He came into the world a little bundle of black and white fluff, the
first of seven to breath the breath of life, in a hurry, almost as if he knew
even then that time was precious. We called him "Buster" because
he was always busting his way to the front to get that little bit of extra
attention. It was our first litter and we made so many mistakes that it
was a wonder how any of the tiny lives survived, but survive they did and, as
always, all too soon, they were shipped off to their new homes, all except
"Buster", He was the one we just couldn't part with. Our Alpha male, a
classic German Shepherd named Manitu (Indian Spirit), was aging and we decided
that "Buster" was to be his second, so, as avid Star Trek fans, we
named him Navio's Enterprise and called him "Riker". Manitu was
a patient, forgiving father figure for Riker, and when Manitu passed two years
later, Riker had already assumed the captaincy with Manitu's blessing.
He championed is a short time (Three Months), even though the judges were not
particularly fond of Partis. His bearing, movement, and personality won
over the hardest hearts. We always planned to Special him, but as with
most plans, never seemed to get around to it, and, as he grew older, we couldn't
think of him being away in the circuit. It was alright though, he was
always there to greet us when we came home, loved to sit by us and get an ear
scratched or a tummy rubbed. Headstrong, he'd get between me and my
computer keyboard demanding that petting and wouldn't budge till he got
it. He'd wag his tail so hard against things that he, more then once,
bloodied it, but it never stopped him from expressing his joy to be with us in
every way he could.
He loved to swim, and didn't get to do it often enough. We would go in
the yard with the hose and he would chase the stream of water all over the yard,
biting it whenever he could. We'd play fetch until he got tired, then he
would change the game to keep away. We'd take walks and he would stride by
my side, proud and happy.
He got badly hurt once, slicing the tendons in a rear leg, but with the help
of a little praying and some great Vets recovered so completely that no one but
Patty could tell the difference in his gate.
One evening I came home and
found he was sick to his stomach, so I rushed him to the emergency Vet, where
they determined that this stomach ache was caused by a virus, but, during the
workup discovered a large mass in the area of his kidneys. We immediately
set up surgery, the Vets went in, took one look, and closed him up. They
gave him 2 months, but he fooled them and survived, happy and active, for three,
then, in one day, let us know the time had come.