A year ago on December 17 in a blinding snow storm River became a part of our family.
A white-knuckle drive home to New Glasgow from northern New Brunswick was his introduction to life with the Dickson/Campbell family. He snuggled in like he always belonged and despite the crawl home, it was full speed ahead. River is one of our family’s most heartwarming and memorable Christmas gifts ever as he added so much joy and excitement to the holidays for not only our family but also friends and neighbours. There were lineups of selfies with the new babe! He continues to spread joy, ignite laughter and provide unconditional love.
Since that first day we held him in our arms, River has grown from 10 pounds with fur soft as lamb’s wool to 70 pounds with a beautiful coat of spun gold and a luxurious lion-like mane. He has crimped fur on his ears and deep dark eyes that say “I am still little.” He has many distinctive characteristics and a charm all of his own.
Our son Darcy has dubbed River as the “little boss man” as this golden boy has a special presence and yes, sometimes likes to be in charge. Yet he is kind, loving and revels in being close to us. After he marked his first birthday in late October, River had his neutering operation. It was strange to see him dialed down a couple of notches and surprisingly he did not require the dreaded cone! Just like most babies when they are ill, he wanted his Mommy and rarely left my side for two days.
With my recent change in career, I have had more time at home and therefore more time with River. The bond has deepened quickly. Nothing like being the one to most often give the meals to make you popular. River, however, spreads his love equally and freely. His greetings to each of the three of us are full of wags, wiggles and the need to show off a special ball or toy. I sometimes think he just might turn inside out as he is so happy to see us no matter if the separation is 10 minutes or several hours. He is gentle to his 94-year-old grandmother and small children and he is full of it for children and teenagers.
River is happy to enter his crate when we have to leave him at home and at times, you can even find him nestled into the corner of the crate with the door wide open. It is his man cave – a place of refuge where he receives treats and takes naps.
River also has developed the habit of running for a bone after every meal and asks to go out and enjoy his dessert outdoors. We call them his after- dinner mints.
River has also discovered that he can now counter surf and, if not caught in the act, there are sometimes tell-tale signs with paw prints on the kitchen counter. He also has an increased turbo speed now that he has grown so strong and with the wide open spaces at his disposal in our backyard, he has mapped out his own obstacle course galloping the circumference, darting in and around evergreen trees and a large swing set daily. These fits of energy are the zooms with much more zoom than our aging Mazda.
River has finally mastered the salt waters of the Northumberland Strait and he struts along the shoreline digging excessively for seashells, swinging seaweed and swimming freely. Frosty temperatures are no problem. He has boundless energy for long runs with Barry in Trenton Park or Melmerby Beach and time for endless romping, play and games of catch and frisbee with Darcy. Each evening he springs on to the love seat in our family room and curls up beside me for his evening cuddle and will not go upstairs to bed without me. He then plants himself very night in the centre of our queen-size bed and he lays his head on my feet as he drifts to sleep.
When picking up River that December afternoon the breeder predicted this “boy” would have a special personality with a mixture of exuberance, curiosity, spirit, spunk yet be loving and loyal – how right they were! Having such a pet is like entering a point of no return – your heart jumps, you give yourself freely, you fall in love and you hold on for the ride for the time they are yours.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays from River and his family!