Last week all but one of our pups went home to their forever home to start their new life away from the farm. Riley got to stay with us and become part of our family for a few weeks because his human parents had obligations before he was born. After just getting finished training Annie, we are now starting with Riley (Whew). He is a very sweet loveable boy that loves to explore and be in the thick of things with each of our dogs and us. As the next to last pup was pulling away, I picked up Riley and into the house we went. We anticipated this and had his bed and toys ready along with a blanket and a tennis ball, which I’m sure he will enjoy for as long as he lives.

Riley has had a rare opportunity to make friends with the pack and become one of them. He has adjusted well and wants to play and be with everyone. At times he gets too friendly with them, like the time he wanted to nurse on Clancy and didn’t understand “nothing there” or the time he got too close to Abbie’s food bowl and she “just didn’t want to share,” grrrrrrrrrr.  What has amazed me is the fact that he has bonded with Dutchess. Usually, Dutchess is a little picky when it comes to who she wants to play with. She is not always a dog that plays well with other dogs, she likes humans because her brain works about the same as ours, in fact, harder at times. Dutchess will roll Riley around on the floor, and they will paw at each other until both are exhausted and take a nap. When Meg is on the couch between Elaine and me, Riley will curl up between Meg’s front and back legs and get as close to her as possible, then they will sleep for hours. But what has surprised me the most is Molly. Even though Molly is his mother, she will usually not have much to do with any of her pups and will keep them at a distance. I would only assume this is a Mother Nature thing to force the pups to go out in the world on their own. Molly, for some reason, sees Riley as a playmate too. She will pretend to bite, and he will do the same back to her. They will gently grab each other and, in a very loving and playful way, pull and nip at each other. Then they will lick and wash each other’s ears. Molly will roll him over and wash his belly and lick his face just to make sure he is clean and well-manicured, just as any young man should be.

He and Annie have become best friends. They both get into so much and play together. Riley will give her a go for her money and will pounce on Annie when she is not looking. They will play until both of them decide to give up, neither one wanting to admit defeat.

Even though it has rained buckets, we still go for long walks in “the big old world.” He has explored new smells and seen things he has never seen before.

We would walk through the woods, and where the big dogs would just hop over a downed log, Riley would struggle, and with much effort, he would wiggle his little body up and over, tumbling down the other side of the log, ready for the next one. The big dogs would walk, and Riley would run just to keep up, always trying so hard to be one of the gang.

We would cross several small streams that were full of flowing water with little effort. Riley would come to the brook and, with as much gusto, stop and jump straight into the cold water that came up to his chest. He would shake himself off and forge on. What a trooper.

After much hiking, he would stop and run to me and put both paws on my shins, letting me know he was done, he needed some help and was tired. I would pick him up and cradle him in my arms, letting him know he was safe, and I would carry him. He was at peace, and so was I. You see, at times, we all need a little help and someone to cradle us in their arms and carry us. Riley is a special little dog, and I’m so glad I can be part of his little life now, I just wonder if he will remember me and the walks we had when he becomes a big dog. I hope so, I know I will….