Back in 1995 I did a VA loan for a family in Hepner, Oregon. The thing that I remember the most from their transaction is the invitation we received to come to their open house. It’s a long drive from Portland to Hepner but my wife and I love road trips. The change in scenery along I-84 on the way to Hepner is really amazing and quite worth the drive. From the views of the magnificent Columbia river and Multnomah Falls, the transition from forest to wheat field, the iconic small towns and power of the Bonneville Dam – it’s a really incredibly diverse scenic area.
Upon arriving, we explored the town a bit and eventually made our way to the open house. Sometime between initial introductions, great food, shared experiences and some laughs we created a friendship that has lasted to this day. We also discovered that one of the family members had a litter of puppies. Uh oh.
My wife assured me that four-week old puppies are not cute. As I look behind me at our dog Riley – the same one that once was a puppy in Hepner – I would have to say that JJ was wrong in this case. Riley is still cute too – just a little grayer and a lot older.
In about an hour it will be time to take Ella to the bus stop. Riley will happily walk or jog beside us (depending on whether we are late or on time). Each day I wonder if this will be the last walk we take with Riley but she shows no signs of slowing down.
The sad truth about dogs is that they have these wonderful personalities but don’t live nearly long enough. They bring us so much joy albeit interspersed with small amounts of torment from time to time. Riley will be 15 in August, thus the reference to Methuselah in the title. For a lab, she has truly lived a long life but we know that her days are limited at this point. It has been such a blessing to have her in our lives. We are so lucky we made that connection so many years ago and are reminded of it daily.