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Tripawd Tuesday: Rompin’ with Riley Red Dog

It’s Tripawd Tuesday everypawdy! What better day than to pay tribute to our beautiful Tripawd Angels who are watching over all of us, like Riley Gilmore Rubin.

Tripawd, three-legged, golden retriever, swimming
Riley Red Dog Tripawd

His beautiful life story was sent to us by Wayne and Reneé Rubin of Carnation, Washington. This really shows the love and special one-of-a-kind bond Wayne and Renee had for Riley through his entire life. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did.

My official given name is Riley Gilmore Rubin. My pawrents Wayn & Reneé (or Paw & Maw) named me that because they knew I’d have the “Life of Riley” and Gilmore because a friend of theirs could see I am such a happy dog! I’ve been told I smile a lot. However, along the course of my life I’ve had many, many nick-names…of which I will do my best to name:

Riley, Red Dog, RED, Rolly Rolston, Silly, Stinky, Silly-stink, Sill, Dick Head, Dick, Richard Dickson, Red-man, Ri, Christmas Card Face, and many more…..

I was born on September 10th, 2003 in a litter of 14 pups. I made sure I stood out above all the rest. I had a thing for wanting to be around people. Way more interesting to me than other dogs. So when they picked ME, I knew I was in for a GOOD LIFE! I was betting on getting everything I wanted ~ food, love, food, gentle touches, food, travel, food, adventure, food, exercise, food …. well, you get where I’m going with that.

I’m SO glad my pawrents picked me – so glad that I’d even give them group hugs! I also promised them that no matter what, I’d be the BEST dog they ever had!

My pawrents knew how smart I was, because I skipped past going to puppy school and went straight to Canine College. Of course I passed with flying colors! It was all so easy. I also let them know that I was too good of a dog to be crate trained. They tried, but I let them know it REALLY wasn’t for me. I’m just like them, only in a dog-body.

I have gone pretty much everywhere with them. They figured because I was so much like them, they’d bring me to their work every day. There was an already established family “shop dog” there. His name was BUDDY. Everyone called him BUD. From what I could tell, no body messed with him. He had a way of letting strangers know not to mess with him. He had really kool bark, and because he was such an influence on my puppy-hood, I did my best to emulate him. He wasn’t that tuff with me, though. I’d get him to move over and share his bed with me. He was much older than me which was good because he taught me a lot.

Then a few years later, I was able to be a mentor to a new member of the family, COOPER. We’ve been great pals. We both share a bond – afraid of those big booms outside in July. I don’t understand where they come from or why, but between me and Coop-dog, we hang together the best we can. We’re neighbors so we’ve always seen each other often.

Tripawd, three-legged, amputee, dog, Riley, Golden Retriever
Riley as a puppy

My first winter with my pawrents, this crazy white fluffy stuff fell from the sky and was everywhere outside. I was completely amazed! As soon as I would put in my mouth, it’d disappear! I started figuring out there’s a lot I’m not going to understand. What I did know, is I loved laying in it. I’d find my own patch of the white stuff outside and call it mine. Ahhhh, it felt good!

The wet stuff would make me fall down sometimes. I’d run so fast that when I went to go around the corner out of the house, the wet stuff on the floor would make me slip and face plant. Oh well, I would get up and continue on my mission….impressing my pawrents! If they were busy, I’d wait on the beach just below the bulkhead and only show my eyes (WILSON) of determination, patiently waiting for them to launch me something so I can go get it for them. I even became a master diver. I at times have selected rocks the size of my head to go under the wet stuff for, so I could show and impress my ‘rents (pawrents).

My first spring with them, we were taking a nice long walk along the beach. My Paw threw something from the beach and when it hit the ground, it disappeared. I went after it (instinct, of course) and got a feeling I’d never had before and started to sink in the ground. It scared the you-know-what outa me! I was told I got really “wet”. I knew that what just happened to me wasn’t that fun, so I’d best steer clear of that stuff they called “water.” A few months later, friends of my pawrents came to visit with their CBF (Canine Best Friend). Her name was Kia. She was quite the lady. She had a quirk though, she loved that stuff they called “water”. She had an inherent gift of being a good swimming coach. Well, I guess I better change my tune….if she can go in the ground that makes you disappear, then so can I. I was hesitant at first, but I got the hang of it pretty quick. I did my best to make it look like I was a natural. Which apparently I was (after my initial shock) and wet stuff was my new FAVE!

From then on, I was a supreme athlete in the wet stuff. I would launch myself off of the dock for an oversized LOG and bring it back to land every time. I’m sure it weighed about as much as I did, but I did things to impress. That impressed them for sure! I’d even bring the wet stuff in the house.

Tripawd, three-legged, golden retriever, dog, Riley, amputee, hiking
Riley goes hiking.

