Sunday, October 05, 2008

Pure Pet Post

Since Thursday morning, when my mom's sad voice shared the loss of Riley, I have been bounced back and forth between sadness in the knowledge of knowing that I will never snuggle Riggles again, silliness in recalling the mountains of Riley-memoires that I have saved up over the last six years, and sheer thankfulness for all the love, support and kind words that have come, literally, from all over the globe.

As a tech-loving teacher, you are often treated to tales of how technology is de-humanizing the world, and how youth will never learn emotions and know human realities from their constant interactions on the internet. It has been through this sad loss of a member of my family, that I have had proven right my convinctions about the internet's positive potentional. While I was sitting at my desk, drenched in tears and unable to make a conherent thought, I blogged a simple post to tell all of the veganfoodie world, who I admire, read, love and feel inspired by every day, that something horrible had happened. And quicker than the baking time for Vcon's Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, so many of you responded - with kind words, with virtual hugs, with beautiful cultural traditions, and with stories of connections and understanding. I can't thank you enough. You helped me get through that tough few hours and over the weekend. I also feel that the little bits of Riley that I share with you will be transmitted and remembered by people other than me and my family. I will always be impacted by the support of this blogging world when I think of this very sad loss. Thank you - all of you.

Let me tell you just a little bit about Riley. After four years of university, the end was in sight and the end happened to coincide with my sister's 13th birthday. Her present was a furry, show dog parented, papers filled-out and filed, Golden Retriever. I was lucky enough to have given myself a repreive from working that summer - as I readied myself for my Master's year in English. I did nothing more that summer than play with Riley and hang out with my mom and sister.

Riley was a perfect puppy right from the start. I can't think of one moment, or one story where he was naughty or snarled or bit or snapped. He was a perfect companion to all of us - each of us getting the love and treatment from Riley that he thought was the best for us. Even when I moved away from my parent's animal loving home, Riley always treated me the same, always came and cuddled, always let me chase him around the living room, always rested his little (ok, big) head on my knee while I was eating ANYTHING. He was a wonderfully fluffy and funny dog who always, always said 'yes' to ice cream, and no matter how much he hated tofu, he would always taste a little before returning it back to the floor from where he had picked it up from.
It is my parents and my little sister who I feel most keenly for right now, as I know that Riley isn't suffering and likely carrying around all the shoes he can find in doggie heaven. He was such a massive physical and spiritual presence in their now too-big house. And, the sad fact is that Riley isn't the only pet they have lost this year - three months ago, their long time kitty friend Jake also died. The seven hour flight home has never felt so long, and the prospect of three more weeks here in Belgium has never felt quite so frustrating - all I want is to be home with my family and give them a big fat hug.

Kevin was busy all day Saturday trying to keep a smile on my face - something which he did quite well. We FINALLY bought a dining room table (upon which we ate a great meal last night), we also picked up a desk, a laundry room organizer that we couldn't put together, and bookshelf doors. The other two little creatures who were big and wonderful helpers this weekend in making me smile were Sylvia and Eliot - my own little precious packages of fuzzy love. They did lots of silly things this weekend to make me laugh and remember all the reasons why having pets in your life is well worth the sadness we feel when it is time to say goodbye.


Anonymous said...

Riley sounds like a really wonderful dog. Hugs xx
Sylvia and Eliot look adorable, I bet they're a big help in mending a broken heart.

Anonymous said...

What a great post! Thank you so much for sharing.

Ricki said...

He does seem like a wonderful dog; I'm sure he'll be sorely missed! And that FACE--oh my goodness. Sweetness and light! :)

River said...

Beautiful post, all of it. Thank you for sharing your feelings and stories about Riley, what a sweet dog!
Lucky you to have such a cute pair of fuzzy-love-giving kitties!

...barbara... said...

This post was really nice to read and has warmed me up from a chilly day.
I am so happy to hear you have so much love and support around you.
Your beautiful pets were just as lucky to have you as you were to have them.

jessy said...

Riley sounds like the best dog a family could ever ask for! he was so lucky to be a part of your loving & happy family - and how awesome that he brought such happiness and fond memories to all of you! thank you for sharing his story with us.

Sylvia and Eliot are just too cute. and that's happyfaced news on the purchase of your new table! hooray on breaking it in and enjoying a tasty meal on it, too! mmmmmmmmmm!

the little vegan's littlest sister said...

L and your wonderful clan of bloggers,

I have found my way back to the internet, to be lovingly surprised with all of the support your readers have for you and our family. Your beliefs in the power of technology are seriously affirmed.

I am sitting in the atrium of my soc building at school trying not to dissolve into fits of tears and laughter. You're right, three weeks is so far away. It has been almost a week since Riley left our home. Today is the last new day to face before it all becomes mundane again.

I miss that puppy so much, it breaks my heart to think you didn't get to have your shoes, sandwich or (insert personal effect here) stolen one more time from that ball of golden fur.

I don't believe we could ever convey to people how much he truly touched our lives, he REALLY was the perfect dog for us. He supported us through everything and no matter what role we were playing on a particular day, he was always just Riley, loving and loyal. Riley never had a malice bone in his body, I wish everyone could experience the companionship we did with him.

And although I feel a stab of pain every time I expect him to be there are he isn't, I know that wherever he is, he left us happy and tail a-wagging.

He will never be replaced and has left me with the biggest impression anything ever has.

When you come home we will give him the goodbye celebration he deserves: Tennis balls and all.

bean said...

Amen to all of that, as the mother of the littlevegan I can only agree with everything in this post but most of all thank you to all of the folks who sent their kind thoughts.

Chelsea said...

What a beautiful post :) RIP Riley. And hugs to you.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Awww, wha a beautiful post. May Riley rest in peace.

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

Such a touching post. I'm glad to hear you were able to find some comfort from your vegan blog friends, family, and kitties. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Love the pet pictures! Glad you shared with us.

Johanna said...

your kittens look so soft and snuggly - am sure they will look after you

pets are such a great source of joy and understanding - even the most rascally pets in our family have been so much a loved part and your dog sounds so sweet - am sure his memory will live on with you

Vegan_Noodle said...

Glad you told us a bit more about Riley. What a rough time for you and your family... and especially since you are many miles away.

And I enjoyed what you wrote about our generation and the internet. I do think the blogging community is like a big network of friends to support each other.

Sending you some more virtual hugs...

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your sentiments about Riley! He sounds like he was truly a great friend and beloved family member! I am sure your whole family will miss him dearly, but remember him fondly.

I'm so happy that Sylvia and Eliot were there to nurture you this weekend. Cats can be as nurturing as they can be aloof, and they are incredibly beautiful and sensitive animals.

I hope you're starting to feel better and that your days are getting a bit brighter.