Riley "Beagle Dog Ambassador"

The Wilson House in Monterey, VA located in beautiful Highland County, VA will never be the same. We lost one of our favorite reasons to come to this place, and it was a Beagle dog named Riley.  We met Riley in 2015 and fell in love with her as she greeted us with tail wagging excitement as soon as we opened the gate.  Riley passed away this week.  She lived a full life as the great beagle hunter, best friend to everyone she would meet, and an adventurer.  There was not a better ambassador for the
Wilson House. Lucky for us when we met her, she had a dog collar with a name tag.  Over the years she ripped off the collar and over the years Wilson House guests named her as they saw fit as there was no longer a name tag. According to the Wilson House guest book, the last name she was given was Barney. Ever guest mentioned Riley in their reviews of the Wilson House, even if they didn't know her name.

We surely enjoyed cuddles on the front porch. She would climb up in your lap and sit and then proceed to smell your breath so she knew what you last ate, in hopes there was some left even if it was on your lip. We also enjoyed watching her in action as the great chipmunk hunter. No chipmunk was safe at the Wilson House.  The owner of the Wilson House Mary always thought the holes under the house were dug by a groundhog.  We never had the heart to turn in Riley who dug those holes chasing chipmunks. Riley also fancied hunting squirrels, rabbits and groundhogs. Watching her chase full grown rabbits was a sight as she lagged significantly behind, possibly from her love for frequent snacking, yet she pursued with great excitement. Then one day we found a baby bunny in mouth.  We tried to rescue the bunny, but Riley would have no part in it.  There appeared to be a communication breakdown between us. Riley had great pride in her catches.  She would toss them in the air and roll all over them. Ode to Chipmunk was her favorite perfume.

When she wasn't hunting, she was planted on your lap. She actually preferred to occupy two laps at once for the full petting experience.  If someone slowed a bit on petting duties, she was sure to let you know.  Other times, she was on patrol, keeping the cattle and deer in line and the occasional wild animal and would quickly drive them off barking along the way.  Riley was a great companion and would happily trot along wherever you would walk and was in her element as long as she had people around or a scent to chase.

We spend 2 times a year at the Wilson House, 20 days in spring and 20 days in the fall. We realized we have spent roughly around 240 days for the last 6 years with this unique dog and friend and she was fully adopted into our family. We will miss her and so will everyone that frequented the Wilson House. None will miss her as much as her owners I think. Thanks to Brad & Brittany for sharing Riley with us all these years, even though you may not have had a choice in it.