Thursday, December 27, 2007
By Tom Schreck,
author of On the Ropes, A Duffy Dombrowski Mystery
That's me and Riley.
Riley's a rescue dog--meaning someone gave him up and he needed a home. Turns out some old lady kept him in a cage all day and called him "Rotten" Riley.
Some group of dog people got him but they said he was aggressive and they recommended that he get put down. Besides that he wasn't a pure bred--he's half bloodhound and somehow that made him less than.
Well, a nice woman named Heather thought the dog group was nuts so she adopted Riley and didn't put him down but added him to her collection of 10 unwanted bassets. She put his photo on Petfinder.com, a spot for rescued dogs.
My first dog Buddy had just died suddenly and we had Agnes, a bloodhound and Wilbur, a basset left. When I saw Riley's lineage something inside of me said he's might be for us. When I called my wife she said he was definitely for us and made me call the woman and set up a road trip.
My wife is like that.
Riley became ours and he didn't come without issues. He was aggressive in his own way and bit both of us once or twice when we broke up fights between him and Wilbur but that was a long time ago. He barks when he gets his food and he does this weird thing where he controls which dog gets to go through the doorway first.
He also took and passed his therapy dog test.
That's right--Ol "Rotten" Riley, once on death row, is a certified therapy dog. He goes to the VA Hospital and visits the locked psychiatric ward where's he's known to steal milk, snacks and sandwiches from the patients.
And people who don't smile much smile a little more when Riley takes their milk.
May we all be as rotten.
People like Heather and the rescue groups take care of dogs like Riley and they spend their own money getting them fed, giving them medical care and everything else that goes into caring for a pet. Sometimes they do fundraisers at pet stores and other places. Next time you go past them give them some money or maybe even adopt your own rotten pet.
My very first book signing for On The Ropes benefited the New England Basset Hound Rescue--and even though there were lots of Red Sox fans there I still gave them all the proceeds.