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The Adventures of Riley Rover and Diesel Dog

By Cheryl Ritchie, Mosquito Gulch, Home of Riley Rover

Cheryl Ritchie,

Riley Rover, a twelve month old Golden Retriever Pup, knows one thing for sure. He is King of his Kingdom. This includes the comfy pile of comforters stacked neatly on the front porch, the dog food bowl that’s always filled and refilled for his dining delight, and the endless stack of toys to toss and treasure. Plus, his reign includes this Girl who has a stack of Dog Training Books that don’t seem to do much good. Riley Rover knows he is the Leader of the Pack and nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to make him resign his reign. He is B_A_D and loving every moment of jumping on the Girl, eating her socks, stealing her paper towels, shredding her clothes, and barking when she does not do as he wishes. Not to mention making her totally miserable until she lets him finish the bottom of the ice cream carton.

Well, it was that way until the night Diesel Dog came to visit Mosquito Gulch. Mosquito Gulch is located on the Chesapeake Bay, near the Bay Beach and the Boardwalk. It’s in a little Beachside Town near the edge of nowhere. But we’ll get to that later.

Riley Rover is a pup in a long line of Allison’s Golden Pups. His uncles, Trevor Triever and Trapper Triever , also  belonged to the Girl. Riley Rover was in a puppy litter that had all been sold and claimed by year end. The Girl was heartbroken. She wanted another pup from the same family. Of course, it was Christmastime, so one family decided not to pick up Riley Rover. He had Neurological Problems and the Family wanted their first Golden to be perfect. The Girl just wanted a dog. So Riley Rover unexpectedly ended up with the Girl. She needed a dog and he needed a home, so the two agreed to be together for better or for worse. To the Girl, it sometimes seemed like for worse. But she loved him so.

One cold, cold night in January, Riley Rover started to bark and bark. Then jump and bark. Then twist and bark. Finally, the Girl let him outside on the Porch. On his comforter throne was a dark, shadowy figure that only Riley Rover could see. It was Diesel Dog. On that cold, frozen snowy night, Diesel Dog was a stray who decided to stay. To him, Mosquito Gulch had everything. Food, Water, and Four Paw Deluxe Accommodations.

Riley Rover was delighted. He had everything but he had nothing because he did not have a friend. They romped and tussled and played and ran on the big porch. The Girl could hear the thunderous noise but still could not see Diesel Dog in the dark. Besides, who would be on the Porch on this cold winter eve?

Well, Riley Rover realized the Girl didn’t see Diesel Dog. She was too busy working at her desk. So he barked to come in and barked to come out and eventually with all the commotion the Girl saw the stray who decided to stay. To Diesel Dog, Mosquito Gulch looked like a Resort and Spa. With a bit of a limp, it was a perfect place to perch for the evening. Except it was bitter, bitter cold. Riley Rover wanted his new friend to come indoors for the evening. He knew his friend had a little limp and could not go home in the snow and ice. He knew his friend was cold and hungry. So both Diesel Dog and Riley Rover gave these pitiful, imploring looks to ask the Girl to come inside.

There was just a little problem. The Girl was afraid to let Diesel Dog inside the warm home. Diesel Dog was a Pit Bull. The Girl was afraid of this dog. But Diesel Dog looked well fed and well loved and Riley Rover was so convincing that the Girl let Diesel Dog stay in the Laundry Room.

Diesel Dog was the perfect guest. He stopped shivering and nestled on his new comforter in the Laundry Room with lots of treats and water. He never barked or complained.

Meanwhile, for the first night in a year, Riley Rover behaved. As in, he really behaved. He knew the Girl had done something extra special because she looked a little afraid of Diesel Dog. Riley Rover went all night without barking or chewing or pulling the Girl’s comforter off the bed. He even went all night without stealing her slippers of trying to pull her socks off while she snoozed. He was almost what you would call a Good Dog.

The next morning, the Girl let Diesel Dog outside. Diesel Dog perched on the comforter for the day. Riley Rover, being a good host, rested under the step so his guest could have the best spot. After a while, Riley Rover decided to heck with that, he would lie on the comforter with his new friend. So when the Girl would look up from her work desk during the day, Riley Rover and Diesel Dog would be lying butt to butt. They nuzzled and snoozed throughout the day.

Diesel Dog showed no signs of going home. But he was a hefty looking, loving, gentle kind of soul who had a family somewhere. There was an Invisible Fence collar but no dog tags so the Girl could not figure out what to do. When the snow and ice cleared, the Girl called the Animal Control Department. But they only kept the dogs three days. They did keep records just in case someone called. The Girl put a dog tag on Riley Rover just to make sure she never, ever lost her B_A_D Golden Pup.

Sure enough, a few hours later, Diesel Dog’s family called the Girl. They were at the Shelter. They had posted signs and gone to shelters and called Vets. It turned out that Diesel Dog was allergic to his collar so it had been temporarily removed. The family arrived and ran up the hill to the Mosquito Gulch Porch and hugged and hugged Diesel Dog. Diesel Dog thumped and wagged and wagged and thumped his tail. His folks and all three children were there to take him home.

There was just one problem. Diesel Dog and Riley Rover had become fast friends. Diesel Dog may have been a Pit Bull that looked scary but he was a gentle soul that thru his shining behavior had shown Riley Rover to be kinder to the Girl who loved him so. The two friends had slept butt to butt for days. They had romped and played and run. The Girl explained to the Family that she had treated Diesel Dog like she would have wanted her dog to be treated. The family promised to return with Diesel for play dates.

So after all the adventure, since the snow and ice had melted, the Girl had to leave for the store to do errands. She knew Riley Rover would miss Diesel Dog. But she did not expect the call saying the Riley Rover was loose in the town. She knew when she got the phone call that something was wrong with Riley Rover. He managed to get loose off his rope on the Porch to go chase after Diesel Dog and bring back his friend. But the Girls’ neighbor saw Riley Rover and brought him home and kept him in her fenced back yard until the Girl got home from shopping. She said she treated the Girl’s dog like she would have wanted her dog treated if the same thing had happened.

So the Girl realized a few things. The Girl realized all God’s creatures deserve a safe place in the storm. Riley Rover knew that already. And that an act of kindness comes back many fold. And that a book is not to be judged by the cover.  Riley Rover knew all that, too. And to always have your pet carefully tagged and chipped. Now Diesel Dog has both chip and tags from the same Neighbor Vet who came out during the snow and ice to check that the stray was okay.

Diesel Dog learned that there’s a new Resort and Spa in town where he is always welcome.

And Riley Rover learned that the Girl isn’t so B_A_D after all.

But, of course, he still barks to finish the bottom of the ice cream carton. As every good dog should.

The End. Cheryl Ritchie 1/30/2009 Mosquito Gulch 301 855 5215