Riley: Update followup


Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2007 7:39 AM

Subject: Followup on Riley (aka Chompy) from the new family

Well, it has been about 9 months since Riley was adopted and we keep in touch with the family. We have made a visit and will do another coming up soon. In any case, here is a humorous story from the family that took him in.

If you don’t remember Riley, he was the Dalmatian that came up from Katrina with Remy (yellow lab mix). Riley absolutely hated Bones (the ancient dog that resides at our house) from the day they met causing us to build gates like locks in our house so that they could never be together. When we made a mistake, both dogs, even when muzzled, would foam at the mouth and fight till we could pull them apart. Riley bit through my hand, gave me numerous punctures on my arms and then eventually turned into my best friend through lots of work. To see such a wild beast turn into such a family mush makes the scars worth a great deal to me.

So…hats off to HART for giving Riley an opportunity where most people would just have put him down. And hats off to the wonderful family that has taken him into their home.


P.S. Remember that Riley was the one that took over 9 months to get adopted and he was adopted because we took him to the Ice Cream Social at Leslie’s sister’s place in Fairfax. It was a Fireman that they called over from the local station that fell in love with him.

Riley: An Update

Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 2:37 PM
Subject: Riley

Hi! How are you guys? Hopefully all is well with you. We are all doing well. I haven’t heard from you for a while so I thought I’d check in and while doing so I’d share a funny Riley story with you. Riley is doing well. He’s a great dog and we love him to death. He’s in despair at the moment – but he’ll be okay after tonight. Ryan (our son) has been at football camp for about 10 days and Riley is just beside himself. He sits by the door to the garage and just looks out…..last night I found him on Ryan’s bed….laying with his head on the pillow…..right next to the bear Ryan sleeps with. Anyway, Ryan will be home tonight….

We had an interesting issue with Riley. He likes the taste of chipmunks. About 2 weeks ago, I opened the back door to call the dogs in. Usually he comes right in (with Casey) but he didn’t this time. He had his backside turned to me and his head was down, so I couldn’t see what he was doing. I called to him and he turned around he had the back half of a chipmunk sticking out of his mouth. The chipmunk was kicking for all he was worth (and I was worried to death that Riley was going to eat him or kill him and bring me this dead thing as a “prize”). Riley came jogging toward me and I yelled “Riley Stop!” He did, and I yelled “put that down” and he spit it out onto the edge of the patio. This poor little chipmunk hit the ground, covered in dog spit, with its hair all wet and sticking up in every direction. It looked up and Riley, looked at me and took off running like a shot! Riley just kind of looked at it….and came trotting inside….he does that kind of thing with our cat. He’ll sit and lick Harry until one side of his hair is all wet and sticking up and stiff…but he never hurts him……I guess he just likes to “taste” things……

Anyway. Thought I’d share. Are you guys still involved with HART? I hope so, it seems like such a worthwhile cause…….

Have a great 4th and a wonderful summer. Hope to hear from you soon.

Gail & Scott ###### & Family


Riley New Year’s update

Sent: Tuesday, January 16, 2007
8:08 AM
Subject: RE: Happy New

It is really good to
hear from you!  Riley continues to do well….he’s just another member of the
family now.  He’s been to the vet a couple of times….once to have his leg looked
at – he was limping around for a few days, and we wanted to make sure he hadn’t
hurt himself.  He also recently finished his lyme disease vaccination series…the
vet suggested that.  We use frontline on him, but ticks really seem to like

Ryan is definitely
Rileys favorite person.  They sleep in the same bed….Riley lays on the floor
outside the bathroom when Ryan is in the shower….it’s kind of pathetic….but in a
good way. 

Oh, I meant to tell you
about the snow…We had a snow shower the other day….and we took the dogs out in
it.  Riley just stood there with the dumbest look on his face.   You could
almost hear him saying “what is this stuff and why is it on me?” 


Anyway, we love him. 
You can’t have him back – but anytime you want to come visit, feel

I hope you guys had a
wonderful holiday.  We did!  We didn’t have any trouble with Riley and the tree
or the presents – which is good – last year Casey ate all the candy canes off of
the bottom 1/3 of the tree – came home to a sticky dog and cellophane wrapper


Riley: Pinging in the New Year

Sent: Saturday, January 13, 2007 5:10 PM
Subject: Happy New Year!

Yea, about 13 days late, but Happy
New Year to you all!


How is Riley doing?  I have been
wondering about him.  The dog we have been fostering since you adopted Riley
just got adopted today.  He was a good dog, but didn’t have nearly as much
personality as Riley.


Anyhow, I hope all is well for you
guys!  Happy New Year!



Riley: Update on Riley

Sent: Friday, October 20, 2006
9:00 AM


I?m sorry it has been so long since
I?ve written (since your visit), October is Fire Prevention Month and it?s been
a bit crazy around here!

Anyway, I had a really nice visit
with you guys?.and I think Riley did too!  He continues to be just a wonderful
addition to our family.  We love him to death.  We did have on real scare with
him I wanted to share?.as kind of a truth is stranger than fiction

We were starting to leave him out of
his crate, but still confined to Ryan?s room while we were out for short
errands.  One evening we did just that.  We were only going to be gone for maybe
an hour.  We went through Ryan?s room and put away anything we thought might be
tempting or dangerous in any way.  While we were gone?Riley dragged a large bag
of guinea pig food (which was up on Ryan?s desk) down to the floor and proceeded
to eat roughly 2-3 lbs of food pellets.  This wasn?t immediately apparent when
we came home?..until Riley started projectile vomiting this green ?stuff??I sent
Ryan up to check to see if anything looked eaten or if Riley had been sick in
his room.  Riley continue to vomit??  After about the third spewing and the
discovery of the chowing down of the guinea pig food, I called the emergency
vet.  He put me in touch with a poison control center for animals (and the

University of
I believe).  I
contacted them immediately and gave them Riley?s information, his health
history, the contents of the guinea pig food, etc.  They then told me how to
treat him.  I had to get him to drink ½ cup of white vinegar (to make him vomit
out the rest of the food).  He loved it ? lapped it right up?..then I had to
withhold food and water for 2 hours to let his stomach regroup.  After 2 hours
as long as he had not vomited any more, I was to give him ½ cup of lukewarm
water.  Wait an hour and if still no vomiting another ½ cup of lukewarm water. 

