A year in the life of our Miss Riley


We’re coming up on a very tough time of year for me. Three years ago on June 20th, we lost Xander. Riley’s one-year is coming up a month later, July 22nd. It only hurts when I think about them, but I miss them every day, and their loss is a hole in my heart.

I’ve customized my Facebook Memories to not show me anything from June 10th to August 31st. When the Memories first started popping up, they were a mostly nice surprise — a photo of Riley would pop up and I’d remember the circumstances surrounding taking the photo. But recently, it got into posts about Xander not eating, or Riley getting fussy about food. I relive these moments often enough without Facebook reminding me.

Today is World Pet Memorial Day, so I’ll remember them all.

Riley, my Princess Miss. Xander my protective bruiser. Penny, the cat who came to stay for a while. Daisy, my in-laws’ gorgeous Golden. Chase, my dad’s sweet greyhound. Percy, my first escape artist rat. Gryphon, Galileo, and Byron, the inquisitive but more introverted rats who followed. Kerwyn, the mouse who would keep me up at night running in his wheel. Darwin, the frog that came to me in college from a head of lettuce. Tommy & Tuppence, nun finches who cheered me with their songs and died way too soon. My seventh grade science teacher’s menagerie — Tootsie the ferret, who pooped in my desk; Toby the turtle, who also pooped in my desk; Chip and Dale the chipmunks; the tree frogs my mother almost killed the year I was allowed to bring them home over the holidays and had to leave them in her care for 2 days. ¬†Mickey, the hamster who would eat the seeds from my watermelon. Teddy, my childhood poodle to whom my grandfather would sneak beer.

I am grateful to all of these creatures, who brought love and laughter into my life.

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