The Life of Riley
This week’s Happy Tail comes from Ellen Hada in Brooklyn, who adopted a Pit mix at the ASPCA in 2010:
January 11, 2011, marked the one-year adoption anniversary of Riley, a "goofball" who is scared of all umbrellas (including pink princess parasols).
Riley and I had our first kiss during the one-on-one introduction at the ASPCA. Victoria [Wells, ASPCA Senior Behavior and Training Manager] warned us he was a very nervous, shy, "cruelty kid" who had been abandoned after being abused for quite some time. "Don't kiss him or touch him too soon," Victoria advised. But it was too late. As I knelt to my knees to say hi to Riley (then called Bear), his tongue had already found its way to my entire face, and possibly two or three of my front teeth. I was sold!
In the beginning, Riley had only two modes on walks: Run for Your Life or Super-Slow Bowling Ball. Walks would go like this: Sniff. Trot. RUNNNNNNN—Umbrella!? RUN FASTER! Oh, not umbrella—Phew! Bowling Ball! Pee. Still peeing. Please stop trying to pull me away—can you not see that the stream is still going!? PAWS ON MOMMY—RUN EVEN FASTER—BOWLING BALL! ...Why are you crying, Mommy?
Over a year later, with Riley 15 pounds heavier, our walks have greatly improved. We go running together and he is fabulous at keeping pace. He runs around umbrellas and umbrella-like objects with minimal disturbance. Riley has come such a long way. I don't even care to imagine what his life was like before coming to our home in Brooklyn.
But here is what I know now: Riley is loved. By doting grandparents, uncles and not one but two daddies (my boyfriend and my best friend), Riley is chocolate-covered, whipped-cream-with-a-cherry-on-top loved. And so even though we are only celebrating his first year with us, I am celebrating a lifetime with him because my life didn't really begin until it was with him.