If still no vomiting after another hour I was to give 1 cup of lukewarm water. 
If, after an additional hour, he was not vomiting he was to have full access to
as much water as he would drink.  But he could not have food for 12 hours. 
After the 12 hours I was to mix 4 tablespoons of canned unspiced pumpkin (like
for pies) into his food?.again?he loved it?..and do this for the next 3 days. 
The water and the pumpkin work like a mild laxative.  The concern was that the
guinea pig food would pass through his stomach and would slow in his intestines
due to the bulk, and the longer it sat in his intestines, the more the
intestines would draw the available water out of the food and he could wind up
with a bowel obstruction. 

We followed all their instructions,
with the understanding that if he started to vomit again at any time or if he
appeared to be straining to poop, we should call back immediately.  He?s
fine?..came through like a trooper?..hopefully a little wiser??I know we
certainly are??

Thought you?d find this
interesting??.Oh, yeah, and the biggest concern when I called the poison control
center was whether the food had raisins in it?..apparently as few as 5-10
raisins can give a dog Riley?s size kidney failure?..never knew

Don?t forget to let us know about
the event you were talking about for Adopted Dogs?..He?s been such a success
story for us?..and we?ve been sharing the web site with friends, so who knows,
maybe some other success stories will come out of


Riley visit

Mike and I went out to Winchester today to visit with the family that adopted Riley.  We got there at about 2:30 and he greeted us at the door.  At first he just sniffed as if he did not realize who we were.  After a little while he seemed really happy to see us, but it wasn’t till we were in the living room and I put him on his back like I did when he lived with me that he he just got super excited and started wanting to play.

Riley is doing wonderfully.  He has gained a bit of weight and is about the size of their other dog Casey.  He and the cat are getting along great and from the way he behaved while we were there, you wouldn’t know that he ever had aggression issues.  He was just a sweet and lovable pooch.  the change in Riley from when we got him originally till the way he is now is just amazing and proof that the fostering program works well.  I am not only happy for the family that got Riley, but for Riley for getting such a great family!

Riley is fitting in well

Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2006
8:14 AM
Subject: RE: How are things going
with Riley

As far as I know we
should be around the weekend of the 30th.  Drop me a line when we get
closer to the date so that I remember and we’ll try to set up a time!!  I don’t
think he’ll forget you!  You saved him……

Gas!  We have
discovered that Riley has been sneaking cat food……could explain some things
don’t you think!  We moved Harry’s food so it won’t be as

Scott is home today
(kind of) he’s running errands with Calvin (the friend of ours that takes care
of our beasties when we are away).  He’s taking the dogs with him to run the
errands….so they get to go bye bye today!!!!!!  It’s funny – you ask Casey if
she watns to go bye bye and she runs to the door and prances and wags….Riley
thinks…..hmmm I don’t know what’s going on but it looks like a good thing so
I’ll prance and wag too!!!  They are so cute together….  I took the dogs to
Ryans football practice this past week….they got so many pets  I think they were
worn out by the time I got back in the Yukon with them, because they both laid
down down like a couple of slugs!


My response to the update

Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2006 9:23 PM
Subject: RE: How are things going with

Oh my…I feel for Harry.  I hope it was just play.  Riley
never barked from outside to come in.  He would scratch on the glass of the
sliding door until he figured out that there was a doggy door where he would
come in.  If he got locked outside in the front he would scratch at the door. 
The barking while outside is a new thing that we never saw.  We walked him every
morning and evening on a leash and he understood “heel” from day one.  He had
some kind of training with his original family. 
He is playing ball?  Wow!  He never once chased after the
ball when here.  Maybe the Labs just got to the ball first and so he never
tried.  He loved to tug on that rope and if I got him going I could get one of
the other dogs to take the other end of the rope and it would be great fun
watching them tug.
I didn’t turn in your adoption papers till this past
Saturday when we were at the adoption event so you won’t get the copies and vet
history till later.  We have a photo copy that I can mail to you.  He is
up-to-date on all of his shots but you need the “neutered certificate” and the
rabies certificate for his county animal registration. 
Gas!  Oh my.  Riley and Remy had gas something awful when
we got them but it turned out to be partly due to worms.  We put them through
the entire worming thing and most of the problems went away.  When he had Iams
he had worse gas than when he had Science Diet.  I have heard that when they
first change food they do get gas.  We rarely rotate food for the
I am really glad that you love him and that he is
adapting.  I miss his prancing when I come home and feed him.  Will you guys be
around the weekend of September 30?  If so, I will just be back from a trip and
would love to come visit.  By then he should have forgotten about
Thanks for the note!!! 

Riley update from his new family

I got a great note from the family that adopted Riley.

Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2006
3:57 PM

Subject: RE: How are things going
with Riley

Riley is

We have a couple of
issues we are working through…..of course one is with Harry.  Riley did get a
hold of Harry once, didn’t chew him, but slobbered him up pretty good.  Harry
may need therapy.  Since then we decided to keep a baby gate at the entrance to
the hallway.  This way the dogs can be in the family room with us (and have
access to the kitchen, outside, etc.) Harry sits on one side of the gate and
Riley on the other, they sniff, paw, etc.  Last night, Harry was sitting on the
arm of the chair in the family room.  Riley walked past him, backed up, looked
at harry, made this grunty sound he makes and walked

Riley does bark some in
the backyard, but he is getting better.  At first, the second we put he and
casey out, he’d start.  Not good when you have neighbors.  But he has learned
that barking doesn’t get him back in, so he doesn’t do it quite so much.  We can
put he and casey out for about a half hour together before they start to whine! 

He walks well on a
leash.  Some pulling, but two tugs on the leash and he stops.  If you tell him
to heel, he walks right next to your left leg.  I only make him do that if he’s
pulling a lot, otherwise I let him walk next to casey (which is what he
prefers).  He and Casey get along great!!!  We lay on the floor at night to
watch TV and as soon as we get a blanket out to lay on, the dogs are on it!!!! 
Then you have to fit yourself in between.  It’s

Oh yeah!  I almost
forgot to tell you…..Riley plays ball.  He had only been chasing casey, or so we
thought.  Today, Scott threw a ball in each direction, casey took off after the
first one and riley the second…..he brought it back and everything.  Then he
sits pretty (so he gets a treat).

