As many of you may recall, back in October, my beloved five-year-old pit mix, Omar, died after licking up antifreeze off a parking lot. In my tribute to him, I said I would adopt another pit bull type dog in honor of the sweet, gentle pup who had single-handedly (pawedly?) changed my attitude about the breed.
In late November, through the help of Pet Helpers, Inc, I had the wonderful opportunity to adopt a four-month old pit bull and American dingo mix named Riley. She was skinny, neglected, and worm-ridden when I made the arrangements official. She didn’t know what to do with the toys I bought for her. She ate so quickly she would get sick because it seems she was afraid of having her food stolen from her. But she loved to be loved. And she loved to love.
So we worked together–I sat by her side at feeding times, teaching her to trust that no one was going to take her food away. Eventually she slowed down. Now she has no problem walking away from a full food dish, knowing it will be there when she gets back. She plays all the time, now–you’d never know that a four months ago she would just look at a toy with a blank stare. Now, her ears perk up and her eyes begin to twinkle when she sees me reach into a shopping bag, because she hopes there will be something for her to play with. And still, she loves to be loved. And she still loves to love.
Omar will always have a special place in my heart. He was truly a once-in-a-lifetime dog. Although it’s been six months since he passed, I still find myself crying for him from time-to-time.
But Rile is a once-in-a-lifetime dog, too. I know that she and Omar would’ve made wonderful siblings if they could have shared this home. But even if I can’t have them both together, I am really blessed to have known them both.
Dogs are wonderful creatures. They are so completely happy with so little–those of us who live with dogs can’t help but be impacted by their life of simplicity. The important things in life are evident to a dog: food when hungry, water when thirsty, a soft pillow to sleep on, and some one to play tug-of-war with. Add a daily walk or two, and life is perfect!
Tonight, for the first time, Riley and I walked down to the dock behind the City Hall and sat on the bench Omar and I used to claim as our own on summer evenings. I watched as she explored it from one end to the other and I smiled. The simple pleasures in life really are the best.