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Ruby quickly became an indispensable part of the family. She would crawl on top of my back and fall asleep as I lied on the carpet watching TV each night. She would also wake up shortly before I would and start scratching at my door to get in. My mom would usually get to her before that and would lift her onto my bed. Ruby would wake me up by repeatedly licking my face.
When she grew big enough, she would jump onto my bed herself and wake me up in the same manner. Or, she’d just jump repeatedly at the side of the bed making a whining noise until I noticed her. This mostly happened when I was lying too close to the edge for her to get up there.
Waking up to something licking your face is strange. It is sloppy and startling, but not at all unpleasant. The blare of an alarm clock is a cold and sterile method as compared to a companion showing you how much she loves you and wants you to be with her. I have never been able to cajole anyone into waking me in the same manner in my adult life.
She would collect my socks if I left them on the floor. I’d find them in a pile somewhere later, or under the couch where she’d hide them if they were exquisitely smelly. I later trained her to put them into the clothes hamper when she found them.
And that was really what made Ruby so special. She was smart and easy to train, but less so because of her intellect. It was all mostly because she would do anything to please me. I never gave her treats as a reward, but if I told her “good dog” and gave her a rub on her chest she would continue whatever it was she thought she’d done to deserve it, and would never forget it.
I loved Ruby. My mom loved her too, but my mom is really sensitive in a way that I am not. I insisted that we get rid of Ruby, because we had 2 dogs and a cat already. Ruby would have to make some other family happy. So we took an ad out in the paper.
Two ladies responded to the ad. They came to take Ruby home to their apartment. A middle-aged lesbian couple (or so I assumed), they seemed nice and answered all of our questions reassuringly. So we adopted Ruby out and she exited our lives.
My mom took it hard. I was sad too, but I knew that she would be happy and that we’d get over it. But my mom never did. Day after day, and into several weeks my mom was seriously depressed over this. She’d cry and sulk. It seemed like she’d never come out of it. But Ruby’s story, and certainly our involvement in it, was definitely not over.—Ryan