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Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Life of Riley



In honor of the many servicemen who gave their lives for our country, I thought it would be fitting to share the story of Bill Mertens, a resident of the NH Veterans Home in Tilton, NH, who had a very special friendship with a 14 year old female black lab named Riley who visited Bill faithfully until she passed away on January 27, 2010.  


Riley's relationship with the Veterans Home began when she was just a puppy. Bill Mertens, a resident of the Home, used to walk by Riley's house on his way to downtown Tilton. Bill would stop and play with Riley on the way down the hill and would give her a treat. He'd do the same on the way back up to the Home. It didn't take long for Riley to figure out that if she stuck with Bill, she'd always end up with treats.


Bill Mertens passed away in 2007, but before he died, the Veterans Home staff brought Riley into his room, so she could say goodbye. Afterwards, Riley continued to come up to the Home for three weeks looking for Bill. Not easily discouraged, Riley figured out how to open the Home's automatic doors and began visiting nearly every day until for 11 years until the time of her death in January.

I was struck by Riley's story because she made such an impact on Bill's life and as well as on the lives of the veterans who gave our country so much.   It also reminded me about the healing power of animals and it is amazing how well they understand the needs of humans and all they want from us in return is food, shelter, a few walks, and lots of love.



21 comments:

  1. Thank you for stopping by and we are now followers of you~ Riley was a wonderful girl.

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  2. A lovely story; Riley was a beautiful baby with a big heart and lots of love to give!...There is nothing as healing to the human spirit as an animal's unconditional love...Happy Saturday friends...xo...Calle, Halle, Sukki

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  3. What a sweet and amazing story! Thank you for sharing!

    Bunny and her mom

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  4. Great story, thanks for sharing it with us. Especially remembering what Memorial Day is really all about.

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  5. These are my favorite kinds of stories! Thanks for sharing this with us today!!

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  6. People who don't like animals just hurt themselves, don't they.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

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  7. Riley's story is wonderful and inspirational! Thanks for sharing it!

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  8. That is a very beautiful and touching story! Thanks for sharing it! Lots of love, Debbie and Holly

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  9. Ahh. Now that dog is a hero too. Think of all the love he's giving the veterans there.

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  10. What a touching story about Riley.!
    Thanks for telling us, cheers!

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  11. What a touching story. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Oh, that is a very much BEAUTIFUL story! Thank you a million billion times over for sharing it with us!

    Wiggles & Wags,
    Mayzie

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  13. Even a pet sitter needs time off!! Surely you take a day off every now and again, right??
    Have fun anyway on Monday OK?
    Thanks for your visit!!! Was happy to see you...
    XXOO, Bambi & Fern

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  14. There's nothing better in this life than loving a dog, and having him or her love you back. Of this, I'm convinced.

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  15. That was pawesome. Thank you so much for sharing that with us.:)

    Love,
    Teddy Bear

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  16. What an awesome story! Thank you for sharing it!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

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  17. Hi So nice to meet you. This was my first blog hop and I think I did it all wrong! At least I found you!

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  18. What a beautiful story about Riley.

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  19. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and caring story.
    Hope you had a lovely weekend.

    Love, Bella.

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