We have spent every New Years eve since 2006 at Red Robin with our friends, Grey and Heather. We added a new, and very cute, member last year with the addition of Cole to our little group. We started the tradition randomly in Raleigh in 2006 with Dale's college friends and ironically we ate at that same Raleigh Red Robin this past year. It is funny how you can never picture which direction your life will turn. If you asked me in 2006 if I ever planned on living in Raleigh I would have said no. We had fun eating with all the early birds at 5:30pm on New Years Eve and let me tell you, that place was packed. We all knew exactly what we wanted to order, no menus needed. Cole even enjoyed some delicious Red Robin fries and I think my husband loved me a little bit more for wearing flannel with him.
Later that night we lost our poor little Golden, Rio. Cole was in bed and we were all sitting around playing a really nerdy new board game when I noticed that the back gate was open and Rio was gone. The search was on in less than 10 minutes. We all walked around the neighborhood, hung up signs, posted on craigslist, and informed facebook that little Rio was missing. Now Rio is not that outdoorsy type and we were so afraid that she was going to just keep running and running until she came across people. She is not the type to run away at all. We don't usually put her on a leash if we are running around the yard and she has never run off. Hence, she did not have a collar on when she actually ran away due to fireworks. Anything loud and with surprise element is Rio's arch nemesis. We hunted for her until around 3:00am and we had to give up even though we were all so sad without little Rio. My sister and brother in law drove from Greensboro as soon as they heard Rio was missing to help look for her and I will be forever grateful for their love. We went to bed with so much sadness and all I could think about was she is gone forever and that someone had snatched her up and was going to keep her. Dale and I slept on the couch in the living room just in case she came home in the middle of the night we could hear her. We left her blanket on the back deck and another on the front porch along with her favorite soccer ball at the back gate to entice her home. Around 4:30am, Dale heard a scratch at the back door and it was Rio! We were overjoyed and mad at her all at the same time for giving us a heart attack. Dale and I hugged Rio so tight and even let her sleep between us on the couch for a couple hours. In the morning Rio woke everyone up by jumping up on the beds and acting like nothing ever happened. Cole was happy to see his doggie the next morning and he never even knew she was missing. We will never forget the New Years where we lost our sweet Rio. She is a important part of our family and we are so glad that she is home.
This is an old picture of Rio and Cole but I couldn't resist the sweetness and mushiness. Plus, it just goes to show that Rio's ball is never far.