2.09.2011

The Newness of it All

a boy and his dog

Our foothill home has a new companion . . . of the canine variety.

a boy and his dog

Riley - a five year old Golden Retriever (plus some other indeterminate genetic influences). Once a lost dog, then a rescued dog, now our dog. Aidan has been asking for months and months for a dog, and finally George and I decided it was time. Our family has never had a dog. I haven't had a dog since I was a child. I'm a little overwhelmed by the newness of it all.

meet riley

Is it wrong that I like him best when he's asleep? If he'd only stay asleep during his naps and not jump up and follow me when I leave the room. I now have constant company, even when I'm just putting away laundry. Having Riley is definitely like having another child; but not at all like a child, because he is a dog, and I need to learn how to treat him as such. I've got a lot to learn.

Fortunately, Riley is the right dog to break me in. He's calm, potty trained, mostly obedient, and good on a leash. Sometimes aloof and not too excitable, he fits right in with our family. Plus, he gets along with neighboring dogs.

Still, I find myself waiting for the rest of the story. I'm anticipating the possession to commence and Cujo to appear. Or perhaps the next thunderstorm will bring out his inner Marley. Then again, he might be our Hachiko or Winn Dixie. Probably, though, he's just Riley, not a book turned into a movie dog. His story will unfold without an adapted screenplay, one scene at a time. Sure, there may be twists and unexpected events, but that's what makes the story interesting.

I want Riley to be a good fit for our family, and I want to do right by him, and I feel a tremendous pressure to succeed. I've got to accept that we will make mistakes and that we will encounter issues. I just can't wait until the newness of it all wears off, when Riley feels safe and secure, and we feel completely comfortable in his presence. In time he will blend seamlessly into our lives, like our chickens, our garden, even homeschooling. All these things felt overwhelming in the beginning too, but now they're second nature.

Right now, I'm so exhausted I could curl up next to Riley and take a nap. After that, we'll go on a walk, put away the laundry, eat, pee, poop, do a few tricks, and start the cycle all over again. Yes, it's rather a boring story, but it's Riley's story . . . so far.

31 comments:

  1. Laying down Riley reminds me a bit of a border collie, and standing seems leaner than a golden..also more like my border collie.

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  2. Riley is wonderful, he is lucky to have found such a loving family. We are new to the dog thing ourselves, and I laughed when you said Riley follows you everywhere, mine does too. Yes, eventually he will meld into your lives and you will wonder why it took so long to experience dog love!
    P.S. I am having a vintage-y handmade giveaway, do come by!
    http://meli-melo-art.blogspot.com

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  3. what a handsome boy!
    enjoy your new family member, be kind to yourself, and call me if you have dog questions or doubts.
    i will share a story: benen was maybe two or three months old. i was on the phone with my zen teacher, crying, trying to wade my way through the shame and pressure of being annoyed by the neediness of my dogs (my only "children" before benen). and she said:
    "amy,i mean, they're dogs".
    that was it.

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  4. Goldens love stuffed toys (aka their babies). My sister's golden carries one everywhere! And a blanket. The dog simply MUST have her blanket at bedtime, and stands at the top of the stairs begging for permission to bring her blanket downstairs!

    OK, I love that dog. I must -- I made the blanket! Cheers to a new addition. There's nothing quite like unconditional love.

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  5. Enjoy! Riley looks like a wonderful addition to your family...

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  6. He looks and sounds like a great dog. You will adjust I'm sure. I think the hardest part of having a dog is dealing with shedding. But that you get used to as well.
    I got about forty five minutes alone in the house today-just me and Trudy (the dog.)
    I got some knitting done while she slept next to my legs on the bed. Very cozy. Those are the times I really like having a dog.

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  7. oh molly, i can understand your trepidation but soon enough it'll feel like he's been there forever. one day you'll wonder how you ever got on without him. best of luck with it all. xo

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  8. He's looking pretty at home sleeping there on your floor. What a sweetie.

    Sounds like he likes you, following you around as he does. Smart doggie.

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  9. What a pleasant addition. The early dating stage is always full of trepidation. Soon he will be like an old friend, and you will forget the times when he wasn't around. I bet Aidan loves having his new dog.

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  10. welcome to my world - but I have a marley on my hands for sure. she's sleeping right now. my favorite time too. Aidan must be in love.

