Oh, it's a big day here on the Gitzen Girl blog, people. As you can see from the smattering of photos throughout the page, this blog has a mascot. And that mascot has a birthday. TODAY. So as a way of acknowledging that I have completely lost touch with reality and am totally over-invested in my dog, everyone say...
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RILEY!"
That's right. Mr. Riley Joseph turns five years old today.
Get ready for the "Awww Factor" people, because you've never seen cute like this before. This is Riley at 9 weeks old, on the first day he came home. He was 2.5 pounds and snuggled perfectly in my hand. He was so little, in fact, that I had to buy him the smallest cat collar I could find. He didn't really need a collar since I had no intention of putting him on a leash (it was December when I got him... he would have frozen outside). The sole purpose of the collar was because he was very small and quiet, and there were moments I couldn't find the little stinker. He'd be under the couch, under the bed, in a shoe in the closet... the dog needed a bell. And cat collars just happen to have them. It was so darn cute hearing that bell jingle through the room.
I had been sick and just had surgery on my sinuses, so I wasn't going to be able to drive the few hours to pick him up. At the time my friend Susie's mom Linda (my grocery-getting angel) lived close to the breeder, so they met halfway and Linda picked up the pup. He spent the night at her house, where Susie's brother Steve was visiting for the weekend. Steve took off with Riley the next day and drove him here to Cedar Falls and delivered him with a bow right at my front door.
I was jumping through my skin I was so excited to get my hands on that puppy. I didn't have the money to get him myself so I had asked for a dog for Christmas the previous couple of years... but I think my parents were reluctant because of my physical situation and thinking it would be too much for me to take care of him. I knew, though, that it was just what I needed to not feel so alone. And man I was right. I don't even mind that I had to wait for my parents to get on board because I can't imagine another dog on earth that would have made me this happy.
Susie, Jenny, Kelly, Meg and their kids all came to see me at different points that day. (Don't you love people who get as excited about your life as you do?) Riley ate up the attention, but always came right back over to me and sat in my lap, or touched my leg or curled up by my hand. Just like now, from day one he had to be touching me to feel that all was ok with the world. And since that day I feel totally lost without that warm fluff of fur right next to me.
The only difference is that the pipsqueak that always wanted me to hold him went from this:
And I can guarantee you, his toy hotdog didn't shrink.
The 2.5 pound puppy that was supposed to max out at 6 pounds is now an enormous 11 pound dog with a 90 pound attitude. In dog years we're the same age now (35), and it's starting to make sense why he tries to be the boss of everything ... because in another year he's going to be the oldest member of this household.
And quite frankly, I'm doomed.