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Rio - a Garrett/Smit Rescue story

The Story of Rio


She was full speed down the mountain road, zig-zagging back and forth on the left side of the pavement in front of our car - running like a river. This little black and white dog was about to change things – her life but more importantly, ours.


I had flown from Dallas to Tucson to visit my daughter/announcer Logan and her husband Beau to see their new house, do some art work for their place, give some landscape advice and visit. After settling in, enjoying their new place and playing with their mostly red heeler mutt, Midge, they recommended a drive up the Catalina Highway (also called the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway) to Mount Lemmon. It's a great one hour trip, that I recommend highly, that takes the traveler up from 3000 feet above sea level in Tucson to over 9000 feet while going through six climate zones from Sonoran Desert through grasslands to oak and evergreen forests. Great views and lots of "hoodoos" (tall, thin spires of weathered rock) treating the eyes along the way. This mountain ecosystem is called a "sky island." At the top of the trip is the small Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley ski resort and - yes there was still snow on the ground in March. After a nice lunch, we headed down.


Poor little rescue pooch with bloody feet cuddles with Logan


Midge was with us on the trip and of course I had continued my gentle yet persistent prodding that my little grand dog needed a canine companion. I had even suggested the size and type of dog that might be best. Kiddos love this type of advice.


Fate? Half way down the mountain road on the way back to Tucson, we saw her. For those of you thinking that life has set experiences, you might be reinforced by this tale. For those of you not in that camp, this might get you to rethink a bit.


Rio falls madly deeply in love with Logan, and vice-versa


Did we all three realize it the minute we saw her? Maybe. I knew it for sure when Beau stopped. She ran around the van toward me and I was able to grab her collar. Yeah – she had one on. Logan knew it when she picked her up, gently hugged the little beast and took her into the car in her arms. Beau knew when he saw what was going on. It seemed she was falling for us at the same time.


Howard with granddogs Midge (left) and Rio (right) and Logan


Little, bloody paws, and scared, she wasn't afraid of Midge at all and crashed asleep in Logan's arms. We called back to the restaurant – no reports of a missing dog, so we headed the rest of the way down the mountains to the first vet office we could find. The one we found was great, cleaned her and told us the blood was from wearing her nails down to the quick on the pavement. Her pads were worn red and tender as well. We later sprayed her little paws with food grade hydrogen peroxide and it seemed to help right away and she was able to walk on a leash the next day.


The plot thickens. Beau reluctantly searched and found her on one of the lost dog and rescue sites. After dealing with the surprising red tape, the message got to the apparent owner and she called Logan. Although a little unclear, it seems that the little mutt was spooked away from them by bicyclers or hikers and spent at least one night in the woods alone. She was apparently able to curl up in a tight ball in a hole somewhere to stay away from the coyotes which were making their presence known with their howls every night.


Midge (behind) is fine with  sharing with a new companion


After a few conversations and delays, Logan and the previous owner agreed that the pup would be best staying with her new family. Everyone was happy, even Midge, accepting her for walks, eating together and even sharing furniture for naps.



Naming the new family member took some time but Rio won out and she seems to like it.






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