A year in the life of our Miss Riley

It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity

It is INSANELY humid here right now. You almost have to push through a wall of humidity when you leave the house — and Miss Riley has to be coaxed to do it. In general, when she pants these days, it either means pain, heat, thirst, or have to go. Sometimes all four.┬áToday she didn’t move from in front of her little fan, unless she absolutely HAD to go out, and she held it for as long as she could each time, the increase in panting clueing me in.

But at least she only had to go out to go out. I had to attend two virtual meetings today outside, sitting in the meager shade of the back stoop with my laptop and phone, because of all the renovation noise inside. I was completely drenched just sitting still.

Summer: it’s not for elderly black Labs or their middle-aged redheaded servants.


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Bowl Lickin’ Good

Wednesday, Riley decided she was So Over Eggs. The problem with having a super-intelligent dog like Riley is you can only fool her once. Wednesday when she didn’t want the eggs, I sprinkled them with parmesan and she gobbled them up. The same with the dry kibble she was turning her nose up at. Thursday, it was all “That again? Puhleeze. I’m onto you, lady.”

I pulled out my last reserve: canned food. She’s never had it. I kept within her preferred brand, Nature’s Variety, and got the lowest fat, highest fiber one I could find so it hopefully wouldn’t aggravate her colitis. I popped the top and held it up to her to see what her reaction was — she lunged for it and if I hadn’t been quick, she would have gulped the tin top down. OK, so Princess Miss Riley approved. I gave her a couple spoonfuls and she inhaled it. I mixed a couple more spoonfuls in with the rejected kibble, and suddenly it was all delicious.

I stuck with only half the can, waited two hours to see if there would be any digestive pyrotechnics, then, much to her relief, gave her the rest, also mixed with kibble.

The poo hit the fan around 2.30 this morning. Fortunately, outside. I pumped her full of Kaopectate and gave her extra metronidazole for good measure. This afternoon, I gave her only 3 tablespoons of the canned with her kibble…and it happened again. Inside. Tomorrow, I think we’ll give her only a little less canned, but mixed with the high-fiber kibble she rejected before, which might help her form back up again.

It’s a delicate balancing act between what will keep her digestive issues at bay and what she will actually EAT.

Om nom nom

Om nom nom

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Riley’s Rules for Staying Cool

There is no such thing as “too close to the fan.”


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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┬ámuch 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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Too Darn Hot

We’re in the middle of super-high temps, and Miss Riley isn’t too fond of it. The heat slapped us in the face when we came out around lunch, and Riley wasn’t remotely eager to stay outside — she beat me to the porch and gave me this look when I snapped a photo instead of opening the door to let her back into the nice cool house.

Put the camera down and open the door already!

Put the camera down and open the door already!


Old Dog, New Trick

Riley has really taken to her ramp! After walking her down it a few times on the leash with me also on the ramp, she now goes down on her own. She even stopped halfway down once to sniff something that caught her attention. As my best friend said, “An old dog can learn new tricks!”



New Routine

Yesterday, my husband built Riley a ramp to get off the back porch. She refused to go down the bare wood, so he went out and got the same green turf carpet that’s on the back porch for the ramp. A little coaxing, and she went down. Tonight, she went down it with no prompting. All is right with our world again.


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My Coworker Joins My Meetings

Today, Miss Riley decided that she’s not as much of a silent partner in my home office days. I was in a meeting, and when someone on the line asked if anyone had anything to add to their point, Riley piped right up in the moment of silence. Apparently she feels really strongly about PR efforts around a product release.

She regrets nothing.


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Throwback Thursday: If I Fits, I Sits

Not just cats live by that rule. Back in 2009, Riley was all, “Puny human. Your cushions cannot keep me from my couch!”


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Pill Time!

Riley was asleep in the den when I got up to take care of the dinner dishes. Then I pulled out her pills — the rattle of the bottles brought her right into the kitchen!

One of the reasons I’ve always counted myself lucky when it comes to Riley is she’s one dog who actually likes taking pills. I don’t have to wrap them in cheese or slather them in peanut butter (of course, she’d love it if I did!) — all I have to do is pop open her mouth and down the hatch. She will even remind us that it’s pill time — she was even more on track with pill time when she was on antibiotics, coming to us and barking when it was time for the next dose.

For those of you who are now writhing in envy over what a smart, perfect dog we have: if it makes you feel better, according to my husband, she did poo on the floor this morning.


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