Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Perfect Life - Riley

I pulled out the external hard drive of photos and videos and started going through all my Riley memories.  She is also my the first one I have lost that I blogged about from day 1.  What a treasure trove of memories!
Riley had such a perfect life and she deserved nothing less being that she was a perfect greyhound!  She was not always that way.  Reading through the early blog posts, I was reminded that she had some quirks to work out, but ultimately she became perfect.  You could reliably take her anywhere. She was a great traveler and anywhere she laid her head became home for that moment.  I often camped in a tent at agility trials and she would stay in the tent even when her sister, Seven, would break out. We logged many miles, traveling to Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Florida for big events.
Riley was an angel at home.  She got along with everyone.  Fosters came and went.  New dogs came to live.  Our dogs are not allowed on furniture, but we let them sleep on hotel room beds.  When we moved to the new house, Riley got onto our bed.  She probably figured we were just there for a night or two.  We did not tell her otherwise and after awhile it was a habit.
Riley was so much fun to run in agility!  She would often walk lazily to the start line half asleep and then explode over the first jump.  I always had to let her run and play before a trial to take the edge off.  In Tulsa at Nationals, there was no where to let her run outside the venue so I found a little neighborhood park nearby to let her run around before the morning light.  In Orlando, I found a nice carpeted area upstairs with few people and let her zoom around.
Although often second to her sister, Seven, Riley had plenty of her own success.  In 2012, she earned a 2nd place in Jumpers against 114 dogs at the Invitational. She turned in the fastest agility run I have ever had with any of my dogs, 6.66 yards per second. She also ran until she was 10 years old, jumping 24" her entire career.  That in itself was a major accomplishment.  She was accident prone and had her lay ups, but Riley always recovered and came back. She never had any chronic problems.
Riley had been declining all month.  She had diarrhea that I just could not knock out and was getting dehydrated despite drinking excessively.  She had become a picky eater which was totally out of character for a dog so food motivated and who had never refused a morsel of food.  Her heat tolerance was low and I was worried she would have a terrible summer.  She was getting weaker from the muscle wasting.  I had decided that I was not going to do anything heroic. We had already made a big move last year with tie-back surgery for laryngeal paralysis.  It was a great decision and she got almost a whole year..... an awesome year with lots of playing and hiking.  It could not have been more perfect.  Now she was almost 13, summer was going to be tough, and she was losing her spark.  I decided not to run tests to find out what was wrong.  I did not want to put her through it.  Her best moments were behind us and I found myself having the conversations in my mind that I have with friends when they are wrestling with the idea of letting go.  Riley was meeting all the criteria, but I was getting used to her declined state since it was happening slowly.  Thankfully a friend pointed out how bad she really was.  I always say its better to be early than a day late.  The only thing Riley was going to miss if we waited was completely losing her interest in food, falling on the tile floor, soiling her bed, and/or emergency situation.  Riley was not enjoying any of her favorite things.  She was not going to miss anything great.
Sweet Dreams is a local service that performs euthanasia at home.  They were wonderful. I called at 6:30 AM and was called back before 7 AM and I scheduled a 3:30 PM appointment.  A vet and a tech came to the house.  They thought of everything and I couldn't have asked for a more peaceful or perfect passing for a perfect dog.  I highly recommend the service.