Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Life of Riley .....

.... is the name of an old radio program from the 1940s.  It denotes a life of ease and comfort.  Years ago I decided that if we ever got another dog, I'd name it Riley because at our house, dogs have it made.

So, continuing from the previous post....... I brought him home on a trial basis called fostering.  They even loaned the equipment.  T'was the perfect arrangement as I cautiously waded into such a heavy commitment.  And here's the clincher ..... Husband was out of state on a guy-fishing-trip, not to return for another three days.   He readily okayed the plan being completely in agreement on preferred breeds and so Riley and I lunged head first into a crash course of serious dog-human adjustment.

A sweeter animal is not possible.  He seems to love everyone in sight.  The moment I picked him up, he gushed with adoration and to him, I ranked up there with deity.    The other dogs at PetSmart squirmed and yapped with anxious distraction but Riley seemed to see only me.

I could hold him for an hour or more and he'd be content.  Our former cat, by comparison, would tolerate being held for about 30 seconds before moving on.   When Riley is ready for a nap, he finds my lap and settles in for the duration.

So now I'm outside numerous times each day, attempting to rein in this little cinnamon-colored animal attached to the far end of a leash as he happily zigzags in every direction, sucking in the entire world through his nose.  There is no scent within a mile of our house, that he hasn't tracked, cross-referenced, and filed.  Every tree has been marked, every worm examined, and every neighboring dog has been duly greeted with a thorough butt-sniff.  I am constantly monitoring potty stops, mentally noting the time of each occurrence so that I can successfully predict when to expect the next one.  And if you're concerned, every deposit has been bagged and removed.  I AM a responsible citizen.

Riley loves everyone and everything, with the single exception of cats.  Based on what I've observed so far, if confronted by one, my bet is on the cat.  One gray-striped tabby on our street quickly caught onto this and now seems to take wicked pleasure in taunting him.  This ever-present enemy skulks around in the shadows with that "Go ahead Jerk, make my day," glint in its eyes.  Riley abruptly reacts with a frantic combination of fascination and alarm, bristling and dancing about in a futile attempt to look tough.

Acquiring this dog was a matter of -- damned of I did and damned if I ... didn't.   I knew I'd have many moments of regret if we kept him and just as much regret if we gave him back.  Dogs are work.  Dogs are frustrating.  Dogs are messy.  Training, internet sources say, is three steps forward and two steps back.  So true but all in all, the pros are outnumbering the cons ..... so far.  Who knew such a big personality could burst out of such a small body?   He loves his toys, his bed, his treats, and us.  I am quite a sap over him and dangerously tread on the edge of becoming one of those obsessive people who cart their little pet along wherever they go, expecting everyone else to deal with it.  Husband, possibly a bigger sap than I, trots him in after one of many outside jaunts announcing proudly that Riley is an "accomplished dog" because he peed AND pooped successfully on schedule.   There's nothing like carting home that prized little bag of you-know-what after a walk, confident that for the next three or four hours, the dog is empty and there will be no mishaps on the carpet.

Meanwhile, take in those expressive eyes and the floppy, velvety ears, and imagine him cuddled on your lap.

And be warned that this blog may now occasionally drift into Riley's world ....