I am Dr Katrina Warren, media vet. I met Riley in 2011, a year to the day that my beloved Border Collie, Toby, had passed away. Riley, a Golden Retriever, came to me as a foster from a rescue group that I had worked with. It was meant to be a short-term foster, but he never moved out!
Riley joined our family when we already had a Maine Coon cat named Mr Fox, who has sadly passed away this year. Mr Fox took Riley under his wing [paw] and they had an extraordinary relationship from the beginning. Mr Fox was always the entertainer, constantly playing with Riley’s ears and tail, and always stealing his bed. It was like a comedy show; made me laugh every day! Riley is a ‘dream dog’ – he is the most tolerant and patient dog. He let Mr Fox climb all over him! He is happy with everyone and loves the attention.
Sadly, Riley’s life before being rescued was a horrific one. He was dumped in a pound with wounds on his legs, indicating that someone had tied all his four legs together, and possibly used for dog fighting. Riley came to me skin and bones, having had poor nutrition, riddled with fleas and his paws were infected with grass seeds. His eyes were black with sadness. But the day we brought him home, Riley put his head on my lap and half wagged his tail, like he was thanking me for being nice to him. I thought to myself, who could not want you? I just don’t understand …
Riley brought ‘dog love’ back into my life, which had been missing since Toby died. He brings smiles every day, whenever I walk him, talk to him, pat him. He’s an icebreaker, mood lifter, no matter what you’re doing. You come home and see the little wag of the tail and always happy to see you!
Riley has had a pretty big turnaround in his life. He now lives “the life of Riley”. He is fed delicious, healthy foods and treats, and receives gifts. He has a family who loves looking after him, and he’s safe.
Message to Rescue
I have worked with hundreds of rescue groups and thousands of people who care. It fills my heart with hope that there are so many people who understand the love and companionship of pets and want to help as many animals as possible to give them a loving home that they deserve.
Whenever I work with rescue groups, from rescuing moon bears to dogs, it makes me want to do more. Rescue groups can’t survive without volunteers. I encourage everyone to volunteer where they can. Kindness to animals is so important.
People in rescue are so dedicated and give so much of their time to help animals have a better life.