Rio, a Most Exceptional Dog
Most Prized Pet
I really could never choose just one of my furry family over another, but if I was FORCED to, then I would have to choose our precious foundling, mostly Catahoula Leopard dog and Pointer mixed breed, Rio.
He has been a joy and a loyal companion since we found him as a cold, injured and hungry 12 week old puppy on December 26, 1997. He is our friend and the one who corrects our other pets when they "break the rules" and most of all, he is our heart. It is about time that he has his own lens, so here it is.
If you are lucky, you meet that special kindred spirit to share your life with... and he has 4 legs.
Rio is Found
We don't know where Rio's life began, but we suspect that he was dumped near my parents' house by the Red River in north Louisiana. A neighbor told us that there had been 3 spotted puppies that were stealing food from his big black Lab's bowl and that the Lab killed two of them. Rio was the only one left.
He was a very frightened little guy when we first saw him. We tried to coax him to us with food, but he wouldn't come so we put the food down and walked away. He snatched it and ran.
We were experiencing an especially cold winter and the temperature at night was in the teens, but my parents' kept the house so warm, that we always open a window. After we returned from the Christmas celebration, we were laying in bed and we heard whimpering outside. We knew it was the puppy and when I went outside, I found him huddled up next to the house, not far from the open window. He let me pick him up and put him in a box with lots of rags on the carport. My Mom did not allow dogs in the house, so that was the best we could do.
St Francis Among Pansies
The next morning, he was still there. We fed him and began to search the neighborhood to find out if he belonged to anyone. We heard the story about the 3 spotted pups being dumped and since no one claimed him, decided that we would bring him home to give to an elderly neighbor who had lost his dog a few months before
But when we got back to the house, Rio was gone! We searched everywhere, then finally went into the front yard. Rio was sitting in a sunbeam, looking up at the statue of St. Francis of Asissi that sat in Mom's birdbath, as if he was saying a prayer of thankfulness.
Not Left Again
We put Rio in a box and sat him on the back seat of the car and started back to south Louisiana. About ten miles from the house, we heard him making some little noises and we thought he had to go to the bathroom. We pulled off onto a farm road into a field and put him on the ground. Instead of doing his business, he cried. He thought that we were going to dump him like his cruel first owners did. Our hearts melted as we cuddled him up and put him back in the car. He did not make a sound for the next 3 hours.
Rio Healed Our Broken Heart
In October, before we found Rio, our loving and kind black and white male cat, Kelsey was killed. Al and I missed him terribly, but kind and loving, little black and white Rio filled that empty space in our life. It was almost as if Kelsey were back with us again.
Rio Finds a Home
Needless to say, the neighbor did not get Rio. We fell in love with his gentle spirit and well mannered ways. We named him Rio, because he was found by the Red River and he is part Catahoula. Catahoula Leopard Dog is a breed that was developed in Louisiana from Spanish war dogs that were left here during early explorations. Rio is Spanish for river.
He is the leader (well second in command behind Al and me) of our pack and he keeps all the other members in line, even the cats. He is our friend and our protector. He is one of the most amiable dogs that we have ever known.
To this day, he has only had one accident in the house and that was when he was a puppy and WE didn't understand what he was trying to tell us.
Slider Turtle at the River
We must add another story to Rio's lens. We know that he is an extra special dog, but he still surprises us with his understanding of situations.
It all started one morning recently, when Al was feeding bread to the turtles at the river. On this particular morning, one of the smaller male turtles grabbed the leg of a larger turtle and wouldn't let go even though Al waved his arms and threw things at it. So he decided to get a long stick and tap it on the back from the high bank where he was standing. Well, the stick didn't quite reach, so... yes, you guessed it... Al went down the bank a little more. All of a sudden the bank gave way and he began sliding. He tried to turn and grab onto something, but there was nothing to grab onto, so he hit the sandbar with his feet and fell backwards into the river.
The only thing that didn't go under water was his head and the sand made for a soft landing. Needless to say the turtles scattered and the biter let go of the other one's leg.
Rio and Chance watched the show and I believe they came down to help Al out of the water or maybe to join in the fun.
Three days later, when Al was feeding bread again, the same turtle grabbed onto another one's leg. Al yelled at it, while Rio watched. Then Al went to get a REALLY long stick, but as he approached the bank, Rio stepped in front of him and ran down the bank like a mountain goat to scatter the turtles.
Rio has always been the sergeant at arms of the pack, enforcing our commands to the other pack members, but in this case, he quickly realized that he could do what Al wanted done in a more safe and efficient manner and he did it without a word from Al.
Rio by the Tchefuncte
Quickly, Isn't Rio the most handsome & special dog?
Rather than me continuing to extol his virtues, why not see for yourself, what a wonderful little four legged person he is as you take a look at the picture gallery. Click on the small photos to enlarge them and read the text.
Rio Through the YearsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Rio is Gone
I am writing with tears flowing from my eyes. Our beloved Rio, who was 3 months shy of 15 years old, died sometime during the wee hours of the morning on June 10, 2012. His heart of gold finally gave out and he left his earthly body while he slept. I hope that all of his loved ones who have gone before him, both two-legged and four-legged, will guide him into heaven. He was the kind of friend that you have once in a lifetime and I am going to miss him sorely. Good by, brave Rio. You were loved by everyone who knew you.
Meet More of Rio's Tribe
- Dax - Tiny Kitten to Big Cat
Dax, the often photographed, feisty, gorgeous orange kitten is now a handsome, almost mellow, 20 lb. cat. He is still very photogentic and keeps us in stitches with his antics.
- Blaze Star, Our Tabby Cat
Blaze Star cat found us in 2003 and has entertained us with her antics since the day she turned up by the mailbox. Here you'll find her story and pictures that appear on many Zazzle products.
© 2009 Yvonne L B