Saturday, January 26, 2008


Inspired by Merelyme's story My First Love , I'm posting this eulogy from a few years ago for our lost four-footed amigo of nose-rubbing and slobber-kissing.
(Some explanation, Marley is our daughter and was about three when Riley, our dog, died, and Mike is my husband. )

Here it is:

Today we say good-bye to a good friend. Stricken with liver cancer and sick for a couple of months now, we decided it was best to let Riley go. According to doctors, in spite of the cancer, he'd already lived past the expected age for such a large Golden Retriever, and lived well.
So, here's to Riley...

... to all the times he spilled my wine trying to get me to pet him just a little more.

... to all the times he served as a comfy pillow for Marley's head.

... to all the times he served as a comfy horse for Marley's body, only occasionally grunting with

... to all the times he crept his huge body up into bed, thinking if he moved reeeaallllyyy slowly we
wouldn't notice his 105 lb body leaning the bed to one side.

... to all the spotty clothes from when he needed a place to wipe the smelly drool from his face.

... to all the little Napolean-esque dogs who growled at him, and on whom he peed.

... to all the stupid pictures he posed for.

... to all the times when I swear he was smiling at my naivete when I tried to reprimand him.

... to all the times he just wanted to be next to me, so he'd lay on my head.

... to all the times he put his paw on Marley's hand, making her exclaim "he's holding my hand!"

And here's to the life he lived.

Starting as Mike's constant companion (Mike patiently waited for him to finish nursing at 6 weeks when he adopted him), he easily welcomed new members into his heart and took his responsibilities to raise them seriously. Having already been with Mike for three years, he then was given a woman (that would be me), followed by a cat, a dog, a baby. All were his.
Riley made what seemed like a seamless transition to life with two people instead of one, loving me unconditionally. Then, faced with a new kitten, he allowed the orphaned animal to fake nurse on him, ratting his fur, until the cat, Oliver, grew out of the need for a mommy. When I brought home a pathetic lost puppy, he let her take his tennis ball until she was old enough to know better. And finally, Marley. He ignored her for a while, until she could throw the ball, and then, whenever she was near him, he would reach out his paw to her, even while he was sick.

All the friends that came to visit were his too, as many of you know. It was obvious to him that the reason you showed up was to pet and love him. He will be missed.

"Raise your voices up,
lift your loving cup,
to his long life"
- Natalie Merchant