June 19th, 2022

We thought we were going to lose our sweet Riley 3 weeks ago. She was seemingly fine on a Monday morning and that same afternoon, her back legs stopped working.

Treatment of a bulging disk involved a steroid shot which set her diabetes out of control and put her into pancreatitis and diabetic keto acidosis.

Riley was really, really sick. And our family was devastated at the possibility of losing her.

She is the youngest member of our family and yet for a dog, she’s getting old – she will be 14 a month from tomorrow.

How do you prepare for losing one of your “children?” I still don’t quite know how we will deal with such a loss, but fortunately it wasn’t this time around. Our local animal clinic has taken excellent care of her and she is acting normal again. And yet I know we will face this day, eventually.

I grew up on a farm. Our pets were outside. People were inside. And unfortunately, on a farm, pets could be almost disposable – subject to being run over by cars passing by, getting into rat poison, or being accidentally hit by vehicles in the yard. My relationship with Riley, my first indoor pet, is something totally different and unique from what I was accustomed to while growing up. She is in every way a family member. The loss of her someday will be incredibly difficult for us.

Today, we celebrate every additional day we have been given with her.

Our children wanted to take this opportunity to have new formal pictures taken with their “sibling.” None of us knows how long anyone (or any pet) has time left on this earth. Illness tends to make all of us take stock of what is the most important things in our lives – our relationships.

Cherish every moment with your loved ones. Give thanks for all of their days. And preserve their memory with images.

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