Our sweet Chief Smile Officer, Riley, crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Sunday, October 17 after battling Hemangiosarcoma and related GI issues we could not get under control He is missed beyond words. Our hearts are shattered and we will miss seeing his wiggle but, soulful eyes and silly costumes in our store. Please read his story below and consider donating to his fundraiser to help the amazing shelter who rescued him first.
Our Chief Smile Office, Riley, had a special beginning to life. We first met him at the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals’ (ESMA) shelter in Cairo, Egypt in March 2012. He was laying on a metal bed frame, his leg dangling off. He had the saddest look in his eyes and looked defeated.
One of our friends who had come with us spent most of her time cleaning gunk out of his eyes. The shelter manager said Riley was depressed and shutdown, as he’d lived in a home and new what he was missing. He was the first dog we agreed to bring home with us.
We didn’t have plans to keep him. We had lost our inspiration and first CSO, Lucky, just 3 months prior and our hearts weren’t ready to love another dog. But, we decided to foster this sweet soul. The first night after his 24 hour journey, he jumped up on our bed and got between us and stayed there for 9 ½ years. He was home.
Riley will be missed at the store. He was the ambassador for rescue dogs. He was a good sport, who let me dress him up in all kinds of costumes, hats and wigs…all for a few baby carrots (he loved them!). He made our team and our customers smile.When we first got him, he was very shy, not confident and wouldn’t look us in the eye. He was afraid of tall men with hats and facial hair. Any kind of stick or cane scared him greatly. We don’t know what his life was like before the amazing rescue bought him from a “pet store” where he was literally skin and bones.
Rescue is hard here. Very hard. Its even harder in a country that doesn’t have the pet-loving culture we have. Many animals live on the streets. There are only a handful of private shelters. Except for the true animal lovers, most people prefer to buy breeds as a show of status. Mixed breeds (balady dogs, as they are called) are ignored, abused or worse…killed on the streets.
The ESMA shelter has over 2,000 dogs and cats in their care. They rely on support from abroad, from animal loving people who know rescue knows no borders. They scramble every day, week and month to care for these animals, scraping by on donations. There, shelters are lucky to do 50 adoptions a year…and send many animals abroad. The majority will spend their entire lives at the shelter. The founders and volunteers are amazing, giving their heart and soul against all odds.
In July this year, the CDC banned dogs from entering the US from 119 countries…including Egypt…so their adoptions have been greatly curtailed. It devastating. In honor of the 9 1/2 years of love, laughter and joy that Riley brought to us….we’d like to make a difference for the shelter w ho gave him a second chance at life.
Our pipe dream is to raise $9,500 for the ESMA Shelter. – $1,000 for every year of love. We’ve already raised $3,000. We understand some people may not approve and would rather we donated locally. We do through our store grants.
This fundraiser is to honor the difference Riley made to Second Life and to our lives. To help the shelter survive so they can save more dogs and cats and care for the ones they already love. To continue Riley’s legacy of love to help more gentle souls like him.
Facebook pays all the processing fees for you, so 100% of your donation goes directly to the nonprofit.
There are several ways to donate. Simply mention “Remembering Riley.”