Just over two years ago when I made the decision to move to South Korea to teach, I also had to make the decision on what to do with my dog Riley. I rescued Riley when she was four months old. She was supposed to be a pet for my son, well you know how that story turns out. So Riley became my companion.
Two months later I got a job offer in Washington state and decided to move there. I packed up the U-haul and my new best friend and we set off on the road. We had some bumps along the road as I learned to care for a puppy. I learned the hard way that you can’t just leave a puppy to roam the house while you are away at work all day (they destroy everything, everything!). But the bond between us grew stronger and stronger as we spent so much time together. I learned the true meaning of the dog/human bond.
A year after I moved there I broke my leg. I was lucky to work at home and even luckier to have a companion while I was laid up in bed. So my companion turned into my best friend. I had plenty of time to teach her standard commands as well as silly tricks. She cuddled up and let me cry on her when tough times got really tough (and there were some really tough times!). We went on road trips together and were basically inseparable.
So when I decided to venture out to a new country to teach I had to make a decision. Do I bring Riley with or find someone to care for her or find a new home? I decided that I couldn’t take her to South Korea, it wouldn’t be fair for her since I had no idea what it would be like and there was no way she would have survived all day in an office-tel. Plus the Koreans would have freaked out over such a large dog since they all seem to have mini purse dogs. And I didn’t feel good about asking someone to care for her for two years (or longer) and then take her back when I got home. So I started the process of finding her a new family. I had trained Riley well and I had tons of people contact me after I put an ad out.
I contacted the first people who reached out. They were a young couple with three daughters. They lived on the west coast of Washington near Olympia. After some emails back and forth I met them at a dog park in Olympia. Everyone got along well and I felt good about them. We all met again and this time it was for a trial stay. Riley went with them and a couple days later I drove out to their house to see how she was getting along. I spent the day with them and still felt really good about the decision. I drove home and later than night it hit me that she was gone. I spent the next few days either in tears or close to it. I couldn’t believe how much I missed her. I called my mom and told her how I couldn’t stop crying and I didn’t understand why because it was just a dumb dog. She talked me through it which helped a lot.
After more time had gone by I started wondering how she was doing but was afraid to contact them in case something didn’t work out and she was no longer with them. I kept putting off emailing them. Finally after coming back to the states and settling in Texas I was talking to my friend Megan about it. She convinced me I should write to them so I did. And they wrote back. 🙂
We were just talking about you and thinking we should give you an update. Riley is doing good, we moved to Wyoming a year ago onto a little farm. She has free roam to run around when and where she pleases. She thinks she’s a herder and wants to move cattle and horses but she’s scared of baby chicks! we love her so much and could not ask for a better dog. She still sleeps with the girls and is very protective of them. We made a trip to Washington and are currently driving back to Wyoming so I can’t get a good pic of her right now but I’ll send you one when we stop to stretch. Wish you the best and thanks again for a great girl!
Dan and Neasha
The next day I told my friend Megan about the letter and showed her the pictures. As I was telling her about it I started getting choked up and tears were threatening to spill. As I stopped to collect myself, Megan had to dab at her eyes. I could not believe how emotional this moment was. I was tearful because I missed Riley, a lot. But I was also tearful because I am so damn happy that she has such a cool loving family to spend the rest of her life with.
As I finish typing this up the stupid tears are back. It shouldn’t matter anyway. It’s just a dumb dog. But I love that dog!