He’s doing

We are going to do a
“drop by” visit next week with the vet – so I can pick up Heartguard.  And I may
ask her if the dogs can have beano or gas-ex or


A message from Riley’s new family

I got this message from the family that adopted Riley.  As usual, all last names and email addresses have been edited out.

Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2006 8:03 AM
Subject: Re: RE: RE: RE: Riley

I just wanted to let you know that we put Rileys crate in Ryans room last night.  About 10:45 Ryan and Riley went to bed.  I put a blanket in his crate, his rope toy and his bone.  He never made a peep.  I  checked on them both this morning and they were both still out cold.  Scott is home today with the kids so he’ll be there to referee…  We were playing with Casey last night, throwing her ball.  She would chase the ball into the kitchen and Riley would chase casey into the kitchen….

They two of them may have some minor scuffles here and there until they come to an agreement of who is who and what is what but I think they will be fine.

We’ll work with Riley and Harry….I was really surprised Harry was afraid…he hasn’t acted that way with anyone he’s met yet.  Hopefully they will come to terms as well.

We are really happy you decided to let us keep Riley, he’s a sweet baby.  And don’t worry he’ll get plenty of love.  

We meant what we said. If you come to town and want to come by give us a call.  I can’t always promise the house will be as clean as it was last night, but you’re always welcome.

Question….does Riley like baths?  How have you been bathing him…tub….hose….what???  Casey tolerates either…and she gets a bath about once a month…if not she’s beige instead of black and white….not a good look.

Take care, keep in touch….you have our numbers and my e-mail address…


Farwell to Riley

Today was my last day with my little friend Riley. Over the past 7 months I have come to really love this cute little pooch that has had such a hard life so far. I will miss him very much every morning when I wake up and every evening when I come home from work. Most of all, I will miss the unabated excitement that Riley displayed whenever he saw me.

My relationship with Riley started on a Sunday on February 18, 2006 but this young pooch had already been through 5 months estranged from his original owners. I recently got a copy of the original email of how Riley came to HART. He was found along with another dog that HART named Remy in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina hit. These were the first two orphan pups to arrive with HART in the aftermath of the devastation of the storm. Riley and Remy apparently paired so that Riley would stand guard while Remy foraged for food or water and then they would share. They were covered with fleas and ticks and neither was neutered. The fellow that saved the dogs brought them back toVirginia

after carrying supplies down to help people out after the storm. He couldn’t keep them and the local shelters were not able to help. HART stepped in and gave them their first post hurricane home. As with all animals that come to HART, the dogs were taken to a Vet and checked over. Riley turned out to be heartworm positive and was immediately put on treatment. From what the volunteers at HART tell me, both dogs were shaking for the first week or so. I am told that in December Riley got neutered after getting his heartworms taken care of.

Not all dogs are wonderful and sweet and that was certainly the case for Riley when we first got him. We already had a 12 year old chocolate lab and a 4 year old black lab. We met Riley and his friend Remy in mid February through HART. When Charlene brought him to our home, we put all 4 dogs in the back fenced yard for them to become acquainted. Riley and Remy smelled terrible and desperately needed a bath. Riley was shy and kept his tail between his legs. Everyone sniffed, and when Riley got near the chocolate lab, it was a case of “hate at first site”. It’s hard to tell who started the fight but the dislike was mutual. The dogs locked on each other and we pulled them apart. Riley had a cut on his ear; the chocolate had a cut on his neck. No bad damage. So, we separated them for a while and let them calm down. We slowly introduced them again and it was nothing but a big fight. The chocolate lab was 95 pounds of solid muscle and Riley was an emaciated frame of 45 pounds at best. Still, Riley held his own.

We took the chocolate into the house and locked him behind a gate. Inside the house the yellow lab (Remy), Riley, and the black lab sniffed. I picked up Riley to hug and he growled but let me hold him. Charlene suggested that I be more stern with him and not be a mush. She expressed concern that this might not work out because of the immediate dislike between the chocolate and Riley so she suggested that we foster the two dogs rather than adopting them.

That day began a very slow journey of rehabilitation for Riley. From day 1 Riley started trying to establish dominance on everything in the house. He marked in the basement on every piece of furniture, marked my bed, marked the hall, and defecated whenever the mood hit him. He attacked the black lab on the second day and we had to pull him off of her. The next day he attacked his friend Remy. In neither case was anyone seriously hurt. Then on day 3, he attacked me. It was a simple morning in my office where we had him pinned to sleep. I was typing an email when he came over to me and sat down. I turned to reach over to pet him and he flew into this rage resulting in multiple piercing bites on my arms and one nice bite through the thick of my hand. I had a time getting him to let go of my hand. I immediately rushed to the bathroom and washed out the wounds and then poured alcohol on them. That morning made me question the decision to take him in but I wasn’t broken yet.

From that point on Riley was kept on a very short leash and had no privileges in the house. He was not trusted to be pet, let alone played with. But, we had to factor in what this dog has been through and recognize that it will take time for him to adjust. He never wagged his tail, and growled at us all the time. He had a bad scar on his right hind leg and we didn’t now it at the time, but he also was missing his teeth on the top right row. He snarled at the chocolate through the gates and we even tried putting muzzles on both dogs. They just foamed at the mouth and fought like crazy.

Finally, one evening about 2 weeks into fostering the dogs, Riley was in my office while I was typing at the computer when he started to snarl at me without any provocation. I immediately stopped what I was doing and charged him, tossing him onto the floor on his back and putting my arm across his neck. He squirmed but I held him steady till he gave up. That incident appears to be the turning point for Riley.

Within a week after that he started wagging his tail when around me and started talking to me all the time. Not quite a bark, but not a growl…”aruu ruu ruu”.

It took a few months for Riley to learn his name, to become house trained, and to really warm up to me. We adopted Remy but continued to foster Riley. We took him to the adoption events every weekend. He learned the pattern and would get so excited every Saturday when I slept in that he would just dance around whenever I got up. Whenever he would see a large blue truck (I have a blue F250) he would run to the truck and want in. By about the 4th month of fostering, Riley had decided that I was his best friend. I could do just about anything to the little dog at this point including cleaning his teeth and manipulating his scarred leg. He pranced around whenever I came home from work or got up in the morning. When I called, he would stop whatever he was doing and come running as if he had just spotted a long lost friend. I frequently hold him in my lap like a small child on his back and pet him while in my office.

