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2010 Rescue Kerries Placed: Riley


© 2016 Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation

Rescue Coordinator: Sharon Arkoff

Riley is out of rehab, and is ready for adoption. The requirements will be VERY rigid, because while Riley is beyond charming and is a handsome and loving goofball most of the time, if he is not given very clear structure and guidance, his Mr. Hyde side still can emerge and it is not pretty.

Three-year-old Riley is very much a textbook kerry blue male -- full of bravado, but also a complete goofball much of the time. He is very handsome, trim and with a gorgeous headset, arched neck, and body position especially when.... uh, um, seeing a cat. At the time of coming into Rescue from a neglectful home, Riley had very serious issues with aggressive resource-guarding, especially when it came to toys or food. Riley has learned his lessons well during his month in a training boot camp, and now will calmly sit or lie down on command when it's supper time, instead of challenging his humans. Riley has a lovely response to the basic obedience commands, is fully housebroken, is neutered, is very smart and fast (rally obedience, anyone? Agility?) and is a funny dorky affectionate boy who loves to chase tennis balls and his kong. He will bring the toy back to you and drop it on your feet only when you're not looking; clearly, a standard game of fetch is beneath him. Riley loves all people and has shown nice manners around my young children. He tolerates baths without a grumble though he finds them humiliating, and has lovely manners for gently taking treats from your hand. He remains mystified by frogs and by lakes and flowing water -- he will stand on a bridge and watch the river beneath it for as long as you let him, and he has fallen into a local pond twice, having attempted to figure out what the water was while standing on a steep bank. Maybe he is admiring his reflection and his lovely silvery coat with its darker points?

Because Riley will probably always have issues deep down, he must go to a home that will provide more-than-average structure and guidance. Too much freedom definitely is too much of a good thing in Riley's case! He needs to engage in some work (such as obedience training or agility) to get his brain and body working calmly together, and to help him feel balanced and looking to his humans for instructions when he is frustrated or excited. The best home for Riley would be one that could manage some sort of schedule of training and exercise into Riley's day and stick to that schedule, and who could work with the occasional grumble from Himself. A home with older children or adults able to engage him in appropriate physical play would be nice for Riley. An owner who'd like to pursue obedience or some other structured canine activity would be fantastic for Riley's busy mind and general zest for life. Riley has a very strong prey drive, so a home with no cats would be necessary. Riley gets along very well with the elderly senior male kerry in his foster home, and is learning how to pass dogs he meets on the street without having to give the other dog the unabridged "I'm a kerry male" routine. A large, securely fenced yard would be wonderful, as Riley loves chasing his tennis ball and keeping the yard clear of rabbits and squirrels, or simply romping with his people as they pretend to chase and play-bow with him. Riley loves walks, car rides, and adventures of all sorts! If you're looking for a keen, strong-willed but very rewarding kerry, maybe Riley is your man!

Riley was adopted in August, 2010.

From: sharonarkoff@YAHOO.COM
Subject: [KBL] Remember Riley? (Long)
Date: November 6, 2010 8:43:32 AM PDT

I thought I'd post this message to the list because so many people were hoping Riley, our gorgeous young male with serious territorial aggression issues, would "make it," and so many people contributed to the cost of his rehab.

My own favorite memory of Riley is of the last day he spent with me, and we went for a walk in the local conservation land. I could let Riley run off-leash as long as he had his 30-foot training lead attached, and that way he could run and chase squirrels, etc. while I kept company with Riley's slow senior housemates, Seamus and Andrew. Riley had always been a little afraid of water -- he was fascinated by lakes and streams, but could not get up the courage to get his feet wet. This time, though, he summoned all his courage and stepped into the water! You have never seen a dog more proud of himself. A few minutes later, we came across a black lab and her owners near a small pond, and of course the lab invited Riley to play. Despite his total ineptitude at meeting other dogs (Riley's natural inclination was to charge, rush, snarl, growl, spin, and bite at his leash at the sight of another dog, which understandably upset the other dogs' humans), Riley loved, loved, loved playing with other dogs. To see him drop the emotional baggage of his early years and learn to play with friendly, well-socialized dogs was enough to make you cry, every time. So, here is the lab enticing Riley to play, and Riley desperately wants to, but..... the lab keeps running into the pond! Poor Riley hovered on the bank, barking, bowing, wagging, just beside himself over what to do. Then two more dogs came running out of the woods, and they jumped right in. Then, someone found a huge stick and took that into the pond! This was all too much for Riley. He cast aside his fears and leaped, ears and legs flying, into the drink! He then spent the next 15 minutes galloping in, out, through, and around the pond, sometimes with all four dogs holding on to the stick as they ran, while we owners stood there and took bets on how long it was going to be before the dogs tried to run through a 4-foot gap in the trees while all still gripping their 5-foot stick. Every so often, Riley would run back to me, his little glowing face just absolutely suffused with delight, his ears back in the "I'm so happy I'm going to burst" position, sit (good dog!), and look up at me as if to say, "Mom! Mom! Mom! Did you see me? Did you? This is just the Best Day Ever!"

However. Apparently that was not the best day ever, because he's having even better ones with his new home, as his owner relates below. Now, this does not mean that Rescue can take on any more aggressive kerries, or that we can repeat Riley's success, or ever find another adopter who was willing to work with a Riley. We want every kerry owner to invest in professional-level training with kind, clear, consistent methods from the start, so that a dog never gets into Riley's situation. However, lecture over, I thought everyone who
followed Riley's case might enjoy this message:

You mean my Ry-Guy the little love machine!?? He has turned into such a love bug.... [...]What a HUGE transformation this dog did with lots of love, attention and repetitive patterns and rules to follow, I think it will inspire anyone who may be having issues with behavioral problems!! He even drops toys/shoes on command now. I tell him almost everyday how PROUD I am of him and how much we love him! He eats it all up :_)


From: Sharon Arkoff <sharonarkoff@YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Riley, In memoriam
Date: April 24, 2012 9:17:43 AM PDT

Another inimitable personality has crossed the Rainbow Bridge; some list members may remember Reprehensible Riley who became Rehabilitated Riley, after the list very generously supported this rescue boy's rehab for resource aggression and howlingly inept social skills with other dogs. Riley came into Rescue at about 4 years old, and to our knowledge had spent most of his life in crates, being trained with shock collars or being backed into his crate by someone weilding a chair, etc. Yet, for all his problems, there was just something about him. He just had so damn much zest for life. And he was a stunning kerry.


Upon his rehabilitation, Riley learned to look to his humans for guidance, become a complete goofball around people and even cats, and learned to run and joust and chase sticks and balls in happy abandonment with a neighborhood of canine friends. Unfortunately, there was one enemy in the neighborhood and due to a miscommunication, the other dog seized an opportunity to go through two wooden fences to go after Riley (who did not cross his own fenceline, but did meet the other dog, who outweighed him by 50 lbs, head on). Riley's owners were there throughout, and at no time did Riley seem to be afraid or feeling pain. When the owners separated the dogs after what they say was less than a few seconds, Riley shook himself, trotted to his favorite perch on a large stump, and passed.

Riley's family is devastated. He was their first kerry, and of course a kerry leaves a huge hole. I know this is a dreadfud ending to report to any kerry's life, but at least I can assure the list that for the past two years, Riley had a wonderful life, and was truly, sparklingly, blissfully happy. Without the list's suppport at the time of his rescue, his story would have been far sadder. His family asks me to thank the list for having not given up on Riley when he needed the support of the kerry community, and thanks you all for letting Riley be part of their home.

--Sharon Arkoff
Rescue Director, Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation

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