Pets, Rescue

Pet Parenting: A Birthday for River

Time flies when you’re having fun, especially when you have an awesome partner in crime.

Four years ago, on October 31st, 2016, a little four-legged fluffball would enter this world and change my life for the better.

River, also known as Old Man River, River Man, River Monster, and Fluff Butt, was adopted in January of 2017 from the local SPCA where I am currently employed. I’ve often bragged about how I had vowed never to bring my work home with me. Who would have guessed that he would turn out to be the one exception to that rule?

I remember very clearly the first time I met him, I was injured and having a rough day at work, so I decided to spend some one-on-one time with the dogs in the kennels. After hanging out with a few of the other dogs that seemed convinced I was only there to give them treats, I had moved on to the small, quiet oddball at the end of the row. He had been fairly sick the week before and had only just recovered, so I was curious to see what this little guy was all about. I picked up little puppy River and held him in my lap, where he then sniffed my bandaged and bloodied thumb before licking my face and snuggling into my armpit. I held him like that for the next hour. He didn’t budge. He just fell asleep in my arms, breathing deep as if he didn’t have a care in the world. He made me smile.

It was emotional blackmail.

I knew at that exact moment that I belonged to him. He chose me.

Ever since the day I brought him home, we’ve been on so many adventures; walks in the forest, camping trips, playtime with other dogs, and moving from house to house. And I really do have to give him credit for that last one – he’s been super adaptive to my life over the last three years. We’ve also been through some misadventures. There have been the car rides that caused him to get sick. Also, the constant battles with his digestion issues. Who can forget the random escapes from the backyard? Getting covered in tree sap, mud, and other things that cling to his coat like super glue. And of course, the inexplicable weight gain…

No other being has helped keep my sanity or driven me to madness in the same way as this bloody dog. Much like a lightning rod, he has acted as both a grounding force while attracting trouble at the same time. He’s a complex contradiction. A chaotic force operating in logical circumstances. An agent of disaster with the ability to heal. A clueless animal with the brain of an evil genius.

And I love him for it.

I’ve been lucky to have such an incomparable and constant companion by my side. He follows me everywhere. He knows when I’m sad. He knows when to cheer me up. He has been with me for some of the most chaotic moments of my life. He has never complained once. He is 100% himself.

Happy birthday to the best little buddy a guy like me could hope for. Thank you for everything over the last few years. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for us.

Happy birthday to you, Mr. River.

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