I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit my family in Wisconsin for the Christmas and New Year holidays. It is always a whirlwind trip, but definitely one I would not trade for anything. Every time I am able to make a visit, I enjoy the reunion I have with my childhood pets. Growing up, we had two dogs that helped to shape my relationship with veterinary medicine in quite influential ways.
We rescued Oreo as his family was going to surrender him when moving and he was unable to join them where they were going. Serendipity was on our side and Oreo was the perfect addition to our family. He was one of the most patient and mild-tempered animals that I have ever met.
Shortly after welcoming Oreo into our home, we rescued another Cairn Terrier who had been saved from a puppy mill where he had spent his entire life on a concrete floor. He joined our family and we named him Riley. When we got him, he was terrified of the world around him, refusing to walk on the grass and running from any sound he heard. Slowly, Oreo taught Riley how to be a dog. Riley followed Oreo everywhere he went, learning how the world operates when you’re a four-legged fluff ball. Slowly, but surely, Riley began to adjust. The first day he stepped onto grass outside and the first time he saw snow will forever be emblazoned in my memory as they bring me so much joy.
Oreo crossed the rainbow bridge five years ago, but Riley is still at home when I visit. I am met by his sweet face and big ears. Riley is a gentle soul, with a quiet demeanor, as he has been from day one. But he has such an admirable appreciation for the world around him. When he walks outside, he truly experiences the world, from the wind blowing through his hair to all of the smells that come his way. He is fourteen now and every moment I have with him is a gift. Riley is, and forever will be, my canine soulmate.