Rio Reluctantly Makes a Friend: An Animal Rescue Adventure

Nov 7, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures

by Lida Sideris

Lisa is a mystery writer and we have a review & giveaway of her latest mystery novel here in this issue.

Picking a canine companion for our nine-year-old Aussie Shepherd was no easy task. Rio had been sole dog for a long time and was not a very good host when canine friends visited our home. But we noticed he’d been sleeping more than usual, seldom exhibiting his boisterous, energetic side. We took him to a local shelter hoping he would pick out a housemate.



Rio rapidly and vocally dismissed each potential candidate, making his feelings well known to all around him and those in neighboring shelters as well. To be truthful, none of the other dogs seemed to be too taken with him, either, much as they wanted a home. We took walks with a few of the orphans, sat in the parlor of the shelter so they could eye and smell each other and tried all sorts of tricks to get Rio to give another dog a chance. He remained determined. As potential playmates came and went, I was certain we’d leave alone. Then I noticed a youngish German Shepherd quietly sitting in the corner, sympathetically watching Rio. She’d observed each ruckus without getting involved. The rescue director must have read my mind because she pointed to her and suddenly announced, “I think Barbie would be a good fit!”

She brought Barbie over to Rio. Either he was utterly exhausted or sensed we were leaving soon and let down his guard. They sniffed each other without incident. Barbie was the one. We learned that she’d been turned in the week before after outgrowing the tiny apartment her previous family lived in. She’d since been housed in an indoor, concrete area the size of a three-car garage with about 30, mostly large dogs.


Rio playing checkers

Barbie sat in the front seat with me when we drove home, while Rio lounged in the back. Rio completely ignored Barbie. It was as if she didn’t exist.

When we arrived home, Barbie gingerly walked through our grassy yard. Then she ran quick, joyous circles, ending it all by lying down and burying her snout in the grass, closing her eyes and inhaling deeply. It was as if she was wondering, “Is this for real?” She was in heaven. Meanwhile, Rio watched her, puzzled. He kept looking back and forth from her to us, as if to say, “Okay, you’ve had your fun. Now you can get rid of her. And don’t think she’s going to be eating out of my bowl, playing with my toys, or sleeping anywhere near me.”dog

Two years have passed. When I mentioned to a neighbor that Rio was 11 years old, he was stunned. “Are you sure?”



Although at first, Rio made his feelings for Barbie well known, and still whines periodically, insisting that she gets on his nerves, it’s a wonderful sight to watch them rolling on their backs, chasing errant squirrels, and playing happily together. Rio would deny it, but Barbie renewed his energy and zest. And after much coaxing, Rio even allowed her to sleep next to him, though sharing food is still out of the question.

We have two grateful, affectionate, and ever-loyal rescue dogs, constantly showing us their love. What more could we ask for?

Check out more pet stories and articles in our Pet Perspective section. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to one of several animal rescues.

Like her heroine, Corrie Locke, Lida Sideris hails from Los Angeles and worked as an entertainment attorney for a film studio. Unlike her heroine, she was not blackmailed into investigating the suspicious death of a co-worker. Lida resides in the northern tip of Southern California with her family, their rescue shepherds, and a flock of uppity chickens. She was the recipient of the Helen McCloy/Mystery Writers of America scholarship for mystery writing. Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters is her first novel. You can learn more on her website.

1 Comment

  1. What a nice article! Rescue dogs are the very best.


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