I started my first job at an early age as Postmaster General. I was assigned the elite responsibility of taking the mail to the mailbox and of course after a delivery was made, carrying it back to the shop. I can’t deny, there were lots of distractions that made it tuff at times. Like our neighbors at our first shop. They would have cookies for me! How could one not be distracted by cookies!? Or, on occasion, the need to pee.

Holding the mail and peeing was multi-tasking, it was challenging….very challenging. I carried this career to our new shop, too. Not as often, but always up for duty when called upon.

My next job was an exclusive breakfast, lunch or dinner-plate dishwasher. I was never allowed for years to do this job, but the last couple years they thought I was up for the task and I impressed them. They eat really, really yummy stuff. Most all dishes were sparkly clean. However, they would still put them in what they called a dishwasher. If I was so good at it, why’d they have to clean them again? Oh well…

One thing I really liked to do was go to the bank. That place always had a treat for me and I didn’t have to do anything except poke my head out the window and smile at them. Whatever those treats were, made me drool something fierce! One time, me and Maw went through a drive-thru which apparently wasn’t the bank. I did what I always do…put my head out and smiled but I got nuthin’! Maw said it was a food-serving drive-thru and they don’t give dog-treats.

So let me get this straight, a bank gives dog treats, but some place serving food doesn’t? I don’t get it!

Throughout my life, food has been pretty important to me. I started a healthy kick a couple years ago and really went for the good stuff eating more fruits and veggies. Aside from frozen vegetables as daily treats, I found I loved a lot more food than the everyday basics. Me and my Paw’s favorite food item are PEANUTS! They rock and they’ll always be at the top of my food list. My favorite fruit is watermelon! I once snuck eating a whole bowl of watermelon when my Maw wasn’t looking. She wasn’t happy at first, but she got a good laugh from my escapades! Other food items I like: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, melon of any kind, carrots, broccoli, snap peas, corn off the cob, almonds, cereal, milk, oatmeal, yogurt and peanut butter! At work, peanut butter jars with remnants of the goods inside, would magically appear on the kitchen floor and I was one happy dog licking it ALL out!!! I could get treats any time I wanted. If someone went in to the kitchen, I’d get them to open the big white box by barking and they would get me frozen goodies.

Pretty much every day while my Maw was working, I would just bark at her and that’d get her up and in the kitchen and in to that big white box – presto, frozen peas for me!!! I was her best helper in the kitchen, too. Always ready to be her composter’r!

So many special things my Paw and I would do…One was go often up to a place called the Ranch early in the morning. Just he and I – good quality guy time. (We’d let Maw sleep in). My favorite thing to do there was to chase those darn squirs and chipmunks. Those guys would tease me bad. Pop their heads out of the wood pile, shoot back in not making it easy whatsoever to get to them. I knew all their hiding places. I was always on the move…wood pile, fire pit, piles of rocks, sniffing them out and barking incessantly showing them who’s boss! We were “outside” guys…chasing tennis balls that he would launch from this really long bendy stick called a chuck-it, go on golf cart rides, yard work, car work, as long as it was outside, I was UP or DOWN for anything!

When he’d mow the lawn, I’d strategically place my toy in his path so he’d have to stop, pick it up and throw it for me.

Tripawd, three-legged, amputee, golden retriever, amputee, dog
Tripawd Riley has a ball.

One of my other favorite places my pawrents would take me was to the ocean. That beach there was massive. I felt like a thoroughbred running like the wind chasing after whatever I had to get! There were so many yummy smelly things lying around on the beach too. I knew they must be taste-tested. They called them clam and crab shells – I called them Ri-lays’s potato chips! You can’t eat just one! When we’d camp at the beach, I’d show them my camouflage skills. While they sat at the campfire, I’d find the most inconspicuous place to lay, and they’d have to find me. I was good at that!

I was good at inventing games. I would strategically place a toy in their path creating the inevitable where they would have to pick it up and toss it for me. Or, I would lay at the top of the stairs and have them throw ball after ball to me. I played it very selectively though. It’d have to be just the right one for me to catch. The rest weren’t good enough and I’d let them bounce all the way back down the stairs. Paw always said, “no throwing balls in the house…”, but he’d always throw ‘em for me and I was crazy-fast scrambling after ‘em up and down the hall on the hardwoods!

I liked performing a few tricks I knew. A friend of my pawrents taught me to hold a ball on my nose then have to wait (wait, whatever…) and catch in my mouth. I did that too with dog treats. Food? Waiting for that wasn’t an option either. I knew the basics, sit, stay (staying was tuff though), lay down, spin around, other way, shake, and other shake. My Maw tried teaching me to roll over. I never did it on command, but I could do it and boy-howdy it felt great! I was pretty sneaky about burying my bones in the house, too.

