The Life of Riley

Posted by Nerilie Watson on 5 July 2012 | 4 Comments


We had not had a dog for just over a year since our dearly loved Jedda had died the previous June. By the time we felt we were ready to start again, one of our cats was declining with kidney failure and we didn’t want to inflict a pup on her while she wasn’t well. Sooty cat finally passed on about three weeks ago and we all felt the time was right to give a dog a good home.


So last weekend we visited the Dog Refuge to see if anyone there was willing to come home with us. Riley was a stand out from the start with his gentle and loving nature. We had always had female dogs and assumed that the next one would be too, but Riley was such a lovely dog that we decided it didn’t matter. All three of us who went to the Refuge last weekend individually loved him at first sight so we decided to adopt him straight away and stopped looking at other dogs. Riley has been a part of our lives for a week now and we are amazed at how easily and well he has settled in. Even from the outset he has been easy, taking the ride home in his stride and being so quiet and well behaved that we almost forgot he was in the car until he sneezed.

Naming our new friend caused some family debate, but everyone like the name “Riley” that he was given in the refuge. We figured that he would live the life of Riley now, so we would stay with that name.



He started by exploring the yard and all the new smells and sights. Some of the sounds startled him like the myriad small aircraft flying over and he barked at them but was reassured and now isn’t bothered by them. Although he didn’t really like it, he was very well behaved when bathed and definitely loved the towelling dry and run around afterwards. Before his first 24 hours in his new home were over he had already begun to be protective by barking at the neighbours early next morning when they dared put on their houselights. After being reassured they were allowed to do that he went back to sleep and the next morning only gave a few woofs when the neighbours woke. He even learned to chase a ball and bring it back within his first day of adoption.

Riley is excellent to train and quick to learn. Almost as soon as he went into the yard, he chose his spot for toileting and is amazing. After a week we haven’t had an accident inside. If he won’t settle we take him outside and he straightaway does what he needs to and comes back inside. He learned his name in a couple of days and even comes to it when called in the park (Well, most of the time anyway. Sometimes he is just too busy playing) and is getting better at learning to sit and walking on the lead. Riley loves going to the huge park nearby and interacting with other dogs. He is very social and loves the company of people and dogs alike but does tend to want to round up the other dogs in the park. He was somewhat confused the other day when a few of them chased him instead. He is learning to play and just loves life.


Riley is being very patient with our cat Tommy, who is nearly 14 and was enjoying a dog free household after Jedda died. He has realized that Riley is here to stay and is part of the family and is gradually getting braver but not yet willing to meet too closely.

Yesterday when Tommy appeared suddenly in the kitchen (not realizing Riley was inside) and then bolted in fright, Riley gave chase and amazingly stopped when told to and let the cat escape to sanctuary under the nearest bed. Riley is being very good but doesn’t really understand Tommy’s reluctance to play and cuddle. It will take a bit longer but we are confident that Tommy will accept Riley.

Riley has learned and done a lot in a short time and we are sure he will continue to do so. We haven’t told him yet, but in the warmer weather we go canoeing and our previous dogs have enjoyed coming with us, so we look forward to introducing Riley to it too.

Thanks for letting Riley come to live with us.

Graeme, Olwyn, Taryn, Murray and (reluctantly for a while longer) Tommy  

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  • I agree ... it's a really good name for a very fortunate dog. Thanks for telling us how he is going.

    Posted by Linda, 20/07/2012 8:44pm (6 years ago)

  • Such a lovely family. Riley is certainly one of the lucky ones. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Posted by Belinda, 17/07/2012 12:32pm (6 years ago)

  • Thankyou for your story as I am thinking of adopting a dog from shenton park as a lost my beautiful dog recently.

    Posted by Karleen Green, 17/07/2012 10:24am (6 years ago)

  • My goodness, how very fortunate is Riley. He has an amazing new life with the most loving family he could ever wish for. Thank you for changing this boy's world.

    Posted by Jackie, 11/07/2012 5:59pm (6 years ago)

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