Riley and the chocolate lab still don’t get along after 7 months and Riley now weighs 55 pounds without any fat. On Wednesday August 9, we took Riley to an Ice Cream fund raiser for HART in downtown Fairfax. The local fire department came by and spotted the cute little dog lying on his back in my lap. They all gathered around in a circle and chatted while petting on the little dog. In that crowd of firemen was Scott. He didn’t say a lot but he went home and filled out an application that said the reason he wanted Riley was because he fell in “love at first site”.

Riley went to his new home in WinchesterVA on August 21, 2006. He now has his new forever family: Two adults, two children in their teens, a 7 year old female Dalmatian mix, and a 14 pound cat. It will probably take Riley a little while to forget about me and maybe a while to learn to love his new family, but he has come such a long way from the ill tempered smelly little dog. I will miss my little spotted friend.

When I got home, all 3 dogs greeted me as I opened the door. Kira and Bones took off and got their favorite toys while Remy just stood in the door looking outside. I could interpret it as if he was looking for his buddy Riley, but that would be attributing to much intelligence to him. After I closed the door, Remy kept staring out the window and then went to the front door and peered through the glass. I went into the office to check email and he would run from the door to me, bark, then back to the door. He repeated this for a while till I got up and let him out the front door. He paced up and down the front porch looking at the truck and driveway and eventually came inside. Maybe he does miss his only friend from the Hurricane.


Settle down Riley… settle down

Kira and Remy settled down right after the event with the groundhog, but Riley remained agitated all night. He kept pacing to the front door and barking. I would let him out and he would just stand on the front porch and look out into the yard. He didn’t dig into the burrow of the groundhog or anything. He was just agitated and couldn’t settle down.

Ugh… they killed a groundhog

Last year a groundhog dug under the concrete pad of the front porch and built
a nest.  We put a Have-a-heart trap out and caught it and then took it a few
miles away and let it free.  This year another groundhog took up residence in
the same hole.  The hole was rather obvious and I put a rock over it to see if
he was really active.  The bugger pushed the rock away and dug another path.

Every time I take the dogs out in the front yard, Riley follows the scent but
has never seen it.

Well, today that all changed.  We went outside to play and Riley started
sniffing around.  Apparently the groundhog had not made it back to its hole in
time and was stuck behind a bush.  Riley flushed it out and chased it around the
side of the house by the garage.  Kira and Remy took off after Riley and Bones
soon followed.  By the time I got around the side of the house they were all
sniffing around the cedar bushes at the top of the driveway.  I ran back in the
house to get some shoes on and came back out just in time to see a small rabbit
run from the bushes.  Bones took off after the rabbit but the other 3 dogs kept
circling the bushes.  They were remarkably coordinated in their circling of the
bushes.  They barked and nipped while circling.

All of a sudden the groundhog darted out toward the apple trees in the
orchard and all 3 dogs took off after it.  Riley caught up quickly and nipped at
it on the butt.  He flipped it into the air and it stopped.  I ran in the garage
to get something to catch the groundhog so that they wouldn’t kill it.  I
grabbed a glove and a trashcan and came out of the garage in time to see the
groundhog playing dead.  I laid there while the 3 dogs circled in a frenzy of
barks.  I just laid there on its back.  Riley darted in and nipped at it and it
flipped over and stood up.  It made a squealing sound and tried to dart off.

Remy jumped at it and it fell back on its back motionless.  Kira got close and
it jumped back up, squealed and tried to run again.  This repeated while I was
running toward it but before I could get there, one of the dogs must have made
contact and hurt it.  Then another dog grabbed it and shook it.  Then another
grabbed and shook.  When I got there they were all still circling and it was
laying motionless on its side.  I shut the dogs up but Riley was in a frenzy.
With the glove on my hand, I picked it up by by the scruff.  It was completely
limp and motionless.  The dogs were leaping into the air to try to take it from
me.  As I carried it along, it must have been alive because at some point it’s
bladder gave way and it peed. It never moved the entire time I was carrying it.

I went to the back field and tossed it over the fence.  The vultures will
quickly find it and take it away.

I got all of the dogs back inside the house and checked them to see if any
had been bitten.  None had as best I could tell.  I kept them inside but Riley
was frantic to get back outside.  I kept him inside and locked the doggy door so
that they could not get to the fence or to the back field before the birds go

Our first adoption day without Riley

We did not take Riley to the HART adoption event today since he is due to go to his
forever home on Monday.  I handled a dog named Beane and then a dog named
Bubba for a short period of time while Charlie was doing interviews.  Mike
had the pleasure of holding Cassandra…yea, that was sarcasm.

Beane is just a wonderful dog to hold.  9 months old and fun to play
with.  He is very light so it was easy to control him.  Within
minutes of taking Beane I had two people wanting to fill out applications for
him.  I got Charlie to start the interviews for an applicant so I held
Bubba.  Bubba is a Pomeranian and is the cutest thing I have seen in a
long time.  I just love small dogs but Mike thinks they are food for his
dog.  So, the little dogs can’t be in the house without Bones (Mike’s dog)
being caged.  Anyhow, within minutes of holding Bubba, we had 3 people
wanting to fill out applications.  I interviewed one person while Sandy started another

It was great to see so many people interested in adopting dogs. 
Everyone said that they were interested in HART because they wanted to adopt rather than buy a puppy.

After the event, we headed home, stopped over at some folks house that had
been vandalized and helped clean up some trees that the vandals had cut
down.  We loaded the truck up with as much as we could carry and we
brought them home for the burn pile. 

Mike’s view of Riley

Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2006 5:53 PM
Subject: Riley – did I miss anything?

Some things we have noticed in the 6+ months we have had him.  He’s got a lot of positives and is a great dog. The below list is focused more on things to watch for.

