Rio was a “found” dog. We believe he was born on or about Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1997. On May 20th, of the same year, we found each other at the corner of Rio Rosa and Rio Royal Way in North Natomas, . He soon became a valued and treasured member of our family. He was also my constant, irreplaceable painting buddy.
After a lengthy and fruitless search for his original owner/guardian, Rio arrives at his new home.
Rio’s first day at the American River, Watt Avenue entrance, Sacramento CA. Over time we learned that while Rio loved to be around water and to wade in it, he didn’t have any desire to swim in it.
His fascination with tennis balls began early. If there was a tennis ball within sniffing range, Rio would find it even if he had to dig for it.
First time in the snow … Soda Springs, CA.
Rio quickly became my “painting buddy” on private paint outs, sketch trips, workshops, classes, and Free Fridays. Where my easel went, so went Rio. Priceless.
Rio loved to go to the river and never missed a Free Friday outing. His behavior? Flawless!
A well deserved cold drink in the early evening after a workshop. Location: Headwaters of the Sacramento River, Cantara Loop, Mount Shasta, CA.
Rio was a gentle, kind, patient, tolerant, giant. My wife, Marlene, and I were often asked about his breed to which we replied, “He is our Shepa-Laba-Weiler-Dane-Mastiff-tyrannosaurus. It seemed Rio’s main goal in life was to please us. Rio became angry only twice in his lifetime. Each event was at the expense of large, insistently aggressive dogs. In his prime he was 145 pounds of solid muscle. The final scorecard … Large, aggressive dogs: 0 … Rio: 2.
Rio was often recognized as a kind of honorary goodwill ambassador of the neighborhood. Folks who didn’t know us, knew Rio. It was not uncommon to have strangers ask, “Aren’t you the people we see walking that large, beautiful dog?” And then, of course, there was always a few passersby who would yell out, “Hey Woody/Marlene,are you walking Rio or is he walking you?”
Marlene (Rio’s “mother” figure) often joked that Rio was “Woody’s Supervisor.” It’s not surprising then that sharing an ice cream break with the boss became an extra special family ritual.
Free Friday, May 13, 2011. Heartfelt thanks to Bondi Abraham for taking this wonderful photo. We will treasure it forever. I had no idea Bondi was snapping pictures with her new iPad2. This photo captures the last few minutes of Rio’s final visit to the river. He so enjoyed this cool, shady spot he really didn’t want to leave. Marlene and I eventually carried our weakened 88 pound buddy to the car and home. Rio had a difficult night. The following morning Rio let us know it was time to say goodbye. He had one last ice cream bar. His gentle tongue eagerly relished the moment. Rio was put to final rest shortly after 9AM that morning.
Our buddy Rio. He was unique, what a dog might be, should be, or ought to be. If perfection were to exist, Rio would be the perfect dog. Priceless. Only brain damage can erase his memory. Born: April 14, 1997. Put to rest: May 14, 2011.
NOTE: MORE PHOTOS OF RIO CAN BE VIEWED HERE.