River is a rescued puppy who is living her second life. At almost one year of age, she faced some health problems that seemed impossible to manage and she was brought to an emergency veterinary clinic, two days before Christmas. She belonged to a loving family and they lavished her with affection. She was well cared for and had been living a happy life. But her diagnosis was grim. A rare and complicated disease was advancing rapidly and the treatment would be costly. The medications, ongoing tests, veterinary care, and frequent checks were going to be overwhelming. Managing her care was going to be impossibly complicated, with uncertain results and her family was told there was no real hope.

A very difficult decision was made to end River’s suffering and preparations were made to say goodbye. River was literally a moment from taking her final breath when Serena, one of the veterinary assistants announced that she had an idea. She made a frantic call to her parents and asked if she could make an attempt at treatment and bring River home. Serena’s mother is a veterinarian, and between the two of them, managing River’s health care might be possible. With their expertise and access to testing and medication, they believed they could give River another chance. And by now, Serena had fallen in love with this gentle and beautiful little dog. Her owners readily agreed to the plan, knowing that River deserved a second chance.
River has responded to treatment well, although her health remains complicated. She will hopefully be a candidate for a complex heart surgery this spring that will fix some of her issues and prolong her life. She is also being given medication and undergoes blood work weekly to maintain a delicate balance.

Meanwhile, River shows how happy she is and how she takes advantage of every moment as if it is a gift. Simple things thrill this puppy and she greets each day with a wagging tail and a bouncy stride. She has learned that the sound of the ice maker provides her with something amusing to play with. She waits patiently, with an expectant look, until Cameron understands that she wants a few pieces of ice. She chews on some and chases others. To the delight of her entire adopted family, River chases the ice cube around the floor and bats it off walls and counters as if she is playing an energetic game of hockey. She finally picks up a chunk and runs full speed, slipping on the hardwood floor, on her way to a mat in the corner where she takes all of her prized toys and treats.

River has proven that second chances are to be met with enthusiasm and she doesn’t miss any opportunity to play and be happy.