Friday, 14 September 2012

Save the Best for Last - Ruby

By:  Faye T.

How to begin with Ruby? There are so many stories that come to mind with my “Save the Best for Last” foster pup. I must confess that in the short time she was with me, I fell in love. Had I not had three dogs of my own, my first foster would have been a “foster fail.”

Ruby had been adopted and returned because of her high energy level. That wasn’t too much of an exaggeration. She was a bit of a whirlwind.  A play date with her brother Fritz led to a tired Fritz and an energized Ruby. I could see how she could tire someone out. I was told that in her first home she managed to break into the neighbors’ house, gather their clothes and shoes and spread them on the lawn…they had to change the doorknob! A bored Ruby was not a good thing, as she apparently became a felon.

What wasn’t mentioned was her intense desire to please, her gentle spirit and her incredible smarts. She learned very quickly what she should and shouldn’t be doing. That wasn’t to say she didn’t try to test the limits. She would do something she wasn’t supposed to do, like steal socks, and wait for me to respond to her.

I called her by a variety of nicknames, “Ruby, Ruby-doo”, “Ruby Gloom”, “Ruby Blue” (I was painting the living room and she helped a little) but finally settled on “Ruby Roo”. If she felt she was being criticized unfairly she would sit back on her haunches, make eye contact and “roo” back at me. As in, “Ah roo roo roo”. Her sense of justice extended to walks. If I corrected her on lead one too many times, in her opinion anyhow, she would grab the lead in her mouth and shake it hard as if to say, “See if you like it.”

Ruby in her foster mom's back yard.
She was a cuddle-bug too, and loved nothing more than to be with me. If I weren’t paying enough attention to her she would either jump on the couch to cuddle, or steal the nearest shoe. She never chewed a shoe, just paraded through the house wearing a huge doggy grin as she carried it past me. The idea, of course, was to give her attention. Ear rubs would cause her to stretch her neck like a little deer, and wait for her neck to be massaged too. She was also the master of the “drive-by licking.” A run past the sofa where I lay watching TV was cause for a fast lick as she moved past, and if I wasn’t appreciative enough, the cat’s ears could always stand a cleaning.

Ruby’s adoption was bittersweet. I could not have imagined a more perfect family for her if I had picked them myself. She has a sister named Olive, who is as highly active as she is herself, and two human dads who dote on her. I will confess that I did cry on the way home. She has such a presence that the house felt terribly empty. I am grateful for being given the chance to get to know her and to help bring her into a loving home. I have heard, “I couldn’t foster, I couldn’t give them up.”  I felt that way with Ruby.

I have since come to realize that fostering is actually very selfish. I get to love lots and lots of “fur babies”. I get to bring joy to the people who adopt them. I also get the support and friendship of a lot of people who understand how I feel about animals. 

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