We’ve known for a long time that Dalmatians are coach dogs. We just never knew how much of an effect they could have on a trip while on the job, even if you are not being pulled by horses.
For nearly ten years, we traveled around the country for work and pleasure with Ridley keeping an eye on every part of the trip. I can’t tell you how many great people we met while exploring neighborhoods out for a walk, or testing the local dog friendly restaurants. He was the start of interesting conversations with people that if he had not been along, “hello” may have been all that was said. No matter where we went, Ridley always remembered if we had been there before, and the people we had met. He would get as excited about rolling into Venice as he did when we got close to home. Once, on set in LA, he was so excited about seeing someone he hadn’t seen in months, he wagged his tail so hard that when it hit something, he nearly broke it.
Ridley went to work with us everyday at our studio, and often when we worked on set. We have a lot of people to thank for going out of their way to help make that happen, and a lot of funny stories to tell because of it. Once we got booked into the Beverly Hills Wilshire because it was the closest dog friendly hotel to the set. Another time he was listed as crew in the production book so he would be allowed on the Paramount lot. Then there was the time he put the fire marshal at ease in the Los Angeles National Forest who insisted their picture be taken together. Another fireman story was visiting the Ghostbusters fire station in New York City.
Often, Mary and Ridley would take a walk before coming into the set. While they were out, the conversation would quickly turn to “Is Ridley here?”. He had a coat like velvet and petting him brought a calming presence to the set. He was always good for a laugh, everyone relaxed while hanging out with him. Forever the clown, he preferred to sit in chairs. That might have meant urging people to give up their seat. If a chair was not available, sitting on a person would suffice as an option to sitting on the ground. On many occasions, he stepped in as impromptu talent.
Ridley met every challenge we threw in front of him. If we were in, he was in, from riding for hours in the car, to climbing open mesh metal stairs, or riding a glass elevator to the 36th floor of the Hard Rock on Michigan Avenue. The one challenge Ridley could not beat was a bout with liver cancer. He fought it hard for almost two years, but we had to say goodbye Saturday November 5th.
Be safe on your journey, you goober. There are many people you made smile, and we’ll all miss you.