A year in the life of our Miss Riley

Tom Hardy & His Dog at the Legend Premiere

AKA, the Day I Finally Became a Tom Hardy Fan

Seriously, how can you not love this? What a happy note on which to end the week.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03:  Tom Hardy and dog Woody attend the UK Premiere of "Legend" at Odeon Leicester Square on September 3, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage) ORG XMIT: 575361847 ORIG FILE ID: 486374308

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 03: Tom Hardy and dog Woody attend the UK Premiere of “Legend” at Odeon Leicester Square on September 3, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage) ORG XMIT: 575361847 ORIG FILE ID: 486374308

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Anderson Cooper Mourns the Loss of His Beloved Dog

Today Show link


I feel for you, Anderson.

By the way, thank you all for your kind words and thoughts over the past several weeks. They’re meant so much to me.

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Riley’s (Almost) Year

This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to write it, but since today IS the year mark of Riley’s Year, it seems fitting. Even if I do fall apart again after writing it.

Our Riley left us on July 22nd. For a few days before that, she refused all food but boiled chicken (and once, a fortune cookie…of course). That morning, I went to work while my husband stayed home with Riley and the contractors, but around 9.30, he phoned me, letting me know I should get myself home as soon as I could — Riley had vomited blood. Bless my coworker who is also my neighbor — she drove me home so I wouldn’t have to wait an extra hour for the train. As I had done on Xander’s last day, I sang Riley “her” song — “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor. That afternoon, we took Riley to the vet and he helped her cross over with no pain. It was peaceful, just like everyone said it would be. We know we did the right thing.

But it hurts so much all the same. My heart broke into a million pieces that day.

These past days have been mired in grief. Every day, I’d sit down, thinking I could write this post, and every day, I’d get back up again, too emotional to do so. Even now, I can barely see the screen for the tears.

We cleaned up the various open cans and containers of dog food, set aside the others to donate to a shelter. My husband washed all the “floor quilts” — but one, a small one he set aside unwashed because it still smells like her (something I’m so grateful for, since the day she died I was so stuffed up from crying that I couldn’t smell her). Her collar is on the mantel, next to the case that holds Xander’s collar and favorite ball. Yesterday, we picked up her ashes from the vet’s. It surprised me how heavy they are.

The day after she died, I woke in a panic and rushed downstairs, sure that I heard her panting and needing to go out. Later that same day, my keys jingled in my pocket, and I turned, thinking it was the tags on her collar. The day after that, without my glasses on when I woke, I saw a shadow at the top of the stairs, and I thought it was her in her favorite sentry position — it was boxes of materials for the bathroom. Two days after that, I saw my black purse (again, without my glasses) and thought it was her. Last night, I took my inaugural bubble bath in my new bathroom, and there was one of her hairs on the edge of the tub. Reminders everywhere, and maybe someday it won’t hurt as much to see them.

Several people have suggested we get another dog. Someday, I’m sure we will, but for now, it’s just too soon. One day, I’ll be ready for another dog, and it won’t mean that I’m replacing or have forgotten Riley…or Xander. They will live forever in my heart.

I’m so glad I started this blog. Even if Riley didn’t get her full year — and I had no idea she wouldn’t when I started it — I now have so many more photos of her, so many memories that I will cherish forever. Thank you all for letting me share my special girl with you.


The stars are not wanted now, put out every one
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

(Princess Miss) Riley the Valiant, 8/2/2000-7/22-2015


July 21, 2015


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Nope, Nope, Don’t Wanna!

Still horribly hot and humid here. Riley is still balking at going outside until it’s almost past necessary. This was her this morning, standing at the open door, all “You want me to WHAT? Go out THERE? Are you INSANE?”

I bet if there was ever a time she wished she knew how to use the indoor facilities, today was that day.


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Strictly Business

If we thought earlier this week was hot, this weekend made it pale in comparison. Riley would only go out to do her thing, then back up the ramp and back into the cool.


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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Chicken continues to be successful for Miss Riley. My husband captured a series of photos while she ate tonight. This was the least blurry of them, as the whirling dervish formerly known as our sedate dog devoured her meal and licked her bowl clean.


Om nom nommmmmm

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Princess Picky

It’s really hard to tell if the latest cortisone and vitamin shot Riley got is helping her appetite, because she’s gotten even pickier about food. She’s now over eggs again — even eggs with cheese melted into them — and wants nothing to do with her regular kibble — even when there’s yogurt involved. We found a canned food she seems to like that even has a little higher fiber to keep her colitis from acting up. I fed her a full can in stages today. After I finished the can, she kept coming looking for more, so I opened another can and gave her some, and her attitude changed to, “Oh, this stuff? No thanks.”

The latest winner? Boiled chicken with broth. My husband made her some after her¬†canned food refusal was followed by her egg and cheese shunning and then my mini breakdown. She lapped up the broth, then gulped down the chicken. Let’s hope this agrees with her and isn’t another transient taste. For her health and my sanity.

I'm not picky, just particular

I’m not picky, just particular


A Rare Thing Indeed…

…a sunporch day — in JULY! We both took advantage.


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Stormy Weather

Heavy rains moved in today, and the threat of more storms loomed overhead much of the day. Riley lifted her nose to the breeze, perhaps trying to sense if another shower was imminent.


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