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  11. Oh, Molly! I could have written this post, almost ... we just got a puppy, also our first dog ever, and I'm going through many of the same feelings you are. If only we could have a support group for semi-nervous new dog owners!
    It's much like beginning parenting, except that unlike with parenting, I actually ask people at the park for advice and take it seriously ... :-)

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  12. Riley looks like he is already making himself right at home. One day you will wake up and wonder how you ever lived without him.

    Congratulations on the new family member.

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  13. All will be well. It will truly be well. Cujo will not appear. I promise.
    This lovely being will take care of you and your family and one day, you will ask yourself, "What did we ever do before we got him?"
    It does take time, for all of you.
    Think about all of the love that comes together. It's all good.

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  14. Such sweet pics. I love the look on your son's face as he gazes at Riley, and the first picture of those loving arms hugging the fur, well, not many things sweeter. A boy and a dog, perfect.

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  15. Congratulations Molly! I'm sure the learning curve will be short and swift. My family was just sharing with me that they can't and don't want to imagine me without my canine friends. Such unconditional love is a pleasure and a gift. Enjoy yours! Melissa

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  16. He's very handsome. Congratulations on the new family member. My youngest (almost 5) has wanted a dog for the last couple of years. It's not quite the right time at the moment but I look forward to that time when it is. I was talking to a woman recently (well, okay, last winter) who had adopted an adult dog rather than a puppy and it has convinced me to do likewise when it is our turn. I do love seeing a boy and his dog together.

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  17. Very, very sweet. We added an accidental stray dog to our own brood this December. After a month, I could hardly imagine life without her following me around. And you know, I am a sentimental fool, but I swear after two months she almost seems grateful. As if she's so happy to relax into her happy new home...... good luck :)

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  18. a new pet is always a big adjustment, even if you've had dogs before. riley is absolutely adorable and i bet you two will be fast friends in no time. it took hazel and me a good four months to find our stride. and i am so happy to have her in our lives.

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  19. Congratulations to you. What a beauty!

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  20. What a great beginning and wonderful pictures. I agree, it it looks like he has some Border Collie in him in addition to the Golden Retriever. Both of those breeds have wonderful personalities and are very smart. Plus, at 5 years old, he's probably gotten all the rambunctious behavior out of the way. It looks like you have a wonderful companion on your hands!

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  21. It is very much like adding a child to your family and wondering how it will be once the transition time is over. At least you didn't get a puppy - ai yi yi, talk about a lifestyle change! He looks like a sweetie. :)

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  22. Kudos for rescuing an animal in need, especially an adult. I foster dogs that have been cast off by their owners, it changes them forever. They are a bit more sad, a bit wiser, and very grateful. Thank you for being part of the solution!

    Amy
    http://aplaceinthesunforus.blogspot.com/

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  23. You forgot the bit about him being really handsome, with a beautiful face. Perhaps he's going to be the best companion ever!

    PS Are all American dogs called Riley?

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  24. What a lucky pooch. He is adorable. Have fun getting to know him!

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  25. what an adventure for all of you to journey together. I have two boys that would love a dog but a house and yard I don't think big enough for a dog. but everyone who has one seems to have one special relationship with them. enjoy the journey!

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  26. Welcome, Riley! I grew up with big dogs and so did my husband. Our children would love a dog, but allergies to dander are a big problem. Sounds like Riley has already fit in so well.

    BTW, thanks for visiting!

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  27. New Reader here. But just had to say getting a dog is one of the most wonderful experiences in our family! He's a rescue pup from the pound. Cures the need around here for a baby.

    Great crochet stars. Saw the link on Elizabeth Abernathy.

    Cheers, Amy
    Sebastopol, California

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  28. I'm also a new reader and as a dog lover, I have to say you made the right decision. A grown-up puppy is a terrific choice for new/nervous dog owners. Plus, think about poor Riley's experience, being handed off from one family to the next. It's no wonder he follows you around...he wants to make sure you don't leave him. Love him, and he'll love you back unconditionally. And soon you'll find that his tail wags will brighten even the most dismal of days.

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  29. ....and it's a good story, so far. Your honesty here is so very appreciated. My small girl has been begging for a dog for years and, while I would love to get one, i have to admit that just the thought of it is a bit overwhelming.
    I'll look forward to hearing more of Riley's story.

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  30. Congratulations! Riley is very handsome and a lucky pup to be a part of your family. I hope your decision will be as positive and rewarding as our decision was last spring to bring Neko into our family.

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