We left off when my middle son had to make a heart wrenching decision about his dog YoYo. YoYo was quite old and had been to the vet several times to try save him but his organs were failing. Their were decisions to be made and only one was the right one for YoYo. We put YoYo on his favorite bed and lifted him slowly towards the front door. While I was rushing to the front door to open it for YoYo's last trip Ruthie suddenly jumped up with her front paws and placed them on the bed that was carrying YoYo. She was perched up and looking at YoYo. YoYo struggled to lift his head slightly and looked right at Ruthie. It wasn't a quick curious glance but a longer look that took us all by surprise. We immediately stopped walking towards the door and took in what we were witnessing. Ruthie slowly put her nose to YoYo's nose as if to say goodbye and then jumped down and slumped away to the other side of the room. It seemed Ruthie was letting YoYo know that she understood he wasn't coming back. Of course I don't know but I like to think Ruthie was possibly letting YoYo know she was willing to have to be the Alpha dog and protect the house and it's occupants from this day forward. Her eyes looked sad and she laid down where YoYo's bed use to be on the floor. I stayed back with Ruthie while the rest of the family left with YoYo. I don't really know how she felt or what she understood but it was clear to all that day that Ruthie's life had changed and she knew it.
The family returned later that day in silence without YoYo in tow. We all knew what each other felt and talking about it wasn't going to help. I washed YoYo's bed and returned it to the floor where it previously laid. Ruthie immediately curled up on the bed and used that bed for many years. That bed, and where it laid, was a reminder of a dog our family once loved.
My youngest son moved away when he reached 18 and couldn't bring Ruthie with him because the apartment wouldn't allow dogs so Ruthie became mine. She has laid by my feet ever sense.
Ruthie was the only dog for awhile after YoYo died. It wasn't long though before my daughter brought to our house a Yorkiepoo puppy named Maxie. Ruthie loved that puppy as if it were hers. She taught Maxie everything YoYo had taught her. Unfortunately Maxie wasn't as good of a student as Ruthie was. Maxie was a handful but was loved dearly by everyone especially Ruthie. Ruthie stayed quite busy raising different puppies through the years. My daughter in-law brought a feisty Dachshund named Nancy into the house a few years later. Nancy acted like she owned the house. She made up for her small stature with attitude. My son and daughter in-law would always say "Nancy was one and half dogs long but a half dog tall." We loved Nancy but Ruthie regulated the dog mayhem better than any human. If Maxie was getting too rough with Nancy Ruthie would let Maxie know immediately he was treading on thin ice. I think Maxie was given the short end of the stick because Nancy could pretty much hold her own with Maxie.
Ruthie loved playing with all the dogs to a point, but what she really loved were the people in the house. My daughter in-law would play hide and seek and it was something to see. She would tell Ruthie to stay in the living-room and she would run off and hide. She would call Ruthie and Ruthie would go on the hunt. It was quite funny to see Ruthie looking in all the places my daughter in-law often hid before finding her. Of course Ruthie would always find her target and wag her tail in complete satisfaction.
Hide and Seek are just games in the past for Ruthie. She no longer has the energy to play. You can see by her picture her face is grey now and she walks pretty slow and methodical. At 16 years old the most she does, which I am thankful for, is greet me at the door with her tail wagging. She has guarded this house with great fervor and has loved all who lived here with intense abandon.
Ruthie is alone once more now. Nancy moved away with my daughter-in law many years ago and Maxie resides with my daughter at her own place now. Maybe it's better she lives alone now so she doesn't have to raise puppies. Her swimming days came to an end the summer before last. She took her last trip around the pool and wouldn't go in again. It's uncanny how she knows her limits. She no longer goes up the stairs at our mountain cabin. I think she realizes she may not make it back down. We have to lift her in the car now and she wags her tail gratefully.
I know I am not the only one who has a pet that is getting up in years. I hope this blog can bring some peace to others hearts as it has to mine by writing it. Ruthie deserves a great Memoir and this is my way of letting all who have known her that she truly is the greatest dog. When her time comes I know I will be heart broken as will others but I find solace in knowing I will see her again one day.
I want to thank my readers for indulging me and having patience. If this was difficult to read I promise you it was 10 times harder to write. God Bless all the dogs! They are truly man's best friend. Dogs never judge you and are always happy to see you. They provide companionship and love like nothing on earth. In todays rough and tumble climate among people I find great comfort in knowing my Ruthie is waiting for me tonight when I get home.