Tuesday, October 2, 2012


We found Rizzo nestled in the
laundry basket on a regular basis
Nearly 15 years ago on a cool December evening, my mom and I took a trip up to Fruitvale to take a look at a litter of puppies. I was 14 back then and super excited at the possibility of getting a puppy...although mom told me repeatedly that we were "only there to look". We got to the house which was way out in the middle of nowhere, and were directed to a shelter where the puppies were being kept. They were just 6 weeks old, mutts made up of Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd, and there were 13 in the litter! I remember walking up to the litter and being overwhelmed by 13 puppies all jumping up at the fence, excited to meet the visitors.

As soon as I saw her, I knew she had to be mine. She was mostly black but had some markings which showed that she clearly had German Shepherd in her. But what got me was the tiny white line right down the middle of her forehead. She was so small and sweet looking (little did I know at the time what puppyhood would bring my way) and I picked her up and held her to my chest while mom looked at the remaining 12 pups. After a few minutes mom told me to put her down and play with the rest of the litter, so I put her back and pet a few other pups, but after about 2 minutes I picked up my little one again and didn't put her back down. On the drive home we stopped at the only open grocery store and bought some puppy food, a food dish, a couple toys and a collar and leash.

It took a couple days to agree on a name for her but we eventually agreed on Rizzo. The first few nights were tough because she didn't want to be left alone at night, but she eventually learned the routine. I remember her being so small and the snow was so deep in the streets that she had to walk in the tire tracks to keep up with me on our walks. As she grew bigger and bigger, she proved to be a major handful and most of the first year owning her was full of threats from my mom that we had to get rid of her, and me crying my eyes out saying that she would get better. She was an escape artist and we could barely keep her in the yard. My poor dad had to keep renovating the side yard, building the fence higher and closing up any openings she might be able to squeeze through. Luckily she almost always went to the same neighbours yard to play with their dog, so most of the time I knew where to find her when I looked outside and saw the yard empty of Rizzo.

It's been almost 15 years since we got that dog and the stories of Rizzo are endless. As the years have gone by, she's had a fun and busy life with lots of love and lots of great walks. When she was younger she was amazing at playing hide-and-go-seek with me. I would throw the ball down the riverbank then run and hide somewhere on the property. She figured out my hiding places pretty quickly and the only time I ever stumped her was when I jumped into the cab of the truck. She never forgot that hiding spot and went to check every time past that. Dad was unimpressed when he saw her jump up against his truck to try to look inside to see me. The past year has been hard on her and she lost a lot of her strength in her back end, so she has trouble walking a lot of the time. Plus her heart has been failing for a while now so she can't get too stressed out or too much exercise before she collapses, out of breath.

I am sad to announce that today was her last day with us. She was struggling too much and as much as it killed us to do it, called the vet to make an appointment to get her in for her last visit. Even though I didn't want to go through with it, I knew that I should be there with her for her last minutes with us since it was me who brought her into this family. Watching her drift away was one of the hardest things I have ever done but I am so glad that I was there for her last few minutes. I know I'll be a crying fool for a while, but having Riz for all those years was worth a couple days of constant tears. I'll miss you Rizzo. We all love you.


  1. Hugs for you and your Mom Adrienne..I know that today was super hard for you, but it was the right thing for Riz. She was well loved and lucky to have been the one you chose. We will miss her too.

  2. So sorry Age your family's loss. Rizzo had a great life as she had a great family.