My First Child

I bet I can guess what you’re thinking… Well… you’re wrong. This post is dedicated to my first child, my dogter, my Riley. You may have noticed that she hasn’t been on the blog lately. I mentioned in THIS POST that things were really rough in the Winchell household and it was directly related to THIS POST and THIS POST where I talked about how Riley had been throwing up and not feeling well. Turns out, she had an aggressive form of cancer. After a month of meds, her not eating anything (not even PB, beef, chicken, doggie ice cream, treats), throwing up daily and losing 15lbs, we only had one option. *Warning, there are a lot of pics in this post.


We got Riley from the Humane Society when she was three months old. She was emaciated and timid, but certainly came out of her shell as we showed her love. I don’t think she ever forgot that we saved her. She was seriously the best dog ever. Better than yours, just saying.

Baby Riley

It’s been a month and two days since we said good bye to our little girl and I have just now had the courage to write about it. To be honest, I’m crying as I type this and get emotional over her almost every day. She wasn’t just a dog to me, she really was my dogter. I pretty much spent 5 years with her at home while I didn’t work (or only worked part time) and we had a bond that I can’t explain. She wasΒ my companion when Todd traveled. She always made my day better and has a VERY special place in my heart.

Riley 3

I have never been through anything this hard and my heart is seriously broken. I still talk to her (maybe I have a problem). I loved her so much and it feels like a piece of me is missing. There’s a huge hole in my heart and it hurts.

Riley 2

She put up with the rediculous things I made her do, like wear Todd’s racing shoes and costumes for Halloween. She was our lizard hunter and loved going for walks. I don’t know how many pictures there are of her on this blog during a walk.

hunting.jpgShe loved peanut butter as much as I do. She was our trash dog. <- please go and read that post. Cuddling on the floor or couch was a daily occurrence and she loved a good stretch.

Riley 1

Riley’s last day was one of the best she’d had in a while. (More crying happening now) It’s like she knew it was the end. She seemed to have a bit more energy than normal. We played a bit in the backyard. She was jumping around in a tree branch Todd had cut down and looking for lizards behind the grill.

Rileys last day 1A few hours later we took her for a short walk. You would never have guessed she hadn’t eaten in over a month- besides the peanut butter we crushed her meds in and shoved down her throat. She had energy, caught her last lizard and let her self into the house.

Rys last walk

We were able to spend the last minutes of her life at our house. A nice lady came and it all happened so quickly, yet peacefully. She never knew what was happening and was never in any pain. She was given a sedative that just relaxed her and laid on the floor of our living room, her head in my lap. She could still hear us telling her we loved her and that she was the best dog ever. She was then given the final shot and slowly drifted away. Right there in my lap. I was expecting her eyes to shut but they didn’t. I kept telling the lady her medicine didn’t work and Riley was still alive, but she was gone. I gave her one last hug and kiss and said my final goodbye. This was the last picture we took of her.

My Riley

It’s so hard to believe she looked so happy, but I’m glad the last memory we have of her is when she was smiling. I’ve tried to write this post so many times. It took me a number of days to get through it all, each one ending in a crying mess. I still can’t believe she’s gone. Seven years just isn’t long enough, especially for such a perfect dog. She was the perfect dog. If you’re still reading this, thank you for listening. One last collage of my girl…

Riley4We love you Riley girl! More than you will ever know <3 Good night Riley Ry <3


This article has 40 comments

  1. I’m so sorry, Heather. My heart breaks for you. I know how precious those fur babies are – my dog, Lyra, is so special to me. I am so glad that you had a good “last day” with her – and that you will always remember her being happy. I know she is deeply missed. I am saying extra prayers for you guys. I know she was well loved.

    • Thanks, Jennifer πŸ™‚ Some people just don’t understand the love we have for our fur babies. Sounds like Lyra is a lucky doggie!

    • Yes, all the memories are really the best. I’m so glad I over took her picture all those years. Thanks for your sincere words! Every time I think about how unfair it is I just want to punch something, haha. (For the record, I haven’t ACTUALLY punched anything though.)

