River is a very unique dog in many ways. She also eats very unusual things, like berries right from the bush. River recently accompanied her family on a trek into the wilderness in Ontario, Canada. They eagerly filled pails with ripe blackberries that filled the bushes under the power lines near their cottage. River is a crafty dog who learns quickly. She watched her humans picking the berries and she came over to see what they were up to. They were intrigued by her curiosity and they handed her a couple of the blackberries. River tasted them and she obviously decided they were not too bad. She started chewing the berries on the bush, enjoying the sweet berries. This isn't something that River's family expected. River is part Australian Shepherd and part border collie, along with a few other breeds mixed in. She is incredibly clever and she seems to understand more than the average dog. When her owners pointed out that she should eat only the ripe, black berries, River seemed to understand and she began being much more selective. Perhaps she had learned from the taste, or perhaps she really did understand what she was being told, but she became very skilled at nibbling only the ones that were ready for picking. River is a unique dog in other ways as well. She was born with a heart defect that allows blood to flow in the wrong direction through her heart when it beats quickly. When she becomes excited or fatigued, her back end loses circulation and she flops on the ground until her heart rate slows. Fortunately, River has found her forever home with a veterinarian and a veterinary assistant for owners. Her care is complex and her medication is expensive. Her first family loved her dearly, but they were not able to provide the care that she required and they made the difficult decision to rehome her. River has done well and she enjoys a very active life, with a few restrictions She spends her day on a large property and she enjoys daily walks in the forest. River's medication is a comical story in itself. She requires a liquid form of Viagra to manage her heart rate. This liquid is infused with beef broth powder to make it easier for dogs to cooperate as it is being administered. But when the medication runs short unexpectedly, a temporary supply of pills can be obtained through a pharmacy with a prescription from the veterinarian. River's owner, Dave often faces a barrage of questions and verbal precautions about being careful with the medication because it appears that he is purchasing the meds for his own use. It often takes a lot of explaining to convince pharmacy staff that the pills are really needed for a dog.
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