How a Golden Retriever Named Riley, Once Homeless in Puerto Rico, Found a New Home in Washington

By Jack Limpert

Our new dog Riley is our fifth golden retriever. The first four we adopted had no back stories–we got them as puppies. The last of the four was Cruiser—he died last fall.

We wanted another dog but this time we decided to get an older dog. We’re getting old, too.

Riley, dog number five,  was found homeless in Puerto Rico four months ago. He was brought to a shelter in Pennsylvania to make sure he was healthy enough to be adopted. After he spent three months at the shelter, we drove there, signed all the papers, and brought him home to our house in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC.

He was walked into our back yard where he could wander for an hour and then into the house. In the month we’ve had Riley—the name was given to him at the shelter, nobody knew what his name was in Puerto Rico—he seems happy but we wonder what he remembers.

He takes a lot of naps and we see his legs move like he’s running somewhere. Is he dreaming of being back in Puerto Rico? Does he remember his old owner?

My wife Jean and I walk him to a big park a block away from our house and he’s curious and friendly when he meets other dogs.

I’ve long been a dog person–I had dogs growing up in Wisconsin and they’ve always been great companions. As an editor for a DC magazine, I always found taking a dog for a morning walk let me think about what I wanted to accomplish that day.

Jean is a cat person. She has three cats who always have wandered the house and made friends with our other dogs.

Riley has had no experience with cats. He barks and chases them and they run away. Jean thinks her cats, not declawed,  will soon teach Riley that they live here too and he better get used to it.

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