On June 19, 2006 I met Riley for the first time. He arrived at our cabin riding on my husband’s shoulder, looking out the truck window at me as they came up the driveway. He was my husband’s 30th anniversary gift to me, and no matter how many more years together we have, he will always be the best one.
A little black lab puppy who loved to romp in the hostas and hide under things like porches and beds. That first night I had to take him outside several times. We lived in the woods with no city lights around, and it was a dark night. I made the mistake of not putting him on a leash, and within a heartbeat he was off the porch and outside the circle of light. It took me a few panicked minutes to roust him back toward the porch, and I learned never to put my little black puppy out at night without a leash to keep him from disappearing.
He was an adventurous puppy, and very soon at home out in the woods and running free on our 14 acres. Our spoiled rotten Golden Retriever Katy grudgingly welcomed him into the family and took him along on what we called her patrols, going down the driveway and circling around the property almost like she knew the boundaries.
Riley became fast friends with my grandpupply, Clyde, another Golden, who was only months older than him and came to visit and stay a few days or a week quite frequently. They would take to the woods early in the morning and come dragging back down the ridge about sunset, usually either covered in mud or beggar’s lice, but both happy and wearing puppy grins.
Bo came along a year or two after Riley, a chocolate lab this time, a rescue dog who was a year older than Riley, and a dopey, strange dog. Katy, Riley, Clyde, and Bo, along with my younger son’s dog Jack, and eventually Yona, Clyde’s German Shepherd sister (who thought she was also a Golden Retriever), they made up the menagerie that would become my Treehouse name.
Years passed, the dogs roamed and played, grew older, and one by one they left us, starting with Jack just after we started the blog here, and continuing through Yona, who left us just a few weeks ago.
Today I take Riley in to the vet and the last of the menagerie will be gone.
Thanks for taking a moment to help me celebrate the life and love of my best friend. I love you always Riley. Put in a good word for me, and tell the menagerie how much they are missed by all who loved them.