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Rio, a Most Exceptional Dog

Updated on December 18, 2014
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Pets of all kinds have shared Yvonne's life. They seem to find her when they are in need and she helps them find their forever home.

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

Source

Thankful Rio

St. Francis

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

There is about a 10-12 foot drop from the top of the bank to the turtle.
There is about a 10-12 foot drop from the top of the bank to the turtle.

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

The Tchefuncte River floods its banks several times a year.
The Tchefuncte River floods its banks several times a year. | Source

Quickly, Isn't Rio the most handsome & special dog?

See results

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 Years

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Rio was 12 weeks old when we found him.He grew into a handsome, friendly dog.When we had him neutered, there were minor complications & he didn't feel well.But soon he was back to normal sleeping with the 1st Chance.He can jump high and is very agile.Rio is a great catcher & loves to play ball.Wherever Rio goes, he makes doggy friends. This is in Coushatta, with his friend, Luke.Everyday, all year round he swims or wades in the river.Rio & Amos, the young full blooded Catahoula who runs 3 miles each day to visit us.Rio and 2nd Chance are buddies. Rio has helped 2nd Chance become more mellow.
Rio was 12 weeks old when we found him.
Rio was 12 weeks old when we found him.
He grew into a handsome, friendly dog.
He grew into a handsome, friendly dog.
When we had him neutered, there were minor complications & he didn't feel well.
When we had him neutered, there were minor complications & he didn't feel well.
But soon he was back to normal sleeping with the 1st Chance.
But soon he was back to normal sleeping with the 1st Chance.
He can jump high and is very agile.
He can jump high and is very agile.
Rio is a great catcher & loves to play ball.
Rio is a great catcher & loves to play ball.
Wherever Rio goes, he makes doggy friends. This is in Coushatta, with his friend, Luke.
Wherever Rio goes, he makes doggy friends. This is in Coushatta, with his friend, Luke.
Everyday, all year round he swims or wades in the river.
Everyday, all year round he swims or wades in the river.
Rio & Amos, the young full blooded Catahoula who runs 3 miles each day to visit us.
Rio & Amos, the young full blooded Catahoula who runs 3 miles each day to visit us.
Rio and 2nd Chance are buddies. Rio has helped 2nd Chance become more mellow.
Rio and 2nd Chance are buddies. Rio has helped 2nd Chance become more mellow.

Rio is Gone

Rio at 14 1/2 years old
Rio at 14 1/2 years old

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.

© 2009 Yvonne L. B.

Bark at us!

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    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      Enjoyed meeting Rio!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Rio you are one handsome fella!

    • Sniff It Out profile image

      Sniff It Out 8 years ago

      Great story! Rio is a good looking boy, I enjoyed reading about him :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I love Rio - very special dog!

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      What a sweet dog!

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

      LouiseKirkpatrick 8 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      Rio looks scrummy :) I love doggies (got 3 of my own) - please give him a big hug and a snuggle from me :D

    • Laura Schofield profile image

      Laura Schofield 8 years ago from Chicago, IL USA

      This is such a great tribute to Rio. I'm sure he keeps you in very good company.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      Wonderful lens... Squid Angel Blessings for Rio.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 8 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Rio is adorable! He is very lucky to have you! :)

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 8 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      What a lucky dog to have a nice mom like you!

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 8 years ago

      Now I am a fan of Rio's. He ought to have a fan club. I'm lensrolling this to my dog lens. The picture of Rio snoozing on your hubby shows he might be a little bit rotten. Am I right? I loved reading this story.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      What a beautiful love story. 5*, fav and lensrolled. Love, darcie

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      amazing! I loved this 5* and favoured - hugs

    • pkmcruk profile image

      pkmcr 7 years ago from Cheshire UK

      What a wonderful lens - Blessed by a Squid Angel

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      What a beautiful tribute to an amazing dog and wonderful owners! Funny - we just moved from Shreveport by the Red River, and while there we also adopted a catahoula/pointer mix.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Is Rio about 13 now? How is his health?

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      What a beautiful tribute to an amazing dog and wonderful owners! Funny - we just moved from Shreveport by the Red River, and while there we also adopted a catahoula/pointer mix.

    • naturegirl7s profile image
      Author

      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      @anonymous: We walk Rio and his "little brother", Chance, to the Tchefuncte River and back each day, so he's stayed pretty fit. We also make sure that he has his yearly check ups and vaccinations.

