River (formerly Maxx) – passed away May 5, 2023

My sweet friend River passed away on May 5th, 2023. My heart is broken yet overflowing with deep love for this extraordinary wondrous creature named River. He came into my life just shy of 5 years ago via NorCal GSP Rescue.

We had an awesome life together. He was both my trail buddy, hiking, jogging, walking many miles every day as well as my goofball snuggling couch potato at night. River loved to nap on the couch. He elevated sleeping to a work of art. I have one photo album consisting of all his different sleeping positions-variations of lying on his back, belly up, legs extended every which way!

River was a nervous velcro boy in the beginning but grew more confident every month. We taught each other many things. He taught me how to be patient, to be more in the moment, and to respect the mighty prey drive of GSPs. I taught him how to walk on leash, how to ride in the Jeep, how to be comfortable & have fun on road-trips. I also taught him how we could watch coyotes, turkeys, deer, & squirrels from a distance without going 100% bonkers.

I was forever in awe of his lightning speed & athleticism. I loved watching him go into stalking patrol mode once we left the yard for our hikes. It was like a switch flipped in his body. Heightened awareness turned to eleven, a stealthy slower walk, and taut quivering muscles that was a true thing of beauty. Once on a leash walk, he was walking by my side, a second later he pounces. His head comes up with two small pocket gophers in his mouth. No coyote could do any better. I was mortified yet quietly impressed by his hunting prowess.

I wanted many more years with River but terminal degenerative heart valve disease shortened our journey together. Holding him, saying goodbye to him in early May was excruciating but what gets me through this hard time is being so grateful for the life we had together. So in mix of tears & smiles I think of all the lovely daily moments we shared. The hang time on the couch together. The cute sounds he would make when he wanted his belly rubbed. His expressive snoring. The 1000s of miles on the trails. His utter joy upon receiving a new toy expressed by him tossing toy in the air while zooming around the yard catching toy repeat. And most of all his ecstatic wigglebutt greeting dances whenever I would come home whether I was gone 10 minutes or 4 hours. Everyone should be so lucky to be greeted this way.

I cherish every single moment. Words cannot express how much I miss my friend. River, I love you buddy. You were the best companion. You are with me always in my heart. Rest in peace and happy trails my dear sweet friend!

– Trish Carney

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