BUNKER MENTALITY: Riley’s Arrival

I had a man stop me in the lobby of my urologist’s office in February and ask if I was the guy who wrote for the newspaper.

“Well, yes and no,” I said to myself, wondering if I had written something he didn’t like or something he did.

I told him I write a monthly column.

“I really liked your column about your dog,” he said, as he walked back to the exam room. “It really showed how much you loved that dog.”

Several other people smiled as well. The lobby had about eight people waiting to see the doctor.

That comment was another reminder just how much I missed Zoey, the Yard Sale Queen’s and my 13 1/2- year-old Yorkshire Terrier that we had to put down and send to Rainbow Bridge last September.

Being retired, I really missed Zoey and the quiet companionship she provided when I was home. Putting her to sleep was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. I can’t explain it.

I had her cremated and placed her ashes in a nice wooden urn with her picture on it. I would catch myself talking to it, telling her just how much I loved and missed her. I still do, terribly.

After we put her to sleep, the Yard Sale Queen and I discussed the possibility of getting another dog, not a replacement for Zoey, mind you, but a different dog.

“I don’t want another dog,” the Yard Sale Queen said, emphatically.

I understood her sentiment but figured she would change her mind over time. The Yard Sale Queen took the loss of Zoey much harder than I realized. It bothered her that we had lost our “special little girl,” as she described her.

Secretly, I began searching the internet for female Yorkies for sale in Virginia. I prefer females over males. Males are sneaky leg-lifters. Females are just sneaky.

Let me tell you the scam artists are out there. One woman in Hampton Roads advertised Yorkie puppies for sale and an adult female. I sent him/her/it a text message and received no reply. Why would someone trying to sell Yorkies not reply to a text message they requested?

A man, who claimed to live in Northern Virginia, advertised puppies for sale. He responded by email that he had sold all his puppies, but he had a “buddy” who had one for sale. His “buddy” in Cambridge, Massachusetts and he would be happy to ship me the dog sight unseen. Sure.

A woman near Winchester was very nice, but then decided I wasn’t ready for a dog. I suppose she knows me well?

Another lady in Stafford County showed us several puppies. She quoted a price for one we liked, then lowered it, then decided she wanted to keep the puppy for breeding and raised the price if she did sell it. Days later she offered to sell it again. No sale, sorry.

Finally, we contacted an honest breeder in south Stafford County. She showed us three puppies. We decided to buy one of the puppies. But what to name her?

The Yard Sale Queen didn’t like any of the names I picked out. Over breakfast we Googled small dog names and immediately decided on Riley.

That Sunday, we picked out a feisty and yappy female, with one ear up and one down.

The breeder warned us she might get car sick on the long ride back to Culpeper. In a matter of miles, she got sick. So the Yard Sale Queen was nurturing a puking puppy while I drove.

But Riley has a great personality. She is inquisitive about everything, including shoes, the refrigerator, and the dishwasher. She climbed on the door of the dishwasher to explore the big metal box.

Having a puppy that hadn’t seen a blade of grass for 11 weeks has proved daunting. Housebreaking a Yorkie is no easy feat.

But we are up to the challenge and adore Riley.

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