We hadn't planned it. It just happened. I'd visited the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter a couple of times over the past week. It's a nice new facility, packed full of abandoned and unwanted animals. I wanted Amy to visit a few times to get used to the idea of perhaps bringing home one of the dogs, so we arranged to meet for lunch, and then take a quick walk-through of the shelter to see what they had.
Riley stood out. Most of the dogs were dark colored, and of course many were excited and barking. Riley was a beautiful honey blond and white, and was standing quietly in her cage. Shy, but not terrified. Obviously she was not crazy about having a man around, but just as obviously she was immediately interested in Amy. We went on to visit all the inmates.
Amy decided she might like to get to know Riley a bit better, so we carefully got her to come out of her cage and walked her outside. Calm and controlled on the lead, she and Amy hit it off right away. In no time we had the application filled out. Simple as that.
She's a medium-sized dog, about 35-40 pounds. A little bigger than we were looking for, but she's quiet. She's also quite a leaper, and I think she might make a good Frisbee dog. But first we have to overcome a little problem. She's scared of me. Actually, not just me but men in general. I don't know her background, but perhaps she was abused by a man as a puppy. We're already making progress, but I can tell it will take some time. She and Amy are already inseparable. (Photo courtesy of Mike Delaney at Yankee Services)
After more than five years, it's about time I updated this story. Riley has been a great dog. She's still shy, especially around men, but she's overcome enough of her fear that she can still enjoy being out when there are other people around. She had been returned to the shelter at east once because the adopter couldn't deal with her shyness, and the submissive urination that often resulted from her anxiety around men. It took about six months, but with a little work on her self-confidence this behavior all but disappeared.
Riley has grown some since she was a puppy. We figure she was about six months old when she joined us, and so got longer, taller, and heavier. She weighs about 60 pounds now. She never did figure out the Frisbee thing, but like to chase birds, and the occasional ball.
During our mornign walk, Riley collapsed. She'd had a stroke, and had another one later that day. We tried for two days to get the clots to reduce in size, but the damage was done. Riley had suffered significant neurological damage. On August 5, we decided to give her a quiet passing, and she left us while laying in our backyard in the shade.
Riley was a unique dog, and though she was at time a high-maintenace friend, we loved her unconditionally. She will never be forgotten.