  • The first two weeks he kept his tail tucked.  Now he prances around with it wagging high.
  • The first week in addition to fighting with Bones (which was mutual) he also ‘went after’ Kira and Remy.  But I should stress this was a dominance thing and he DID NOT hurt them.  It sounded vicious and he could have hurt them when he grabbed their ear but it was just wet, not even pinched (completely different than when he and Bones fights).  He did this when he thought they were stealing away attention.  He stopped this rather quickly, just be prepared for it.  We didn’t tolerate the behavior at all and reprimanded him for it.
  • He can be sensitive on his back or back hind leg.  We’ve had the vet look at it, they say it is okay.  We have not seen it get worse or effect his ability to walk or run.  But sometimes (rarely) when he gets up (especially in the back seat of the car) he cries.  Just be aware of this and early on (until he trusts you) he may mis-interpret his leg hurting as to YOU hurting him and that might prompt him to bite.  Scott flips him over onto his back resting on Scott’s lap, just be a bit careful if you try that and maybe wait a little while before doing so and definitely tell your kids to be careful if they try that.
  • He has never been aggressive at the door to strangers or guests.  (But still keep an eye on him, especially with kids that might not be able to read him or might get ‘in his face’ right off the bat.).  He does not jump up on people.  He will paw you when he wants to be pet however.  Mostly he just likes his head pet.
  • He is not particularly food aggressive.  We make him sit before feeding him.  I have been able to take away and give back the food bowl, just be wary if you try this and wait a while until he is comfortable.  He does not like he back pet, or you coming up from behind when he is eating.  We feed him twice a day, dry food, either Iams or Science diet.
  • He tends to ‘poo’ twice in the morning.  I only bring this up as if you walk him where you need to pick up, bring two bags so you don’t get annoyed when this happens.  Usually he only goes once in the evening.
  • We have been walking him twice a day, off leash (but we did not start doing that for 2 months), about 3/4th mi round trip along a dirt road.  Sometimes he is ‘quirky’ about going out and he just won’t go unless you put him on a leash.  That is especially true when trying to just let him out to pee before bed.  If you open the door and he heads the other way, get a leash, then he is happy as a clam to walk out with you.
  • He is afraid of thunderstorms and can hear them way before you can.  He usually settles down in his kennel (otherwise he paces around) but not for the bad storms.  We’ve sat with him.
  • He has never chewed anything up that we know of.  He will scratch at doors to go in/out however, mostly to come in.  He will chew on hard bones, he tends to ignore toys/balls, but sometimes will play with a soft squeaky toy.  He doesn’t play fetch, but he may still learn to.
  • He takes a bath pretty well, he just stands there. We’ve never tried taking him to a lake so we are not sure if he likes to swim or not.
  • We have had to keep him separate from Bones during they day, so, unfortunately, he has been in the crate during the day (usually from ~9:30 am to 6 pm) 4 days a week.
  • He either sleeps in his crate (with the door open) or in a dog bed.  We’ve not let him sleep on the bed and, unlike the other dogs, he does not get up on the couch, but probably would if you encourage him to do so.
  • He rides well (as in he does not get car sick) but he is a bit active and only settles down when he is rather tired.
  • He has never run away on us, but we kept him on a leash (or in a fenced yard) for a good two months.  We’ve never left him outside unattended, outside the fenced area.  On off leash walks, he usually beats me back to the house (by maybe 50 yards or so) and waits at the door.
  • He did pee in the house a few times until he figured out where outside was and got used to our schedule.  In addition to the two walks we let him out in the evenings and before bedtime.  He also eventually learned (but it took a while) that he could go out the dog door.

One last fight…. hopefully

It was quite the cheery morning today when Bones wandered into the bedroom where Riley was sleeping. The gate wasn’t closed and Riley and Bones got to close to each other. It started with snarling for a few seconds and all of a sudden I here comes Mikey tackling Riley. Bones and Riley barely got to each other before Mike appeared. By the time I got there, Bones was just standing there staring at Mikey who was laying on top of Riley to keep them apart. I repremanded Riley and put him in his crate then we started checking for damage. Neither dog got hurt. Riley had a scratch on his cheek. Mike was the one that was hurt the most as he hurt his leg in the mad dash to tackle Riley. He also has a bruise on his arm which looks like one of the dogs connected with his arm in the tackle.

Everyone is fine and this was really quite minor compared to some previous skirmishes. But, we are upset that we had a lapse in security in the house just 4 days before Riley goes to his new home for possible adoption.

Someone to help for the home visit

I was able to make contact with Nancy who has done a home visit and who offered to help with Riley’s if there wasn’t anyone else to do it.  She is working in Arlington on Monday the 21st but said that she can probably make it to Winchester by 7pm.  I offered for her to ride with me if it helps shorten the trip as she could just drive to Middleburg and then we would ride together.

She will be at the adoption event on Saturday and we will finalize the details.

More History of Remy and Riley

While at the adoption event, Gale told me the story of Remy and Riley and forwarded an email of them to me from when they first came to HART.  I had thought all along that they were in the group that was rescued in the big trip down to New Orleans.  But, it turns out that Remy and Riley were the very first dogs to be rescued in Mississippi after the storm.  The pictures of the dogs are just so amazingly different from the dogs that we know.  Both look like skeletons and Remy is drooling feverishly.  As I noted in a previous post, Remy drools like crazy if he is locked in a cage or confined to a small area.  Sandy told me that Riley is a completely different dog now that he has been in our home.  She said that when they arrived, they were so scared that they just shook all the time and were scared of everyone.  That explains why everyone is so surprised when they see me handling Riley like a baby and how much he seems to adore me.

Here is the email that brought them to Virginia:

Sent: Tue 9/6/2005 7:15 PM
Subject: 2 Hurricane Katrina
Got a call
from the Culpeper shelter today.  There was a guy there with 2 dogs that he had
rescued from Mississippi.  He had gone down there to help his sister & her
family relocate because they lost their house, etc.  He brought down tons of
supplies for the neighbors & their kids and said the gas alone to & from
was sky high & in some places, very scarce.  While there, he heard a noise
at 5 in the morning & thought it was someone trying to siphen gas from his
truck (seems that’s been happening a lot).  Turns out, it was the yellow lab
trying to get water & his dalmatian friend watching guard.  They didn’t find
the owners, but neither dog had collars and both were full of fleas & ticks
and neither are neutered.  He brought them back up here & took them to the
vet – the dal is heartworm positive.  The dal gets very nervous when he doesn’t
have his buddy with him, so they might need to find a home together.  The guy
said that he took the yellow lab into his sister’s yard, but the dal didn’t want
to come – he did stay outside of the yard barking for his friend.  They
eventually got him into the yard & then he was happy.  The guy is very
overwhelmed with the 2 new dogs, his dog & cat, his job, pregnant wife,
etc.  He didn’t know what to do with them, especially since the one is heartworm
positive.  The shelter was no help to him, but they called me & so now, here
are the 2 new residents!  So far, they are just so very nervous, but very sweet
& good with other dogs.  The dal will be going to the vet shortly to start
treatment – I will get him on the Special Needs page of the web site so we can
get some donations & maybe a home for both!





