We said goodbye to our sweet boy, Riley, on Monday.
He came into our family nearly fourteen years ago thanks to a chance stop at our local pet store. We hadn’t planned on buying a dog that night…Tripp, Kelsey, and I were just killing a little time before the movie started. But his sweet face was hard to pass by…those eyes and those ears were about the cutest thing we had ever seen. And then once we picked him up and held him….well, that sealed the deal.
His first night, he slept most of the evening curled up on Tripp’s chest. It was the sweetest thing to watch Tripp carry him up and down the stairs…his legs hadn’t quite grown into his body yet. Or his ears..for the first month he seemed to trip over them constantly. But oh how he loved to play as a puppy….running and chasing Kelsey around the backyard with his distinctive bellow.
When he wasn’t barking at the neighbors, chasing squirrels, or digging holes in the backyard, Riley’s favorite place to be was to be wherever his family was. Which was often in the kitchen with me. His soft snore accompanied many of my afternoons at home. Riley was a lovable fixture by the back door all curled up on his cushion.
Stubborn, hard-headed, strong-willed…all words that are used to describe Basset Hounds. Riley was no different – which at times made him a complete pain in the ass. He was fond of the vocal protest to whatever we wanted him to do that he, himself, did not. And you had to be careful when taking him for walk, because when he locked on to a smell, he would immediately stop, bear down with his powerful front legs, and become practically immovable.
In recent years though, his stubbornness and strong-willed nature helped him overcome so many physical challenges. He just had this incredible determination and will to live – he was very old for a Basset Hound. Which is what made our decision so heart-breaking. I’m so sorry and so sad that he didn’t get to have the final say in his goodbye.
Our family’s heartache is still quite acute…especially for me, the emptiness of his spot by the back door hurts sharply. I miss him terribly. I miss his soulful eyes. I miss his soft muzzle and velvety ears. I miss the click-clack of his toenails on the wood floors in the house. But my overwhelming emotion today is gratitude. Gratitude for thirteen and half years of fond, happy memories. Gratitude for his steadfast, loyal nature.
Rest in peace sweet boy…you will be missed.