It was about a year ago that the Singing Dog, Rio quit singing. He tried but only a squeak came out. Something had changed in his body. The fatty tumors had become more pronounced. It was only recently when he stopped eating that we realized that he was very ill. He put his best Labrador face on for us but his body was frail. Walks became shorter and his breathing labored. But he kept going unable to leave the pack.
He had seen us through hundreds of outdoor adventures and travel across the West, swam in the clearest water and touched the great sea. Trips to the ocean seemed to agree with him. He was a water dog and loved
to run along the sand. Here is a video of his first trip to the sea.
Our summer was about spending time with him. We didn’t go to the grand places we usually went just a few places that he would enjoy. We took it easy and loved him as he became frail and distant. Some days he would rally and eat like the chow hound we knew him to be but eventually everything he ate betrayed his body. There was nothing left to do for him. Two days ago he had been sick in the morning and laid in the cool dirt of the backyard. He disappeared into the pond and swam around as if to purify himself before his spirit journey. One last communion with the water of life.
It is amazing how big of a space he occupied with his presence. He touched the lives of people all over the world. His Facebook page has lit up with beautiful tributes from those that met him and others that knew him from his adventures. This is how it all began.
One day as I sat down at the piano and began playing a song. I heard a tiny voice next to me. Rio began to sing. He sang for 12 years laughed played and helped us through the best of times and the worst. He taught us to be better people.
What a fitting way to carry on. To go out singing.