When I was about 8 years old I spent all of the paper-route money that I’d saved up on a red wiener-dog puppy. We named the dachshund Cassie, and she quickly became part of the family. She was everything a wiener-dog is. She was loyal and strong-willed, loud, and heat-seeking. She would wake up every morning at about 7:30, just 5 minutes before the pool equipment came on, begging to be let outside. She would then spend the next hour chasing the automatic sweeper around the pool barking. The neighbors must have hated us and we’d tell her to shut up, but she didn’t care. It was her game, but truly she did despise that thing. But this little essay isn’t about Cassie. Continue reading
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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. Continue reading
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Weeks later, one of the women called us and told my mom that they just couldn’t keep Ruby anymore. She said that it was all just too much for them to handle. I suspect that I’ll never quite know the truth of the matter. Had my mom called them? Had Ruby just refused to acclimate and accept them as a substitute family? Had they just decided that a dog just wasn’t right for them? In hindsight, I’m sure they were more cat people. Or could it be that they knew something that they didn’t want to deal with? I’ll never know. Continue reading
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Ruby made it through her bout with the disease. The virus took a lot out of her, but she survived, and she eventually returned to the same pup we’d known before. There was no doubt that she loved us, in an emotional and committed way. There was also no doubt that we loved her and would never give her away again.
As her strength returned, I decided that all of her innate talent should not go to waste. I taught her commands in triplicate, English, German (which I was learning in high school), and hand signals. She learned all of this effortlessly. If I told her to stay, or held up my hand fingers up- palm facing her, she would stay for as long as I left her. Sometimes something would happen and she’d forget, but not usually. If I got distracted and left her there, sometimes I’d find her hours later asleep in the same spot. Continue reading
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When I went off to college most of my interaction with Ruby stopped. I was far away from her. She loved my mom and was fulfilled in her inner-dog. I would see her from time to time, and she was always as happy as a dog could be for us to visit. She was also always eager to prove that she knew all of her old tricks.
She was never one to spend a lot of time outside and never one to wander away from home. Some dogs are always trying to dig their way under the fence, or jump over it—but not Ruby. She preferred a warm couch to the great outdoors. This makes it very strange that she got out of the yard one day while I was away at college. Continue reading