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at the shelter, rivers first gesture was to offer me a tennis ball. he walked in
  diego on his nameplate  an escape artist and trouble maker. hed tried families
 before us to no avail. but it immediately stood out to me that he just wanted t
o play, and it was clear right away that he was a playful boy at heart. his free
 spirit had me convinced he would never be able to roam without a leash. our fir
st moments with him were on an oregon beach, pinned between the craggy cliffs an
d the tide, waves crashing into the sand, finding any way we could to satisfy hi
s desire to run out in the world without him running away. he ran in circles aro
und us, overjoyed. those moments of freedom are what he lived for.river received
 so much of this love in his life, and he made it so easy to give. the second th
ing river did at the shelter, only after dropping the tennis ball, was roll over
 for belly rubs. i admire that he knew exactly what he liked and that he would a
sk for it without hesitation. he could never get enough. he also knew exactly ho
w to give love. when first i brought miso here, even before they had met, i took
 solace in knowing that she would have a friend in river. he was the greatest bi
g brother i could have asked for for her, and its clear to me that river lives o
n through the teachings he passed on to miso how to play nicely, even with those
 that are different than you. how to care for your space and protect those that 
you love. how to rest and draw boundaries when you need to. river always intuite
d exactly what he needed to do, and he let his heart lead him. theres this quote
, if you live each day as if it was your last, one day, youll most certainly be 
right. river really did live that way, and we can all learn from the sense of pr
esence that he carried. he let his heart lead.i always wondered why river ran aw
ay from his previous owners how a dog whose beauty was only outmatched by his do
rkiness came to end up in a shelter. a true rarity. i think he found his way to 
the shelter because he knew that the search for love continues, even in the face
 of great odds. i know he felt loved with us. i believe that dogs have very deep
 feelings, just the way we do. just the way everybody does. and i think he knew 
there was someone out there that would love him just the way he way he was. the 
love that river received in his life is exemplified by the love that surrounded 
him in his death. and that is what matters. no one wants to die. and yet death i
s the destination that we all share no one has ever escaped it. those waves on t
he oregon beach  you see them rise as the water washes in toward the coast. they
 build and build until they crest, crashing into t                              


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