Got a bite

The family that applied for Riley for adoption came to the adoption event today.  They are a great couple and they already have a dog that looks very much like Riley.  Their dog is 7 years old and is a female so I know there will not be any problems with aggression or alpha-dog posturing.  They also have a 14 pound cat.  The cat is the only one that I would worry about but I don’t think Riley will do anything to the cat.  They live in Winchester and saw Riley at the Ice Cream fund raiser.  The gentleman was one of the firefighters that came over.

I did about 45 minutes of interview with them going over how he behaved and the basics.  Then Sandy did about 45 minutes with them.  We both thought that they would make a great home for Riley and I had no reservations.  We have arranged to do the home inspection in which Riley is introduced to their house and their dog, cat, and children. 

Personally, I am really excited that a family that has the perfect conditions for Riley is interested in him.  On the other hand, I am sad at the thought that Riley will not be with me any longer.  Now that Bones is being better with him, it feels a little odd to be giving him up.  But, no matter what, we all have to keep in mind that the purpose of fostering Riley all this time was to give him a chance to learn to live in a home with a family and readapt to society after Katrina.  To find a perfect home for him is the best that I could every want or ask for. 

Got a nibble

We got a message from Charlie last night that there is a family in Winchester that is interested in Riley.  They said on the application “Love at first site” being the reason they chose Riley.  They also mentioned that they saw him at one of the HART events.  So, that must have either been a weekend adoption event or the Ice Cream fund raiser from Wednesday.  

Mike is going to be with friends this weekend so I will take Riley in for the adoption event on Saturday.  If all goes well, we will schedule a home visit for the family.  It is also a good friend’s birthday on Saturday and I had planned to go into town to celebrate with him.  He is playing with his band at Freddies in Arlington that evening and we were all going to go down and cheer him on.  Hopefully I will still make it into town for that.

My fingers are crossed, and I am a little sad.

Ice Cream

HART sponsored an
Ice Cream fund raiser for the organization in Fairfax at 6pm.  Mike
took Riley to work today and will leave directly from work for the
event in Fairfax.  It is about a 45 minute drive from where he works. 

I left work at 5pm to get there early enough to assist.  Traffic was pretty bad so I just barely made it on time.

The Mayor of Fairfax City was there and it turns out he owns the place that was hosting the event.  He and his wife were gracious and provided “all you can eat” ice cream to anyone that donated $20 to HART.  Riley behaved himself well and all of the little kids came up and hugged on him and pet him.  The Mayor called the local fire department and they all came over to see Riley.  Very nice folks who had actually gone down to Gulf Port to help after Katrina hit.  They all loved Riley but he can’t be adopted by a firehouse.  One fellow seemed very interested in Riley and asked about what it takes to adopt a dog.  Lots of other folks inquired about Riley and he was showing really well.

Mike said that Riley slept soundly all the way home and when we got home he was growly with the other dogs.  He went straight to his bed and went to sleep.  It was a long day and evening for the little pooch.

Summer Storms are scary!

At about 3am Riley bolted out of his crate beside the bed and started whimpering.  He paced all around the bedroom running in a horse-shoe shaped pattern in the room.  When he would get to the side of the room near the windows he would put his front paws on the bed and scratch at me.  I’ve seen this behavior before and it always preceedes a big thunder storm.  He is scared to death of thunder storms.

At around 3:20am, Remy jumped into the bed and laid down on top of me shivering.  Riley took a dive under the bed and burrowed as far back under the night table as he could.  He continued to whimper and shuffle about.  Kaboom!  Huge thunder clap outside the house accompanied by a bolt of lightening.  It was close enough that all of the UPSs in the house alarmed for an EMS pulse.  Riley came flying out from under the bed and started scratching furiously on the side of the bed.  Kaboom!  Another huge thunder clap and the outside lit up like it was daylight.  I couldn’t see the actual lightening bolt so it must have been on the other side of the house.  Rain started coming down so hard that you could hear it overflowing the gutters as it came off the roof.

Kira remained calm on the bed by my feet and didn’t even whimper.  Remy was shaking and was nervously looking out the window.  I put my arm over him and pet him.  He calmed down.  Riley was getting more agitated as the rain grew louder and the thunder grew more frequent.  I heard Bones stir and he started clawing at his gate.  I heard Mike get up and comfort him.  I got up and put Riley in the bed with me and tried to comfort him.  He was shivering and whining.  I tried to cradle him then tried to get him to lie down, but he wouldn’t have any part of that.  He sat on the bed beside me staring intently out the window.  Every time a flash of lightening would light up the room he would jump and shiver more.  I forced him to lie down and tried to cover his eyes, and he capitulated for a while but then stood up again.  I think it was too much activity on the bed for Kira.  She hopped off the bed and laid down by the night stand while the other two dogs stayed on the bed with me. 

The storm lasted for about an hour with intermittent periods of very hard rain, thunder, and lightening.  Riley shivered the entire time and I didn’t hear Bones or Mike moving around.  At about 5am all was calm.  Riley hopped off the bed and went to sleep in his crate.  Kira hopped back on the bed, and Remy curled up at the foot of the bed.  Remy is not normally allowed to sleep on my bed.

At about 8am I heard Mike moving around and he took all of the dogs outside and then fed them.  He said he slept in Bones’ room to keep him calm.  Kira is the only one that seemed to not care at all about the storm.

Riley and Bones making progress

Riley and Bones may be getting accustomed to one another.  I have been occasionally letting Riley in the main part of the house without the gates up while Bones is in the house.  They seem to watch each other like they don’t trust each other but they don’t growl.  When Mike is home though, Bones is more aggressive and this little exercise doesn’t work.

Today, by accident, Mike forgot to put up the gate to my office and Bones came into my office while Riley was in.  Note that my office is where Riley sleeps all the time.  So, this could have been a bad thing.  Riley’s hair stood up and he paced in the room while Bones was in here but did not growl.  As Bones turned to leave, Riley mirrored his movements from about 4 feet away and I growled “R I L E Y”.  Riley then turned and came to me and his fur laid down.

