A year in the life of our Miss Riley

Savor Every Moment

I haven’t talked about it much here, but Riley hasn’t been doing so well lately. Though she’s eating, she’s not eating as much, she can’t get up on her own 9 times out of 10, and she falls a lot more because she can’t place her feet right.

This morning, I thought she was a lot closer to the light. She woke me struggling to get up, and when I got her outside, she staggered around, then back inside, she flopped down on the floor and wasn’t very responsive. What scared me the most is that I gave her ear a scritch and she didn’t lean into my hand.

I coaxed her into having an egg, and a little while later she joined me in my office — all on her own. She got progressively more responsive as the day went on — oh, she still needed help, and she had a few falls, but she sought out water and food on her own and came to me for affection. She even walked to the end of the driveway and back — twice today. It’s entirely possible that she just took not being a morning person to extremes. My husband spends more mornings with her than I do (not being a morning person myself!) and he says she can be like that. I don’t know if it’s just that or a sign of decline, but she scared the living daylights out of me this morning.

I accepted a long time  ago that we wouldn’t have Riley forever, and that for all that I still call her Puppy-Girl, she is old. It’s one of the reasons I started this blog — to savor all the time with her that I could. So that’s why here, you’ll see only the good — I may slip up every now and then, but I want to celebrate the good things. No mourning without cause, no wasted time.

Riley is snoozing peacefully beside me now. I’ll take it.


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Life Lessons (Squint & You’ll See Them)

Miss Riley reminded me today that it’s a good thing to stop and smell the flowers…


OK, so she was probably looking for deer poop, but I chose to see it on a higher philosophical level.

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The Art of Contentment

I have to learn to be more like Riley. Several times today, I made the mistake thinking it was Thursday and that tomorrow was Friday, and wanted to bang my head against my desk. But look at Riley: so content. She doesn’t care what day it is. Of course, she’s a dog, and “Friday” doesn’t have the same meaning, but still, it’s a state of Zen for which I need to strive.



New Year?

Miss Riley is totally not interested in the human habit of the calendar year. Will she still get food and love? Of course. Then what’s the point, she wants to know?


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Dogs Make Every Day Better

I had A Day. My lunch leaked out all over my new insulated lunch bag and I felt like I reeked of apple cider vinegar at the office all day. I got my flu shot and my arm is killing me. All I wanted to do when I got home was pass out, but I had two meetings to attend remotely, so I couldn’t.

When I got home, Riley came to greet me, and as she always does, she seemed to sense all was not well with her person. She stayed with me in the home office through both my meetings, and when I was done, she came with me to the couch, crashing right next to me. Even though my arm still hurts and now I have a headache on top of it, I feel 100% better.


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If at First, You Don’t Succeed…

Riley conquers the lilies today that felled her last night. She had a merry old sniff-fest this afternoon.


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Stubborn Puppy

Our back door leads out to a small porch, which has a step off on either side. The dogs always chose to ignore the steps and just go flying off the parts of the porch without them — why waste time when you have to pee or there’s varmints to chase?

Riley’s 14 now, and takes arthritis meds. I don’t know if it’s habit or sheer orneriness, but despite the stiffness in her gait and the fact that she gets winded walking into the kitchen for a drink, she still goes “off the edge” rather than down the steps. When we go out to the porch, she’ll survey her territory, and even look like she might be considering using the steps, but then, nope, she’s over the edge. She makes a kind of “oof” noise when she lands, but she does it Every Damn Time.

Once again, life lessons from my dog: age is nothing but a number and never give up.


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Zen Dog

Today is one of those days I need to learn to be more like Riley. I was trying to work from home with chainsaws and wood chippers going outside. Though I had retreated to the kitchen with my laptop, I was still feeling on the edge of my sanity. Then I considered Riley: she was sitting calmly in the living room, super-close to all the noise, and was completely Zen. I took a few deep breaths and went back to work. With headphones.

Miss Riley, life coach.



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