In Memory of Reily


The question wasn’t whether we could love Reily — the question was, was there a limit to how MUCH we could love him?  Answer — it was love at first sight and grew exponentially.  Unfortunately, our time together was very short. If love could have saved him, he would have lived to be 1,000+!

Kate, his foster mom, had become very attached to Reily, but her work took her out of town frequently and she had another senior golden, Katie, to care for.  Kate and Reily visited us to see how he’d match up with our other “kids” as part of our family.  It was a great match and he came to live with us right before Christmas.  He was the best Christmas present ever!  He followed Jane everywhere she went (she never went to the bathroom alone while he was here!), and they went on daily walks so he could do his “big job.”  Well, maybe walk is a little ambitious to say — it was more of a stroll.  It was known that Reily had a bloody discharge from one nostril and it was thought it might be a sinus tumor.  Plus, at age 14, we knew our time with him would not be as long as we would have liked.  But then, isn’t that always the case with our furry kids??

A few days after Christmas, a visit to our vet revealed he was suffering from moderate kidney failure and moderate anemia.  The vet said that the anemia was too severe to have been caused by the bloody nose discharge.  She said he might survive “maybe a month.”  We were devastated but determined to make the most of his last weeks.  He didn’t sleep on a dog bed; we brought up a loveseat from the basement and put it in the bedroom for him to sleep on.  We not only showered him with love, we “smothered” him with it!  And you must understand, this wasn’t because we felt sorry for him — it was because he made it so easy for us to love him!  He was quite small for a male Golden, only 50 lbs. and had reddish, wavy hair. His eyes were soulful…and then there was his grin!  Lord have mercy, if that didn’t melt your heart, you didn’t have one!  In a sing-song voice, we’d call him “Mr. Handsome,” and he would break out in his lopsided grin and bounce up and down on his front legs and “trill.”  It was like he was talking to us.  He knew he was handsome! And he knew he was loved. He brought us many moments of happiness, silliness, and comfort.

The last few days got more difficult.  His hind legs became so weak that he could not always walk, and he started to refuse his food.  Our hearts were broken but we knew it was time.  We like to think he hung on a little longer than what was predicted just because he loved us and the life we provided for him.  When Reily crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on February 9, he was greeted by our prior multiple “kids” who went before him.  Kate, his first foster mom, felt that Reily probably went first so that he could be there to meet her dog, Katie, who crossed the very next day.  Reily was always a gentleman!

It is difficult to explain to others how Reily could have completely captivated our hearts in just six weeks. But that is what happened. We have had many, many rescue dogs over the past 40+ years, and although they have all been special in their own way, Reily will be a shining star.  Although we are heartbroken, we know we were blessed to have had this wonderful boy in our lives. It was a privilege to love and care for him.

Jacque and Jane


2/14/2017: A sweet, sweet soul has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Reily 16-20, also known as “Mr. Handsome” to his foster family, passed away on February 9 due to liver disease. To the best of our knowledge Reily was 14 years old when he entered GRRIN last October, and he was able to spend his last four months in the best retirement home ever.  Check back for a story from his foster family.