Born @ 27 weeks
2lbs 7oz

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sweet Riley Mae

Sixteen years ago...
I selected Riley from her litter. I chose her because she was the most energetic of the bunch. (um... that would translate to crazy years later, but I wouldn't trade her!)

Riley LOVED to run! She ran with me up to 12 miles, while training for a marathon. She would have gone farther, but her paws would start to bleed and I would make her stop. All she wanted to do was be with you.  She also regularly mountain biked, herding your bike and barking the entire way. (Years later, Michael and I took Riley canoeing. She jumped in the river and herded our canoe! Michael said to me last night, "Candace, just think - Riley's in heaven herding Jesus").

Riley in Tahoe - she had a pretty good life.  And Riley with her real owner, my Dad.  Years ago, I told my Dad I couldn't accept a job at the Discovery Channel, relocating me from San Francisco to DC because it required too much travel for Riley. It was then, my Dad said he would reluctantly step in to help. My Dad moved mountains to get Riley to DC to visit and we tried to share custody for a long time. It wasn't long before Riley won my Dad's heart and deep down, I knew I would never get her back. He has cared for Riley for 10 years and given her the best life imaginable. She was lucky to have him - and he was even more lucky to have her!

Yesterday, we had to put Riley down. It is one of the harder things I have ever had to experience in my life. But then, I had to explain to Nash that Riley has gone to heaven. His first response was, "Good. If Heaven heals everything, then Riley will come back and can get down our stairs and play with us." When I explained Riley would not be coming back and that we would be with her in Heaven one day, I was met with wide eyes and the response, "I want to stay in our house forever."   Tonight, during our prayers, Nash unprovoked prayed for Riley and her to feel better. When asked about Heaven, I said she could run and chase frisbees and eat treats all day. Shaw asked if Heaven had lollipops and Nash wanted to know if Heaven had a pool - and if he could wear his pajamas in the pool...... Then both boys started chanting, "I want to go to Heaven right now!!" Knowing this conversation had gone south (and I was silently panicking), we wished Riley a good night and said we couldn't wait to see her one day.

Our boys LOVED Riley. I was always so worried with her nipping and herding that she would scare children. From the moment we brought Nash home, Riley was tolerant and Nash LOVED her. 

Yesterday was so hard. I don't know if it was harder feeling like you were ambushing a loved one and just not knowing if there is ever a right time - or hearing my Dad's heart break. It's still too raw to talk too much about.

But I will tell you one of my favorite Riley stories...

Returning from NC to San Francisco one Christmas, I walked on the plane and found my seat. Riley and I had been home for 2+ weeks and she seemed to cruise underneath the plane effortlessly.

I apparently fell asleep as the other passengers loaded and we began to taxi. Until, I heard my name called across the intercom.... "Candace Mowery, please ring your call button."

I did and the pilot (the pilot!) met me at the exit door. He announced that Riley was loose underneath the belly of the plane and we could not take off until she was secured.

Picture this.

I climb down the stairs they have manufactured on the runway for me to exit.
The ENTIRE plane is staring through porthole windows wondering what on earth is happening (and PISSED) that they are now late or potentially missing connections.
While I crouch on all fours and am shimmied up the luggage conveyor belt into the bowels of the plane.

Inside, I find two grown men, lying on their bellies with a dinner roll trying to coax a very LOUD and frightened pooch into her crate. The second she saw me, she wagged her little 'nub' and climbed in her crate - proud of the attention and distraction she caused, then laid down and fell fast asleep.

God bless you Riley. I can't wait to see you in Heaven with working legs and a frisbee in your mouth - and happy. You are a good, loyal friend that left this world yesterday with grace and dignity. I am so blessed to have had you in my life. Thank you mostly for being so good to my boys - but mostly being a lasting companion to my Dad. We ALL love you.


stacey said...

Wonderful story Candace. I understand what you're going through and am so sorry for your loss. Sounds like Riley had the best life a pup could dream of.

Susan said...

Our furry four legged loved ones teach us so much and truly bless our lives! Thank you for sharing Sweet Riley Mae's story. I'm sorry for your loss, but thankful for the memories she has left with you.