    • naturegirl7s profile image
      Author

      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      @anonymous: Thanks, but all the credit goes to Rio.

    • SongDog profile image

      SongDog 7 years ago

      Great lens! Rio is adorable! (I like your hummingbird also!)

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      It sure was nice to meet Rio and he is amazing. I loved reading the story of the turtles and seeing the great photos.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      What a gorgeous dog you have in Rio. He looks a bit like our Jack Russell in his face. I'm so glad you rescued him and gave him a good home. Bless him. You really are lovely. I'm now following you on Twitter.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 7 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      What a great lens! Rio is certainly a special dog.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I have to admit I'm not really a Dog person (cats are my thing :), but every now and then a special dog comes along you can't resist. RIO is one such dog ... and I think I've just fallen in love with him! You've told his story with a lot of Love and 'fantastic photos' (My favorite part is the story of Rio and St. Francis) in a beautiful presentation!

      Rio is so lucky to have found his 'perfect' family, and you are the luckiest of all :-).

      ~~Blessed by an Angel~~

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you so very much for sharing your very special Rio with us * wipes tears * So precious! - Squidhugs, Kathy

    • profile image

      ShamanicShift 6 years ago

      Your lenses about your wondrous pack get more and more amazing, the more I read! WOW.

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 6 years ago from Naperville, IL

      What a special story! Rio is a very lucky dog. You've given him a wonderful life, and he gives you unconditional love and companionship in return. Very touching story. Dogs and dog lovers are the best!

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 6 years ago

      I loved reading about Rio. What a beautiful dog. You are very lucky to have each other. I had to vote I think my dog is better. :) There is nothing like a special dog. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • AWildDog profile image

      AWildDog 6 years ago

      Awesome lens for an awesome dog!

    • AWildDog profile image

      AWildDog 6 years ago

      Awesome lens for an awesome dog!

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 6 years ago from US/TN

      What a lovely story! Thanks for sharing.

    • Kelsey-Budden-16 profile image

      Kelsey-Budden-16 6 years ago

      Wow! What an awesome story! Rio is such a wonderful and handsome dog!

      I have a dog named Cheeko and she is a mixed breed. Half German Shepherd with Golden Retriever. She seems to have human values as well. Pretty interesting dogs we have!

      If you want to check it out, here is the link to my lens:

      https://hubpages.com/animals/my-dog-cheeko

      I hope you check it out!

      Where you live seems like such a magical place as well. I mean, for a dog to run 3 miles to go visit you guys is something else I tell ya! Another thing that made me smile, your cat Kelsey has the same name as me. Sorry about your loss though! I hope Rio brings you many more years of happiness!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 6 years ago

      Oh - wonderful photos! The one showing his ribs is so sad. I'm so glad you gave Rio a forever home. Thanks for intoducing me - perhaps you'd enjoy the last lens I made on

      my cat Kisser.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      What a lovely story and so passionately and well written. *-*blessed*-* and featured on Angel blessings for Dogs on Squidoo.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens! Dogs reward us for choosing them with the purest most selfless love there is. They're such faithful friends.

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 5 years ago from Gloucester

      Oh, Rio is just wonderful! Such a cute face, and how lovely to hear his story and adventures. Thanks so much for sharing them. :)

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      I've read your other lenses about Chance and 2nd Chance, so am really happy to get the whole scoop on Rio! Great job an all your lenses!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Your lovely story about special Rio made me smile, and I'm so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful life you gave him, he was a lucky dog and returned your kindness with his devotion. All the best.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      Rio made me laugh and he also made me cry. What a heart warming story of the beautiful spirit which your rescued puppy had within him. I read so many stories of animals that are rescued, it is so very sad that there must be so many suffer at the hands of those who cannot care, but a blessing that people such as yourself are here to bring them to safety.

    • thegrowlinggour profile image

      thegrowlinggour 4 years ago

      such a touching lens - thank you!

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 4 years ago from California

      Rio has quite a story. It is amazing how our 4 legged family members can tap into our hearts and minds. Some seem to have more of an instinct than others as to how we are feeling. There ability to love unconditionally makes them so special and such great companions. When you have that extra special one is so much harder when they are gone. Time heals but after having one special cat dying at 4 1/2 years back in 1990, I still find myself shedding a tear for her. Thanks for sharing about Rio.

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