John doesn’t show

Well, John never showed at the adoption event. It was super humid and about 95 degrees in the shade. Man was it hot. The dogs were so hot that they just laid down and did nothing. Cassandra was particularly nasty today and snapped at every dog that came near her.

John may be interested in Riley

I got an email back from John asking where we would have Riley and I told him about the Greenbrier shopping center where we take him every weekend. I provided directions and told him that we would be there from noon till 3pm.

Interest in Riley again

I got a message from Charlie of HART that there was someone that was interested in Riley.  Charlie forwarded the man’s email to me so I responded with the following information.

Sent: Tuesday, July 25, 2006 10:29 PM
Subject: RE: HART Web – Riley


We are the foster home for Riley and would be happy to talk with you about him.  I am at customer sites for work all day tomorrow and Thursday but could talk on Friday.  Mike ( may be able to talk sooner.  We will have Riley at the Greenbrier adoption event this coming weekend if you would like to look at him up-close. 

We have been fostering Riley for about 6 months now and he is an affectionate dog.  When he first arrived in our care he had been recently neutered and had taken a long trip from Louisiana to here.  He was nervous and aggressive in the household.  I disciplined him by putting him on his back regularly and he decided that I was king of the house.  Now he follows me around like a puppy and show no aggressive tendencies.  He gets along great with most of our dogs, but we have a old Brown Lab that hates him and snarls every chance he gets.  Riley gets along great with the dogs at the adoption events. 

He is fully house trained and very chatty.  When he can’t see me or can’t get to me, he talks.  Not quite a bark, but a sound that lets us know that he isn’t happy with the situation.  He prances around quite a bit when happy and has even learned to steal the ball.  He fetches it but won’t give it back yet.  He is learning.  We have taught him “sit”, “stay”, and “paw” but that is about as far as we have gotten to date. 

On his negatives, Riley is an insecure dog and he needs attention.  He is scared to death of thunder and lightening and cowers under you whenever a storm is coming.  While he doesn’t have any ongoing medical issues, he appears to have been hit by a car or some major injury as he is missing his teeth on his top right side and he has a bad scar on his rear right knee.  He runs just fine and eats just fine so it does not appear to affect him.

Overall, Riley is a great dog.  Happy, chatty, and a great companion.  We originally intended to adopt him but the aggression between brown dog and he has not gotten any better in 6 months. 

Write us if you would like to set up some time to talk.  Mike and I both work during the day but can arrange time to talk on the phone. 

Thanks for your interest,

No adoption for Riley

One family didn’t show up to the adoption event and the other took Riley for a walk and then decided that he pulled too much. So, the adoption never happened. Riley has become very attached to me and follows me around like a puppy. When Mike takes all of the dogs for an evening walk, Riley looks for me and if I am not going, he runs back to the house and claws at the door. He then just stays with me. If I go for a walk with them, he is happy as a clam. So, Mike has to always walk him on a leash until he gets out of sight of the house.

Interest in Riley

We have been going to the adoption events with Riley every weekend except when it rains and have had no interest and no applications. But this weekend there were 2 families that filled out paperwork for Riley. They looked at many other dogs and are going to get the interviews done and make a decision this coming weekend.

Should we adopt Riley?

It will be hard on him to go back to a kennel and then back out for adoption, but it is hard on us given the current  situation.  I can make sure they don’t ‘tangle’ again as I’ve given up on them ever getting along.

He is better off confined to a cage during the day at our house than he would be in a kennel.  We just have to be more vigilant about him getting near bones.  I don’t think it is appropriate to ask HART to take him back immediately considering that we knew that there were two of them from the start.

2 to 3 months is doable…indefinite is doable, but it will have its toll on us and the dogs.  But, I am OK with dealing with this.

A message from Charlene

Sent: Friday, March 10, 2006 11:16 PM
Subject: Re: Vet trip for
Hi Scott,
I was out of town visiting my family and am just seeing this message
Thanks as always for the update and the details.
I feel that the two of them can be separated. It’s clear from just what I
saw that Remy doesnt need Riley  and I do think that Riley would be ok without Remy as well (that’s a little less clear)
Did you call the vet back about the worms. I think the only worms you can really see is tape worm and he will need another drug to take care of tape worms — they look like pieces of rice.
I really wish this could work out but you have both been so great.
Take care and I will wait to hear back from you.

Riley’s soft serve poo

Riley’s poo was back to soft serve and I didn’t see any worms.  Bones attacked Remy this morning but Riley didn’t go ballistic.  Riley had the shock collar on while in the crate and he didn’t snarl at bones at all while in the crate.  When I brought them back in, Bones took off upstairs and I thought he was in the bedroom.  So, I let the dogs loose in the house.  I turned the corner to find bones and riley within 2 feet of each other, but neither was fighting.  I grabbed Riley and shoved him in the basement and then Bones’ hair stood up.

Argh… pissed in the basement

Damn dog!  Pissed in the basement!  I went down there to play pool and he pissed at the bottom of the stairs.  Damn dog!  I shoved his ass out the doggy door and then sounded the tone every time he clawed at the door.  He fully gets that the tone results in shock and immediately ran away from the door without a shock.

Stupid dog.  Shits in the house.  Pisses in the house.  And they shreaded the boxes in the basement.  Man…if I didn’t have anger management issues before, I sure do now.  I think I need to go back on the other crazy pills.  I slept a lot more and didn’t care an awful lot!

Riley is getting better

We had a good number of days with Riley.  He has stopped being aggressive with me.  When we take them on their walks, I take Riley and keep him on a short leash.  We also keep him sequestered in my office with me every night and let Bones run free in the house.  That really means that Bones sleeps under Mike’s feet in Mike’s office.  Remy has pretty much joined the pack with Kira and Bones and the three of them play in the back yard and in the house.  Riley, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to know how to play.  When Kira gets in his face to lick him or drops her front and barks at him like she does when playing with Remy and Bones, Riley gets all upset and snarls at her and goes into attack mode.  

