Ruby is curled up in her bed beside my desk and she just let out a little sigh of contentment. Sometimes it seems as if my pets must get the best sleep, even in little snatches. Pet naps make me long for one of those really good naps you might get on a Sunday afternoon; one that really satisfies. She is dreaming now, her little triangle ears twitching and her eyes in active REM.
I was asked recently what my favorite thing about dogs is, and for pet owners, you all know that’s about like answering what’s your favorite thing about life? So I thought about it and of course, the immediate answer is unconditional love. I could wax philosophical about unconditional pet love for hours, as could most of us, so I won’t. Instead I thought today I would focus on my favorite things about Ruby, one of three of my pets, since we just passed her second anniversary with me.
Favorite of so many things about Ruby… 1. the sound of her tail thumping against whatever is nearby as she wags it in joy; 2. her obsession with my socks, which she carries around like security blankets; 3. the way she tucks treasures away, not the fact of it, but she’s soft-mouthed and is ever so delicate about pressing a sock or whatever into the folds of her bed or blankets; 4. her soulful deep brown eyes; 5. her sleeping positions, half in and half out of her bed, I wouldn’t be able to move in the morning if I slept that way.
Ruby joined my family two years ago. My Mom, Sister, Niece and I had gone up to a nearby mall and a local shelter had a little trailer parked there. I could stand my niece on the wheel well and she could look in at the dogs in their little windows, and right at toddler-eye-level was Ruby (at least that’s what we’ll call her here). She was listed as a Shiba Inu mix and she was so excited to get attention from us.
I blame my Sister for me bringing her home, though I’ll confess, it didn’t take much prodding. My sister asked about her and they brought her out. She didn’t have all her shots yet so she couldn’t walk on the ground. I carried her around and she just snuggled up on my shoulder (collective, “Aww!”) like she’d belonged there all her life. What a con artist! I do have a cat, so we brought her over to some kittens also up for adoption and she could not have cared less. (TIP: if you are looking for a dog to mix with cats, one good sign is if they display little to no interest in them; if you have cats, you know showing little to no interest in them is the only way to get a cat interested in you!)
We don’t know much about Ruby. She was found out wandering around Kettlemen City, CA, and if that location is unknown to you, picture the middle of nowhere with a few gas stations and fast food joints and a whole lot of dirt and scrub. The shelter thought she was about nine months old at the time and she was skin and bones (they had not had her long) but she filled out quickly. She seems to be a terrier mix, and sure, there may be some Shiba Inu in there, too. She resembles at times her “big sister” who indeed is full-bred Shiba Inu. She is possessive of me and clingy, and is wary around strangers, especially men, so we can infer that there is something not terribly happy in her past.
We’ve had our growing pains certainly and she still pushes a lot of buttons but she’s a good little dog. My father, whose example with animals I’ve tried to emulate, also says she’s turned into a good dog and that makes me proud. I confess, I probably did not need to add to my little single-gal with pets family. That many becomes a logistical issue when traveling or finding a home. But I also had a desire at the time, call it a need, to contribute to animal welfare and adopting a pet was always hovering around my subconscious just waiting for the right opportunity to present itself… and she did!