  2. I’m crying like a baby! My heart goes out to you, I had my girls cremated when they passed before their time and years later I still get a little teary when I spot their little clay urns on the bookshelf. Big hugs from Cape Town xxx

    • Thanks, Sue-Ann! We contemplated keeping her remains, but ultimately, I thought it would be too hard for me. They spread her ashes over a butterfly garden instead πŸ™‚

  3. I’m sorry Heather. Losing a pet is so difficult. I’ve had to put down two of my dogs and it is one of the hardest things to do. A dogs love is unlike anything else. Sending you lots of positive thoughts. πŸ™‚

    • You totally get it if you’ve had to put down your dogs, too. It’s absolutely horrible. Thanks, for your positive thoughts πŸ™‚

  4. I am so sorry to hear about Riley. I’ve been following your blog for a little while, since we are in similar places with running and starting a family. And I, too, have a dog I consider to be my child, and know what it means to always have them there by your side as a dogter and best friend. I can only hope I have the same courage as you did when the time comes to have to say goodbye to her.

    • Glad to hear you’ve been following a long πŸ™‚ Hope you’ve had success with both the running and the family starting <3 I don't know if I'd say I had courage, haha, I've been a hott mess, but I've found little ways to cope. It's hard to be strong. Let's hope you don't have to worry about that for a LONG TIME!

  5. Even though I already know about precious Riley, my heart is still breaking for you. I wish there was something I could do. A way to bring her back into your life. Pets are like family. Even though I told you the reason I felt like Roxy stayed around for Joshua and & I, it’s still so hard to accept. I don’t know if you’ve tossed her dog food/dog dish or not.. but for me.. it took months. I didn’t want to accept the truth. the truth that she was indeed gone. I wish I could hug you through the computer right now.. but I can’t. One day though! Keep your head up & smile that beautiful smile of yours.

    • AWw Jessie, big hugs coming your way… hopefully in March-ish of ’16. I wish you could bring her back, too! I’d pay you a million dollars! I think Riley stuck around for the same reason and it’ll be the same reason I’ll be able to move on. I can’t thank you enough for sharing that with me XOXO

  6. A whole other kinda baby! I am thrilled you had so many amazing memories with Riley πŸ™‚ Just keep re-living them! We have been through a lot of pets and they all hold a place in our hearts!

  7. I’m so sorry for your loss, Heather. Riley was obviously very loved and you gave her the best life she could ask for. Dogs are the best and the worst thing about having them is losing them.

    • Totally agree. Wish dogs lived as long long as people! I mean, they get a lot of the same issues, why can’t live longer?! She did have a good life and I’m thankful for that πŸ™‚

  8. HEATHER OH MY GOSH. I am SO sorry for this, my heart just aches for you. I’m glad she is free and no longer in pain, but I cannot imagine how hard this must be for you and Todd. Sending so much love your way.

    • Thanks, Brittany! I know it was the right thing to do, so that, like you said, she is free with no pain. It’s hard not to be selfish and want to keep her alive, but that’s just wrong. Thanks for the love… it’s much needed.

  9. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry to hear about this Heather. I know how hard it is to lose a doggie member of the family. You gave Riley a wonderful life, so try to keep remembering all those happy times you had together. Sending you and Todd many hugs.

    • Thanks, Kristen! Ry did have a pretty awesome life with a lot of great memories. I remember them all the time… probably too much, haha

  10. Beautiful post! Know that you were her whole life and were a wonderful mama to her. She loved you just as much as you loved her. She was a great dog and she’ll always have a special place in your heart… Btw I’m a blubbering mess right now

    • I’m a blubbering mess every other night, haha. She will be forever missed and loved. Lots of good memories. I’m just having a hard time accepting it and moving on. I’ve always had attachment issues, haha. I used to say good by to my room when we left for vacation. ha.

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  19. I’m so sorry, Heather. I am crying reading this because I can totally understand the love you felt for Riley. My Shih Tzu is absolutely like a child to my husband and I and I can’t think about him one day not being with us anymore.

    Sending hugs to you. XO

    • Thanks, Lisa. I’ve never been through anything like it in my life. Heartbreaking barely explains it. But at least I know she’s not suffering πŸ™‚ It’s really hard when it’s quite at home and I’m waiting for her to appear and hang out. I hope your doggie lives a super long life πŸ™‚

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  21. I never comment on Blogs and I ready A TON of them. I wanted to send you my heartfelt condolences although I realize this post was from two years ago I know from my own similar experience that even two years later your pain and loss of your daughter is still in your heart. I could feel your love and pain in your writing. I know you gave her the BEST LIFE EVER and she loved you two dearly as you loved her. They remain with us forever. Even still I cannot write more on this as it hurts too much to think of our loss and how much we miss her.

    • Thank you so much, Donna <3 It was definitely the hardest time of my life and I still think about her often. Riley would have been great with our 1.5yr old Kara and it saddens me they never had the chance for a relationship. Thank you for commenting and I'm sorry for your loss as well <3

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