I know my father loves me. Without question, I’m his only child, the fruit of his loins, the apple of his eye – and aside from letting me drive his car, there is very little that he wouldn’t do for me.
That being said… if he and I were in a boat that capsized and he had to choose who to save, there is not a single doubt in my mind that I would lose to Riley. Yes, that Riley. The dog.
Dad and Riley share a very special bond that puzzles me beyond measure. I say this because Dad is a very reserved and self contained person. He doesn’t do mushy, he’s allergic to physical affection and for some reason he refuses to admit that he likes anything I introduce to him – movies, jokes, television programs, music, nada. But when it comes to Riley…
Allow me to share what happened over the weekend.
A year or so ago the vet advised us that Riley needed to have his teeth cleaned. The estimated cost was somewhere in the neighbourhood of “holy shit” but less than “fuck no’. Unfortunately since he also needs his eyes done (and THAT cost is in excess of what I paid for my car) we decided to save for the eye surgery and leave the teeth cleaning in the meantime. It sucks when you’re forced to make such a decision but since Riley is 13 and completely healthy otherwise, we figured he’d rather be able to see and just live off of soft food.
And then a couple of months ago, I discovered something called K9 Gentle Dental – an anaesthesia-free cleaning service for dogs. I looked into their history and was impressed with what I learned and was pleased to see they traveled around the lower mainland for client convenience. (They also offered an in-home service but I figured that Riley deserved to live in a Vet/Dentist/Groomer free safe zone) I sent the link to Dad and got the “Make it happen” go-ahead.
For those of you who are not familiar with my father, Flynn travels extensively for work and lives in Seattle. I still cannot accurately explain what that line of work is but even if I could, no one would believe me since most of my friends are convinced that he’s secretly Jason Bourne or something. (Spoiler alert: he’s not. He totally has most of his memory intact and can’t run as fast.) Anyhow, Flynn is a busy, busy dude.
So you can imagine my surprise when Mom told me that he was coming up on Friday since I was fairly certain that he was out of town.
“He is,” Mom said. “He gets in on Friday morning. He wants to go with Riley to the dentist.”
Okay. This probably shouldn’t have been a shock. He routinely calls to speak with Riley and occasionally Skypes with him from overseas. But considering he’d been on the road for a while, I would have expected him to want to chill for a bit before his next trip or at least spend the night at home before coming up for the day.
Dad flew in from Detroit at two in the afternoon, went home, unpacked (I suppose), did Dad things, loaded an overnight bag and drove up to Vancouver through the Friday evening traffic… just to be here to take Riley to the dentist – before turning back around to spend Sunday getting ready for another trip Monday morning.
To take Riley the dog…. to the dentist.
To the dentist.
Look, I’m not jealous but two years ago I had my tonsils removed and dad came up for the night and ate pizza in front of me. I had the equivalent of having my throat slit from the inside and my darling father came up, took hideous pictures of me in recovery through the little window in the door and then he and mom ordered pizza from my favorite place and ate it while I watched. (But he also slept on the couch opposite me and woke up every twenty minutes to make sure I took sips of water through the night)
My point is, we ALL know who his favorite child is.
Mom warned me that she had promised not to tell Riley that Dad was coming. I made no such promise so you’re damned right I told him. Yes, okay, it was petty but whatever! I also told him to act surprised so it’s not like I’m completely heartless. Besides, the dog can barely see out of one eye and never learned how to use his nose, I had to give him some advance warning so he didn’t embarrass himself.
Dad showed up, Riley was appropriately shocked, everything worked out fine.
Except the dentist.
All in all, Riley was very well behaved and probably would have made it through the cleaning like a champ if it had actually happened. Unfortunately he is a poor candidate for the procedure because the condition of his back teeth is too advanced for what this company does. The only option is to have a vet take care of him under anaesthesia.
The dentist was absolutely charming and she was very thorough in explaining what needs to be done and what our next steps should be. (I have no idea what those are, I tend to zone out whenever I’m in that situation but I’m pretty sure Dad took notes.). In the end, the only rough spot we encountered was when the dentist made the mistake of saying, “Let’s go,” when she was about to bring him back to us and Riley decided to test the laws of gravity by leaping out of her arms and down half a flight of stairs. It stunned him, nearly gave her a heart attack and scared the hell out of the rest of us but he appeared to be fine – just 100% ready to GTFO of there. (We’ve been keeping a close eye on him just in case his adrenaline was masking any injury but nothing has shown up yet thank the heavens)
All in all, it was a nice little visit. Dad taught me how to watch someone install a garbage disposal (I’m really good at it!), we made some yummy food together and then caught a movie. (Side note: The movie Get Out is freaking fantastic!) Of course we didn’t forget mom or Riley during our Daddy Daughter Date. We brought mom our leftover popcorn and then Dad cut up some of the fresh watermelon he bought earlier for Riley to enjoy.
To tell you the truth, I really love the relationship Riley has with Dad. They’re good for each other and they make each other happy. I hate watching them say goodbye after they’ve spent any length of time together. Mostly because Riley pouts for days and stops responding to his name for a while but also because it’s pretty obvious how much they love each other.
I guess if I have to share my dad then I’m glad it’s with Riley. There’s nothing quite like the bond between a boy and his dog.
“You’ve got troubles, and I’ve got ’em too,
There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you
We stick together and can see it through
‘Cause you’ve got a friend in me
You’ve got a friend in me…” ~ Randy Newman