We've had Riley for almost 13 years. We got her when Nate was a baby, thinking what better thing to add to having a brand new baby than a brand new puppy. Riley is a mix of chocolate lab and golden retriever that we got from a person my Mom worked with at Eddie Bauer. Dumb idea at the time to get a puppy, as it was like adding a second child into the mix. We made it through it all and in the end, it was worth it.
She grew up with all three kids. They learned to walk by pulling themselves up on her. They all teethed by chomping into her. No matter how hard they pulled or bit, she would only lick them in the face until they let go. She's been my buddy for 13 years. Following me around as I work at home. She knows when I'm going to take a nap and lies down next to me. She knows when she's been busted by Cathie for getting into the trash and even pretends to look ashamed.
She's the kind of dog you can let out of the back yard and she'll wander just far enough, but always come back and never go in the road. She's lived through three cats, where even more brutal than the babies. Rascal, our latest, would sit on her hind legs and swat at Riley's face and ears while she would playfully and gently nudge her right back.
Riley has cancer. The kind where she only has a little bit of time left with us, measurable in days. I've known lots of people whose dogs had died. As Maddie told me yesterday,
Dad, I never knew it was this big of a deal for your dog to die. I'm so sad. This stinks.I agree. My heart is broken over losing my buddy. She's been with us through so much, my kids don't remember a time without her. She's stone deaf, she's old and she's in pain, but she's still my buddy. She has such a special place in my heart. Cathie, Nate, Maddie, Em and I are all broken up about this. We've been enjoying the last few days we have with Riley.
My friend Brad Jeffrey, the owner of Jeffrey Animal Hospital, has been a great friend and vet throughout all of this. He's been a vet for almost 40 years (I'm guesing just based on the fact that he's really old), yet his heart hasn't hardened on the difficulty of this kind of stuff. He's coached us not only on her health, but on understanding where the end is and on dealing with the end with our kids. Thanks Bradly.