A year in the life of our Miss Riley


Riley sings us the song of her people as we prepare her food. Her new habit, which annoys the hell out of me, is to ecstatically hail the food prep, then walk away from the food itself. Tonight, my husband made her scrambled eggs for the first time in weeks and thankfully she ate it. AFTER we picked out all of the one type of kibble for her.

The life of a super-picky canine royal…



Yay Food!

Riley’s gone off her normal food, and I’ve been worried. The fact that she flips out over eggs gave me hope that she wasn’t going the same way Xander did, but she was completely uninterested in her regular food — she would even actively spit it out.

Yesterday, I tried her on some of her “old” kibble — the brand she was on before the colitis — and she went bananas for it. So much so that she actively came looking for more. We’re easing her back onto it, and hopefully between the egg and the kibble, she’s good now.

Tonight, I made a kale and ricotta frittata for the people in the house. The minute I pulled out the egg carton and started cracking eggs for the recipe, Riley came to the kitchen. And barked and barked and barked until her egg was cool enough to eat. My husband took several photos; this is the only one in which she isn’t a barking blur.


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Throwback Thursday: A Xander Story

Riley’s contribution to my meeting yesterday reminded me of an incident with Xander a few years ago. When they were younger, both dogs would go on high alert at external noises, but especially Xander. I was working remotely one day, presenting at a meeting, and all was going well.

Then the UPS guy dropped a package on the front porch, right outside my home office. Not content with just dropping the package, he had to also knock on the door (for a package that didn’t need a signature — he just knocked to alert me).

Pandemonium ensued. And everyone in the downtown office thought I was being murdered or was under seige. Had I not been shouting reassurances to them over Xander’s “intruder alert” they probably would have called the cops.

And that is why for every meeting ever since, Xander had to sit in the laundry room.

Xander, August 2012, doing his best to get my attention by being adorable

Xander, August 2012, doing his best to get my attention by being adorable

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The Food Song

Riley was VERY happy for dinner tonight, and sang me the song of her people. Her face is a happy glow!


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Peaceful Day…

…for Riley, at least.

She spent the day snoozing in my home office, making me green with envy.


Later, she got all sassy. I was in the kitchen, knife in hand, when she came up behind me and gave one loud ARF. I about jumped out of my skin. But hey, at least she was happy.

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Hooray for Food!

I managed to capture Riley’s “Yay! Food!” dance. While she used to jump all over the place, now she firmly plants her hind legs and bounces up and down just a wee bit while barking with complete and utter joy. She will trot back and forth between the laundry room where I’m preparing the food to the living room — always carpet under her feet to keep her stable as she rejoices. Today I was lucky enough to catch the whole ears-in-the-air part of the dance:


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What a Life!

I came home from work, and Riley was sleeping. It was another one of those days in which I checked to make sure she was breathing first, then took my photo of the day. Later, the mister and I were eating in the kitchen, and a disgruntled bark sounded from the living room. She was peeved that we were a) in the kitchen where she can’t comfortably stay (no longer good on tile floor), and b) we had food and she didn’t. Oh, such a hard life, to sleep all day long and then have to wait for service! This is why we call her Princess Miss Riley at times.


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The Bovine Canine

I know dogs occasionally get the urge to eat grass, but Riley’s urges always come completely out of the blue and border on obsession. Case in point, today she slept most of the day (so did I, home with migraine rather than working from home). Took her out in the afternoon and she was fine. About an hour later, she’s at the back door doing the “urgent, out!” bark, but when I rushed to let her out, she headed right for the grass and wouldn’t let up.

Since eating grass usually heralds vomiting, I shut her in the laundry room for a while. She definitely wasn’t pleased with that, but put up with it for about 30 minutes. Then she came a couple imperious yips — Princess Miss Riley had spoken. I let her out and she’s been fine ever since (*raponwood*). Maybe she just wanted a salad.


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Righteous Snooze

Last night, Miss Riley chased off four deer like a boss — just stood there and barked every so often, and kept standing and letting out a bark until they got the idea, got to their feet, and high-tailed it back to the woods.

Today, she sleeps the sleep of a dog who knows her home is defended.


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Clever Girl

I sometimes forget just how smart Riley is these days, simply because I spend most of my time wondering how “with it” she is. Today, she reminded me that she may be old, but she is by no means senile yet.

I was working from home and sharing my desktop in a webex when I heard her bark from the den. One sharp bark, then nothing. Considering that this sound generally signals “Take me out now or you’ll regret it,” I quickly dashed to the den to make sure things weren’t about to go sideways. She just sat there looking at me, didn’t agitate for more, so I figured she could hold it until my meeting ended.

The second it did, I roused her to go out so she wouldn’t interrupt my next meeting (some days are like that). As I opened the back door, what do I see on the porch but a package from UPS. Riley’s bark was to tell me there was someone coming.

The lesson: never sell your dog short, no matter how old she is.

Riley investigates my delivery

Riley investigates my delivery

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