Monday, October 29, 2012


Getting a dog was the first order of business when we moved into our new, bigger place (besides unpacking, of course). It was something we'd talked about before we even started living together. Once we got settled in Portsmouth, Chris had almost all of August off--the perfect time to help the dog get settled.

We decided to go adopt from a shelter and give a less fortunate dog a home. That's not to say I didn't love the family dog from my childhood, a retired miniature show poodle with a storied pedigree. She was wonderful. But for us, adopting a rescue dog just seemed like the right thing to do. Before we started the process, we scoped out several shelters to get an idea of what it would be like. I found it an overwhelming, emotional experience, one that only hardened my resolve to adopt a dog. I wanted to take them all home with me. So many dogs (and cats!) in rows and rows of cages. No matter the circumstances of their arrival at the shelter, their confusion, sadness, and frustration were palpable. Some dogs barked, lunged, and snapped at the gates to their cages, which put all the others on edge. I have nothing but praise for the people who run these shelters--they must see heartbreaking things, and they do so much good. It's not an ideal situation, but at least these animals have shelter, food, and medical care.

One dog caught our attention immediately--she was quieter than the others, lying on some blankets, only barking when we approached her cage. She was scruffy and black and looked like she needed a bath. Her information page stated only that she was a terrier crossbreed, approximately two years old, and that she'd been found as a stray wandering a nearby town. The temporary name they'd given her was based on her appearance--Scruff.

We took her for a walk to see how we'd get along. She was eager to sniff at trees and bushes, but also willing to be petted and fussed over. She was curious but calm. And so cute! We agreed that she was the dog for us.

The rest is history. We renamed her Ruby, brought her home and gave her a bath. At first she was a little confused with her new surroundings. Her first few days she was very quiet and didn't want to play with any of the toys we'd gotten her. She even hid under our bed the first night (only to hop into bed with us in the middle of the night, giving us quite a scare). She now seems to have come out of her shell and is happy, energetic, and loves cuddling on the couch and sprinting around the garden. We have a lot of training to do, but I think we're off to a good start, and it will be a fun adventure.

Such a tough life!

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