Oddly, now, if we gate the upstairs so that Mike is in his office with Bones and the other three are free in the house, and I am downstairs, Remy and Kira will be downstairs with me and Riley will just sleep in his bed.  He doesn’t seem to have much interest in just hanging out with me.  But, if he has the option to be with Mike, he will follow Mike around like a puppy.

While Riley has become less aggressive with me, he has become more aggressive toward Bones.  Over this past weekend, we graduated them to sleeping in the master bedroom rather than locking them in my office.  We lock Riley in a crate beside the bed.  Remy sleeps in a doggy bed on the floor by the door.  And Kira sleeps on the bed.  Every couple of hours Bones will come out of his bedroom and make the rounds through the house and the yard.  Kira does the same thing just patrolling the property and then coming back in.  Every time Bones gets up Riley just goes ballistic in his cage with the nastiest commotion of snarls and barks.  No matter how much he gets fussed at or slapping the crate, he won’t stop as long as Bones is in site.  When he is in the crate, Bones seems to know he is harmless so he just looks at him and wanders about.  

We are certainly ready to adopt Remy permanently, but I still have concerns over Riley.  If they are adoptable only as a pair, I would like to hold off and make judgment in a few more weeks.  If we cannot get Riley and Bones to live in harmony, we have a problem since I don’t think it is fair to Riley to put him in a crate when we are away from the house and to keep him in a crate at night.  He is a reasonably good dog and is very affectionate.  He is terribly insecure and just wants someone in the house with him all the time.  He doesn’t want to necessarily be pet all the time, but he seems to just want to have someone around.  Remy has gotten over being scared of sticks but Riley is still very skittish.

Well, that is the update for now.  Mike is out of town Monday and Tuesday so we will see how it goes managing all of the dogs by myself.  🙂

Riley goes to the vet

We were able to get a short notice Vet appointment for Riley.  They checked out his leg and recognized his HART tag so they knew he was a foster dog.  We had the paperwork for all of his treatments but the Vet wouldn’t perscribe heart-worm medication or anything for Riley’s worms without calling HART.  The got hold of someone who authorized the Vet to treat Riley and so we got pills for him. 

We had his blood checked for Lime, something that started with an E (Ehrlickia?), and heart worms.  He was free of all 3.  So, we got him some arthritis pills to see if that would help his back hips.  They didn’t do a thing for him.  We also started them on heartworm pills… Interceptor, like Bones and Kira have.  Oddly, after taking the pill, Riley had worms in his poo.  Remy doesn’t have any, and Kira and Bones have not had them either.  So, it appears to be localized to Riley.  The first poo after the pills was quite full of worms and it has tapered off over the past 48 hours.  We also had them weighed.  We were quite surprised that Remy weighs 67 pounds.  He looks so much lighter and has such a thin chest that we thought he was less than 50 pounds.  Kira weighs 71 pounds and feels so much heavier when I pick her up (versus picking up Remy).  Riley weighs 55 pounds. 

Will a shock collar work?

I went to PetSmart and bought a shock collar for Riley.  Since the Muzzles don’t work, maybe we can use the shock collar to stop him from fighting with Bones.  I got one that has varying levels and a tone before the shock.  We brought it home and tried it out on our arms.  At level 1 you don’t feel anything.  At level 2, you feel a tingling.  At level 3 you go ouch.  At level 4 you have a reflex and jerk away from the unit.

Riley has worms

I am in the basement playing pool and have Remy, Riley, and Kira in the basement with me.  I smell poo and walk around to the other side of the table to see Riley pooping in the middle of the basement.  Ugh.  I can’t throw him out the door because he might run away, so I yell at him, he growls at me, I yell more, he growls and snaps, I yell more and grab him by the collar, drag him into the bathroom, and lock him in his crate. 

Ugh…time to clean it up…man, this dog is full of worms!!!  Time for some worm treatment.

Riley, the muzzle, and friends for pool

We had another good day with Riley!  Had friends over to play pool last night.  He wore the muzzle for about an hour till he met everyone and then got to take it off.  Bones was locked in the bedroom so that wouldn’t be an issue.  All dogs met everyone and got along just great.  At about 9:00, Riley disappeared and he was found sleeping in his bed.  Remy stayed with people till about 10 when he went upstairs and went to sleep.  We locked the gate on their room and let Bones out.  

To back up a little, Saturday morning we got out all of the tools and strung the electric fence down the new part of the wooden fence.  We turned it on and checked for any grounded points and found a few (it hasn’t been on in a few years).  So far, Riley is the only one that has touched it.  It is the smallest voltage fence we could get but it still made Riley run away from the fence.  If Riley is like Bones, he will get zorched one or two more times before he figures out what is causing it.  After that, he may stay 6 feet away from the fence like Kira and Bones do.  (BTW…Kira figured it out on the first jolt…she is a smart dog.   🙂  )

Forward to Sunday morning.  I locked Bones in with Mike and fed all the dogs.  Riley doesn’t understand what a dog door is.  I can open it and he doesn’t even put his nose through it.  Remy figured it out really quick and this morning he took himself out, did his jobs, and then came back in.  We are watching them as they go out to make sure that the fence is effective.  I’ve touched it myself and it is a pretty good jolt.  Made me stay away from the fence…and like Kira, I figured it out the first time too.  🙂

Can we drug Riley to calm him?

We got a message from Charlene about the muzzle and possibly how to calm Riley down.

Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2006 8:33 AM
Subject: Re: Remy and Riley
HI Scott — THANK YOU for writing!  I appreciate these updates more than you know.
I had not thought about the muzzle but that seems to be helping.
Also, this is probably not going to help all that much but anything is
worth a try.  The next time you go to Fresh Fields/whole foods, or any health store, pick up a bottle of Rescue Remedy.  It’s all natural and can be used for people or animals. My neigbhor 20 years ago recommended it as she used it eaach time she got a new cat.  I know a lot of people who use it when introducing new dogs or cats. I am not sure it has helped with my own dogs but I can tell you on the occassions I have used it myself it really helps — it’s calming and takes the edge off when I am anxious. Others say it does that for their dogs.
Give it to Riley and I would probably give it to Bones and Kira as
well.  In Riley’s case I would use about 10 to 12 drop a day in his food.  It’s made with essense of flowers so if nothing else he will smell good :-)only kidding about that part but again, anything is worth a try. It
may just help a bit with his rough edges.
I will be at the adoption event all day today.
Thinking of your all —