She runs like a greyhound, zooming into freedom in our enclosed yard. I wanted to run with her like I did as a teenager, free to release pent up angst and parental control. Now Bernice and I are the parental control. We cannot allow Ruby, our two-year-old black terrier mix with floppy ears, zoom free into oblivion chasing squirrels in the woods, ignoring my shouts to return home. I learned my lesson with previous dogs who were struck too many times with porcupine quills; their heads and faces shaking as the Vet yanked out the quills.
It’s been two years since our previous dog died at age 15. We weren’t planning on another dog for quite a while, enjoying travel. But Covid-19 changed those plans. The house was empty of youthful energy. With so many rescues needing a home, we added our name to the list of empty nesters wanting to give a fur-ever home to a needy dog.
Ruby arrived in Maine from a Mississippi foster home three months after birthing pups. Because of Covid, she stayed in her Maine foster home for an additional number of months. That was all we knew of her background, only seeing her picture with her upper body and head lovingly snuggled against her Mississippi foster mom’s neck, which tugged at our hearts. She was spayed in Maine, and we met her when we picked her up from the veterinary hospital two hours away.
The day after she arrived, we took her to our Vet as she intermittently limped. Turned out she had double hip dysplasia, gratefully at the beginning stage, and was put on Glucosamine and Chondroitin. It didn’t inhibit her need to run. Six months later, her limp was gone.
Huggable and loving she was – until we attempted to put a leash and easy harness on her, then she became a bucking bull! She also gave the Vet a challenging time with x-rays and cutting her nails; they had to drug her. What did we get ourselves into? I immediately unearthed our many dog books to read and found a trainer who came to the house – of course wearing our Covid masks.
Then we began the guessing game of her background. Was she a stray? Was she dumped on the street pregnant? She wasn’t afraid of storms, but definitely of rain. Would not go out to do her business in rain. Had she been tied up and left outside? Abused? Yet she was so loving. Oh, to be a fly on the wall of her early life.
A few months ago we had a DNA test and discovered some of her possible relatives. Someone in Maine contacted us with a significant match. I emailed with the dog’s owner, and it turned out one of Ruby’s pups was in Maine, named Bailey. Then we discovered the rest of her seven pups also came to Maine when she did, all dispersed. After further conversation with Bailey’s mom, we learned she had been in touch with the foster mom in Mississippi.
The Mississippi foster mom, Desiree, happily agreed to speak with us, a friendly and outgoing woman. Ruby was her first foster and told us she was observed bulging pregnant on a rainy night walking the streets and was taken to a “city pound” where she immediately gave birth. Ruby and her pups were turned over to the foster mom the day after the birth. Desiree sent us a picture of her nursing the pups in a baby’s swimming pool in the house, bewildered and weary.
When the pups were weaned, they and Ruby were delivered to Maine foster homes. Before leaving, Desiree wrote a note to go with each dog, including Ruby. All the new permanent Maine homes received the note with their dog, except for Ruby. It got lost a long the way; no note for us.
Now eight months later Ruby no longer challenges the harness; even sits for her winter coat, impatiently waiting for her daily walk. Cuddles with us, lays on her back with feet up in the air, trusting her home life, even watches TV, mainly programs with dogs. She continues to zoom in the pen, as well as in the doggie park nearby, and attends four hours of daycare a week. She digs through the snow to find moles or mice, eats snow and ice, and slides on her back down the pen on the icy snow. What more could we ask for! Hundreds of pictures taken. A happy Covid family.
Please don’t hesitate to share your rescue stories.
2021 © Roberta S. Kuriloff