Our couch was a perfect hiding place right underneath the cushions and pillows. I never figured out how my pawrents would find them again, though! See, stuff I don’t understand.

I’ve always been a good boy never to tear anything up that I wasn’t supposed to. However, I firmly believe that stuffed animals are filled with puppy-nip and need to be shredded, ESPECIALLY if there’s something squeaky inside. I can say mission accomplished for every stuffy I’ve been given – complete shred! Pine cones needed de-pining, tennis balls needed de-fuzzing, and sticks needed de-barking. My list of mad-dog skillz are endless!

There were only a couple things that were on my don’t-care-for list: getting a haircut and a bath. Neither of which were really that bad, I just acted like it. I would hide at the sight of the clippers being brought out. Because honestly, after getting both a haircut and bath, I’d feel amazing and roll around on the nearest carpet or grass and feel rejuvenated! And, the two things on my scary-list: 5 gallon water jugs and cardboard boxes! I know, freeky scary huh? Maw always had a place under her desk for me to hide if those came in to sight!

My pawrents and I were adventurous. Going for a WALK on the trails made me almost bust with excitement! I’d go a little crazy when I heard the word “walk”, spinning around and barking! I put way more many miles on those trails then they did. They only walked the trail once and I’d walk the trail at least 2-3 times more than they did. I’d run ahead and check things out first, then run back, then have to run ahead and check things out and then run back. See, I knew that’d impress them. We even did Mt. Si a couple times. That was a tuff trail, but I made it to the top for sure! We used to go to Magnuson Park and run in their monthly 5K runs. That was big time kool to me. Lots of folks for me to check out plus you never know when you might see a cute girl dog. (I’m a softie for the ladies!) Every year around St. Patrick’s Day, my pawrents thought it was a good idea to dress me up and take me in a parade with them. It was an annual parade for dogs, however I only wanted to impress all the people watching me march down the street (and the girl dogs). And let me tell you, I was impressive!

Speaking of the ladies, two women that’ll have my heart forever….Kia’s little sisters, Kona and Kina. I had my eye on Kona, but I wasn’t her style. Her sister Kina was my gal! We were both fixed, so we weren’t able to have puppies of our own. Boy, they would have been cute!

Tripawd, three-legged, Golden, dog, amputee, Tripod
Riley Red Dog Golden Retriever

I’ve always been a good protector of my family, too. My big bark has served me well over the years. I’ve made a number of humans pretty nervous with my big bark and big tail! I’ve done a good job letting intruders of my yard know whether they’re welcome or not, too. Just last week, I let a bear know he wasn’t welcome in my yard. My Maw came outside to see why my bark was so ferocious and I had that bear just where I wanted him. She brought me back in the house, not sure why. She said the bear told her Thank-You for calling me off of him. See, I’m good at being me!

Up until just over a year ago, life as I knew it was perfect! But then one night, a strange and uncontrollable thing happened. I was told later it was called a seizure. My pawrents took to me to see the doctor and the reason for my seizure was I had a small pea-sized tumor on my brain. I’m a fan of frozen peas, but not ones in my head. The doctors removed the tumor and said I needed to take medication every day to make sure I don’t have another seizure again. That plan is doable. However, one of the after-surgery medications I was taking called Prednizone, made me out-of-control food CRAZY! Everything I could get close to, I’d eat. Apparently when I found D-con rat poison, I thought that tasted really good. My Maw rushed me to the doctors again and made me puke a bunch. Not fun, but I did feel better afterwards. If I ever haven’t felt good (which was rare), I’ve always let my pawrents know. So when it was time to go back to the docs for a check-up a month later, I let them know my right rear leg didn’t feel good. The doc did some x-rays and found what they say was bone-cancer. Their solution for getting rid of my pain was removing my back leg. It wasn’t easy at first getting around, but the pain was gone and that’s what counts. I’ve always been a tuff dog. I’ve run in to things by accident that hurt a lot and I never yiped! I even ripped a toenail off once when chasing after a ball on pavement and didn’t yip at all.

After my surgeries, I soldiered on staying tuff and never complaining about anything. Becoming a tripawd was something I was going to work hard at and impress them. It worked! They were so amazed! A phrase I heard often was that GOD gave dogs 3 legs and a spare. I’d have preferred to keep my spare, though. Life as I knew before had dramatically changed. However, I didn’t focus on what I couldn’t do any longer, I lived for what I COULD do. I showed them how I could still 4X4 in the woods with only 3! I know, impressive! And, I could still swim perfectly fetching sticks & rock diving!

The special thing I share with my Maw is she’s always been the best at everything she’s ever done for me! Loving me and touching me so super much! She’s been the best with her gentle care giving! Being my vet-taxi, hair cutter’r, bath give’r, toe-nail cutter’r, ear cleaner’r, eye boogger remove’r, and ALL TIME best nurse-maw! After my surgeries, she was there every minute telling me it was all going to be OK! Out of all the medications I had to take for over a year (which was a small pharmacy), she never once forgot or missed one dose of “Red’s Meds”. That was a big responsibility and I’m grateful she did such an amazing job!

