A year in the life of our Miss Riley

Spoke Too Soon

Riley had another icky incident around 5 am today. I called the vet and arranged to take her in this afternoon. I gave her more Kaopectate, but didn’t withhold food, giving her a little cooked chicken and rice. Not as much as she wanted, of course.

Vet’s thinking is either giardiasis brought on by the deer droppings or a more long-term irritation from her Rimadyl that got aggravated by too much yogurt. We left a stool sample with him for analysis, but she came home with a course of metronidazole. We started her on it when we got home, then gave her a mostly normal dinner — making her the happiest dog in the world at that moment.

So now it’s a waiting game: for test results, for medication to kick in, for everything to settle down and get back to normal. Overall, though, I’m relieved now that the possibilities have been weighed and medication is in play.


Riley, wishing things were back to normal as much as her humans


Poor Puppy

Poor Everyone in the House, really, but especially poor puppy. Gory details ahead, you’ve been warned. Read the rest of this entry »

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In Which Riley Channels Sheldon Cooper

The New Year has not started off well for the Riley household. Shortly after midnight on January 1, Riley had an accident in the upstairs hallway. This morning, she had an even worse one in the living room — one that involved more than one roll of paper towels, a ton of Nature’s Miracle, and steam-cleaning the carpet. Not to mention cleaning her up as well.

It’s the rug cleaning that stuck in her craw, as she was banished from the room while the carpet dried. The living room opens with an archway, so there is no door to close. In order to keep her out, we make a barrier of the trash and recycling bins and the kitchen chairs. Riley is Very Opposed to this, and whenever we have to do it, she tries to get through. She’s wily and persistent as all get-out.

I had been sitting with her in the office. She wasn’t happy, per se, but since I was there in the room with her, she was reasonably calm. Then I had to go upstairs for just a few minutes. I hear my husband exclaim, “Riley!” and I thought maybe the floodgates had opened again. Bracing myself, I ran back downstairs to find my husband trying to extricate our dog from under the end table in the living room, a table she is clearly too big to fit under.

Here’s what happened: she shoved one of the trash cans, but instead of just getting it shifted, she knocked it completely over and then couldn’t climb over it, so she tried to go around it through the only available space — under the table — and promptly got stuck.

If only I’d had the camera…

At any rate, we rebuilt the barricade, set some carpet deodorizer out for good measure, and I sat with Her Disgruntled Highness again to prevent a repeat. Thirty minutes or so later, I took myself and the vacuum over the barricade to do the final cleanup. She watched balefully from the other side. I could just see her calculating whether she could knock down the bins again…


When I was done, I started clearing the way into the living room, and she barreled in so fast she practically knocked me down. She made a beeline for Her Spot and has been there ever since, blissfully sure that all is right in her world.

Still have no idea what caused the cataclysm this morning, but she is getting boiled chicken and rice for her next meal. I just hope the third day of 2015 does not create a pattern.

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Sleep, or Lack Thereof

Or at least on my part.

Over time, I’ve noticed more and more about Riley that screams “old lady dog things,” which is, of course, one of the reasons I started on this project in the first place. Sometimes, it’s less a noticing of a thing here or there and more of a flood.

Last night, she woke me several times in the night with horking. Each time, I got up to see to her, tried to get her to drink some, figuring water could get whatever was bothering her to shift (pretty sure it was hair — hers or mine, not sure which). She’d settle back down, I’d go back to bed, and just as I was right on that beautiful edge of sleep, she’d start up again.

In the morning, she was sleeping peacefully. I was jealous as all get out.


She went out, and everything seemed fine. Came back in, and horked up some bile in the hallway. I don’t know if it was irritation leftover from whatever that was last night, but it was decidedly unpleasant.

Then she was fine, demanding food, going to her usual spot for a snooze, getting up at the normal times to request to go out.

Everyone knows that puppies can be detrimental on sleep until they are trained. But if you’ve never had a senior dog before (and I haven’t), there’s so much you need to take into account. For instance, did you know that senior dogs, especially those with arthritis in their hind end, can have something called fecal incontinence? To adjust for this, we keep Riley out for her final “business trip” until she does both numbers.

Tonight, I didn’t get that chance. I was watching Arrow and she was asleep, on her side. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her tail lift. Yep, she pooped in her sleep. She didn’t seem any happier about it than I was, poor puppy.

So: midnight horking, a little unpleasant yarfing, and sleep pooping. They say bad things come in threes. Please let this mean we’ve had our trifecta. Princess Miss Riley’s dignity demands it.

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Stormy Weather

Neither Riley nor Xander ever seemed too bothered by thunderstorms or fireworks — we lucked out there. But Riley does have a mild seizure disorder, and the number one thing that sets it off is the smoke detector — whether the Change My Battery beep, the Testing beep, or Actual Alarm beep, they’re all equally heinous to whatever it is that sets her off.

In the dead of the night (3 am), we had a massive thunderstorm during which thunder shook the house so hard I about came out of my skin. This was followed by a lightning strike so close to the house it may as well have hit the house…which was then followed by the smoke detector sounding off. I kid you not, Riley stayed down during the first two events, but the third? She was up like a shot. Spent what was left of the night on the couch, with my hand on her, on the floor right next to me while she panted her way through to the other side.

Today, the thermostat is on the fritz and I can’t get the central air to kick on, so I have a floor fan going for Miss Riley in the living room. I was sweating my way through my work day in the office. Around 3 pm I took Riley out, and there was the nicest breeze blowing — it was nicer outside than it was in the house. So I moved my office to the sunporch, throwing the windows open wide and turning on the ceiling fan.

Miss Riley stood outside and lifted her head to fully appreciate the breeze.

Riley appreciates the breeze

Riley appreciates the breeze

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In the Not-So-Still of the Night

The hork. Every dog parent is familiar with the sound. That gurgling, gagging, gacking noise that wakes even the soundest sleeper in the dead of night when it’s their dog making the noise. Riley gifted me with this experience at 4 am today. I lucked out in that she didn’t have anything to bring up but a small amount of normal spit, but we still made the trip to the yard for grass-eating, then I kept her downstairs in the case of subsequent real vomiting (there wasn’t any, thankfully).

The net result? I’m exhausted and half brain-dead for work, and the canine princess snoozes blissfully in the den.

Sure, Riley gets to sleep...

Sure, Riley gets to sleep…

Next on my agenda now that my work day is over? Vacuum the house, since I think the root cause of the incident was the fact that she probably snorted some hair the wrong way, since we haven’t had time to vacuum it up for over a week. *facepalm*

It’s my bad, but I’m still jealous. In my next life, I want to be a dog.

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