Riley stayed with us, he taught Duncan every one of the bad habits my boy now possess: climbing up on the counter, begging for food with the droopiest, saddest, most malnourished puppy dog eyes possible, barking at the door, chasing the cats. Most of them I have worked hard on removing, but when Dunc is sly it's because the Riley in him is coming out.

Last night I returned home to learn that Riley was gone Heather had found him on his side, his breathing labored. He was rushed to the vet where he passed shortly after arriving. When Heather called me we spent a good long time together crying and I told her, "He was so brave and strong for you. He didn't want you to worry about him and he didn't want to leave without saying goodbye. In a way, this was his final gift to you. He was very brave."

It was ten years ago this week that Ken and I moved to Colorado, leaving our two Goldens, Nikki and Ashley, with his family. We were dogless and miserable. Riley was the first Golden we got to spend time with, the first dog we befriended before bringing Duncan home. He loved us and gave us exactly what we needed when our hearts were sick from the absence of our own dogs. I will always be grateful to him for that, even when Duncan tries to sneak some food or puts his paws on my counter. From now on out, each time he does, rather than scold him I'll say hello to Riley and send a little blessing in his direction.

"All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle." (Saint Francis of Assisi)


Saw said...

Goodbye Riley, My heart is heavy...

Miley said...

I am so sorry to hear about Riley, he must have touched so many lives!!! Riley's family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers!!


Sue said...

Our hearts go out to Riley's family.

Scout 'n Freyja said...

We send very tender thoughts to you and to this adorable dog's humans. We can be with someone we love for a thousand years and we would ask for one more day. My deep and sincere sympathy. I know where you are and will be there again...someday.

Farley's Mom said...

We are so sorry that you lost your special friend :(

NodakJack said...

Sorry, pup...

Nik said...

I didn't know Riley, but my heart still aches. I hope you and Riley's humans feel better.

Sierra Rose said...

Oh, we are really sorry to hear about Riley. Read the earlier post when Riley was staying with you. Our heart goes out to you all. Blessings.

Hugs, and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose

Greg said...

Awww. Peace and hugs to you and Duncan (and Riley's people, naturally) on your loss. Oh, but what joy to have known the blessings.

Anonymous said...

Dear Curt, We hope you and Duncan and Emma and Heather may find some light and comfort, in these words. Our hearts are there with you.

And if I go, while you are still here...
Know that I still live on,
Vibrating to a different measure,
Behind a thin veil that you cannot see through.
You will not see me, so you must have faith.
I will wait there for the time when we can soar together again.
Until then, live your life to the fullest.
And when you need me, just whisper my name in your heart,
I will be there.


B and C-pup