Photo Comments (2)Sex: Female Weight: 51-100 lbs
Leave a bone for Riku (Forever Missed)
Dogster stats for Riku (Forever Missed)
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|-purebred||-pound dog||-dog rescue|
June 24th 2003
January 20th 1999
Me, Calmness, Walks, Running Off-Leash, Small Animals (she was a Mother to all).
Strangers in the Home, Me being out of sight.
Stuffed Animals. She never tore them up, they were like her babies.
She wanted to walk anywhere.
Being the most attentive, devoted animal I'd ever known.
Riku came into my life when I was fourteen years old. I had just emerged from the deepest, most crippling depression of my life. I had come from something so dark, so terrifying, I wanted desperately to have a new life to care for. I went to the pound on the outskirts of town, thinking I was going to adopt the young border collie I heard about on the phone, but I never even ended up looking at him.
I walked in, the deafening sound of dozens of homeless, eager dogs barking at the approach of a new person. Perhaps they even understood I was able to get them out of there. My excitement was unparraleled, and I quickly became overwhelmed with how many dogs I had to choose from. I walked by the cages, smiling, my heart filling with warmth. Almost every dog I walked by was jumping at the cage, desperate to meet someone new and be close to someone. It broke a little piece of my heart, but my heart shattered into ten thousand pieces when I laid eyes on Riku. She was this terrifyingly emaciated, filthy, shaking ball of hair. Most of which was falling out. As I walked by, she didn't even lift her head. I knealt down near the cage and called softly to her. Still, no response. I stood up and looked on the little sheet of paper near her cage. It read: "Seized from unfit home. Too many dogs. Breed: German Shepherd. Name: Little Bit. Scheduled Euthanasia." I felt sick. I immediately turned to my Mom, without hesitation and said, "I want her." She was fully against it instantly. Not only did Riku look like she was already going to die, she wanted nothing to do with human contact at all. My Mom said no, and the woman working at the shelter turned to me saying, "We have much better dogs here." I started crying and laced my fingers through the chainlink, staring at her, feeling more pity than I ever had for an animal in person. It was written clearly on the paper, they were going to kill her, and I knew I was her last chance.
I actually said, "I'm not leaving without this dog." My Mom knew I meant it, and reluctantly told the woman we would adopt her. I saw the fear in the woman's face as she went to get someone help retrieve her from the cage. She told us no one had been able to touch her since she was brought in, but nothing they said could have changed my mind. I watched as the two women cautiously went inside her cage and bent over to put a leash on her. She screamed at the top of her lungs, threw herself backward, and bared her teeth. I saw immediately this dog was not aggressive, she was literally fearing for her life. I knew right then, somoene had treated her more horribly than I could have even imagined, and I wanted to reverse it. I cried as I watched it, already falling in love with her.
At length, they were able to drag her out of the cage and into our car, and as I helped them, she screamed when I barely touched her collar. It was devastating. My Mom was a complete nervous wreck as we left the parking lot, looking back constantly to see what she was doing in the back seat with me. The whole way home she stayed as far as she could away from me, completely frozen. When we got her home and onto the grass, her fear seemed to lessen somewhat, but she toppled over in the yard, unable to stand. She was so astoundingly thin I could see every bone in her body. She had no muscle mass at all. I ran inside and grabbed a pack of turkey lunchmeat, and sat down next to her as slowly as I could. She was terrified, but unable to get up. She never showed her teeth at me despite how trapped she felt. I spoke softly to her while avoiding her eyes, holding out the turkey in front of her nose. I sat there, quiet, for what felt like a half an hour until she took it from me, and when she did.. it was the very first step in what was to become the strongest bond I've ever felt with an animal.
She quickly became my shadow. She was so frail, so meek, and so petrified of anyone and anything but me. Every night she would wake up screaming until I calmed her down and she realized where she was. To this day, most people don't believe my dog had nightmares about her previous life, but I know she did. She would sneak through rooms in the house as if she was trying to go unnoticed, and hide under tables for hours on end, so frozen with fear after one loud noise even I couldn't get her to come out. Her muscles and legs were so weak, for two years she would sprain her legs every time she ran, and I would have to carry her from room to room. She never wagged her tail, ever. For close to three years.
Riku taught me patience. Patience I thought was destroyed with time, but it wasn't. I remember feeling the deepest joy the very first time I saw her wag her tail. I had her outside, playing with a ball after being with her for almost three years. It was just her and I, and I said to her in the most ridiculous voice I could muster, "You're a cutie, Rikutie Boodie!" She stared at me, and wagged furiously for the first time ever. I almost cried, and something makes me feel she felt the same amount of joy I did.
I know, without a shadow of a doubt, I was the very first person to ever show her any kindness. I was the first person she ever trusted, and the first person she ever loved. I remained the only one. Her and I became so closely bonded I believe she read my mind. She knew things she had no way of knowing. She knew an hour before I came home I was on my way, at any random time on any random outing. She was always already in the window when I pulled in. Even if I'd been away weeks, I was told she knew I was coming.
Whenever I was depressed, so was she. Whenever I was sick, she refused to eat and refused to leave my side. If I was happy, so was she. I could sense her watching my every move, she listened to my every word and my every sigh. If I was to even sigh gently she leapt to her feet and pressed her nose against my skin, pacing around until I told her it was all right. She was so overcome with her devotion to me I felt bad for her inability to rest. If I was gone she was often unable to sleep, but when she did I could tell it was on my pillow or near the front door. The only time my pillow was covered in her hair was after I came home from a trip.
The largest amount of emotion to ever be seen in her was when I arrived home after being away for a long time. She would literally howl and yelp, but it never seemed like joy. In her voice, I could hear pain and frustration. It eventually became known as "The Meltdown", because it wasn't happiness with her like it was with the other dogs. She was overcome with frustration, and the yipping, howling, and whining was as if she was trying to tell me, "Never, never, never leave me again." It was hard to see her like that, and to know there was no "training" it out of her. The longer I was gone, the more explosive it was, and it would take her hours to fully calm down. It was something I desperately tried to cure in her. I didn't want her in so much distress. I wanted her to bond with other family members and feel at ease when I was away, but she never did. No amount of time, no amount of distance made any difference with her, and it taught me the true scope of a dog's loyalty. Riku knew, with all her heart, I was the one who saved her life, and she never forgot it.
She is the reason I love dogs with all my heart, and will forever.
Heart of Gold
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For the Fear of Dogs...? How do you handle people afraid
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Rosette, Star and Special Gift History
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