Since last year, we’ve done a lot together. We traveled in our motorhome a few times going to the ocean and eastern Washington. Which I love doing because my ride is so cush and there’s new people to meet and stuff to see, smell and pee on. We spent a lot of time at our new lake house too. Man-o-man does that place have a lot of stairs. I just keep impressing them because I conquered every one of those stairs like a champ! All for my benefit though, because I’d always head to the water. If they couldn’t find me, they didn’t have to look far because I was on the beach doing what I know best, waiting to impress them. I set the bar HIGH!

Memorial Day weekend was super special to me because my whole family was there at the lake house and I got to swim for hours and days! It was mostly special to me, because I did a great job hiding something from them; there was new pain I was feeling. I didn’t want to show anyone, especially my pawrents. We do so good together and I didn’t want to let them down. I took the pain as long as I could, but the pain in my body became too great to bear. I did pretty good hiding it, but they’re smart too and figured out I needed help. Last week, we went to the doc’s again and like before, they checked me out and did more x-rays. The secret was out. It was in black and white on the screen. That nasty word cancer was said again, but this time it was aggressive and had taken over my front left shoulder and in the middle of my spine.

These were the signs I couldn’t hide. I had to show them…I couldn’t put pressure on my front leg and it was difficult at best to walk. I know being the fighter I am, I gave it everything I could.

The doctors said there wasn’t anything more anyone, not even my pawrents, could do for me. And believe me, they’ve done EVERYTHING for me!

Because my Paw & Maw love me so much, they knew it was time to help me. We all agreed it was time. Our last morning together, Sat, June 27, 2015, was very special. We sat together with lots of love and pets. I got to eat loads of peanuts and a bowl of fresh picked blueberries from our yard. My Paw brought me a kool stuffy to shred! (I shredded it in record time!) By midday, we were ready to set me free. We were together when I left, we were one….they held me until they felt my last breath. We were all at peace with my moving on to my next stage of life and I look forward to seeing them again.

What I learned in my life with my Paw-Wayne and my Maw-Reneé, is we can LOVE forever, we’re just not able to LIVE forever.

I wish I was able to see everyone who has touched my life, and whose lives I’ve touched before I left. But we all know, in our heart of hearts, the best place to see me for now lives in your memories. I can only hope the memory I leave with you, leaves you with only a smile!

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2 thoughts on “Tripawd Tuesday: Rompin’ with Riley Red Dog”

  1. Hello Sally ~ Thank you for your heartfelt sentiments. We are grateful for your kind, kind words. Our boy sure did have the life! The tribute to our Red Dog was so easily written. It was of course the condensed version. His almost 12 years with us gave us lots of material to use and I’m really not quite done writing yet. What was posted was the condensed version. There are/were many more stories to write and in time I will write more in “Riley’s Book of Tails”. Without knowing, it was most therapeutic and healing for me and my husband to put his legacy in to words. I didn’t realize I was capable of creating such writings. I will follow the calling and continue. Riley will always be our inspiration and spirit-physical-trainer….if he can go through what he’s been through without complaining and always smiling, then we can only do our best too!

    Renee, Wayne & In-spirit-ational Riley Gilmore Rubin

  2. This is perhaps o e of the most eloquently written, heartfelt AND even fun tributes I think Ive read here!

    A d then to top it off with these great pictures of. …..Riley, Red Dog, RED, Rolly Rolston, Silly, Stinky, Silly-stink, Sill, Dick Head, Dick, Richard Dickson, Red-man, Ri, Christmas Card Face, and many more…….:-)

    I know your heart is broken I to a million pieces and the sadness loo.s over you everday.

    I also know you have thousands of thousands of delightfully glorious days with Riley Gibson that will slowly piece your heart back together again!

    WILSON..yeah, I got that! And he loved rat poison like a rich dessert….quite the taste buds!

    WE CAN LOVE FOREVER…..we just can’t live forever!!! Such a lovely sentiment!

    From the bottom of my heart I want to tank you for taking the time to chronicle snippets from Riley’s life. It is a true pleasure to get to know him. He did, indeed, have the life of Riley…and then some!

    You have done a stellar job of letting us know how much his life mattered and what a positive difference he made in the lives of everyone he touched. By you sharing his legacy with us today…and those treasured photos..I can now say I have been touched by Riley. I shall have more happiness in my heart as a result.

    I could look at his beautiful pictures all day. I do hope you’ll share more.

    Sending you lots of love. And I guarantee you Riley is telling everyone at the Bridge that he had THE BEST TIME EVER!!

    Sally and My Eternal Light Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle


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