She’s the Sweetest

RUTHIE

We walked down the corridor in the shelter for the second time. 

“Look at this one,” my friend curiously remarked.

She was the only dog not barking.  

We stopped to look, which is all I had planned on doing that day. 

“Oh,” my friend added.  “Her name is Ruthie.  How sweet.”

What an odd name for a dog, I thought to myself.

Ruthie.

Most dogs have exotic or quirky and whimsical names these days, it seems, but Ruthie is such a simple name, you know?

She put her paw up against the cage.  I touched it and so did my friend.

“She has puppy paws!” my friend exclaimed excitedly. 

My friend, Tiffany, was a dog whisperer in her own way.  Actually, she was more like a dog’s angel.  I was never sure whose side she was on when it came to her helping people and their beloved pets, a career which she had temporarily chosen.

“What do you mean puppy paws?” I asked.

“They’re soft!  Touch them,” Tiffany answered.

I’m pretty sure Ruthie became my dog the second I touched her paw and it was unusually soft!

“You should change her name,” the little boy who lived across the street from us told me the first day I took Ruthie out for a walk.

“Yeah!” agreed his young playmates.

“To what?” I asked, but none had an answer.

The children walked closer to us.  They tried petting Ruthie, but she became frightened by the youngest one.

She had been adopted for two weeks and returned to the shelter before I met her.  The shelter staff said the family had a toddler who was allergic to her.  That’s all they could tell me about her past.

Ruthie was indeed shedding a lot, but my gut told me it was from stress.  I was right too. 

After several days of living with me, she started to shine and I discovered, I had the softest dog in the world!  Everyone said so too.

I didn’t yet know she is also the sweetest, but I tell you, there isn’t one any sweeter than Ruthie is.

For the first few days of our lives together, her name came up for consideration.  Mostly because people remarked on how it wasn’t snazzy enough.

I forgot who it was, but somebody suggested that I read from the Book of Ruth in the Christian Bible. 

“In Ruth 1:16 and 17 Ruth tells Naomi, her Israelite mother in law, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.”  (SOURCE: Wikipedia).

I read the story and I knew my girl had the perfect name.

Ruth was loyal to Naomi, even after her husband, Naomi’s son, died.  Naomi had lost her husband and later lost her other son, leaving her widowed and without children. 

According to the law of the land, Ruth could have left for a better life, but instead she chose to stay with Naomi.  She married again and gave Naomi a grandson.

How could I think of changing little Ruthie’s name after reading that!  I had been given a gift, I believed. 

In the spirit of dogs and the love they give, my gift was a new dog.

I needed rescuing and I fully embraced the love from my new four-legged friend who had come to save my life.

After taking Ruthie to the dog store to show her off and buy a pretty new collar, we went home and I looked over her papers from the shelter.

I was surprised to see that Ruthie’s overall grade was an A-.

How could such a sweet loving dog not get an A, I wondered, so I read on.

“Ruthie pulls back when people lean in toward her,” the report read.

To get an A, a dog must also lean in when strange humans try to pet them, which I found curious.  I mean, if I had been abused, and I could tell that Ruthie had, then I wouldn’t lean in when strangers come toward me either.

I knew I had a smart dog!

Ruthie Mae is the sweetest dog in the world

Ruthie in her element hunting insects!

Without Ruthie Mae, I may not be alive today.

Ruthie didn’t save me from a burning building.  I’m not blind.  I have both legs, which I’m grateful for, and both arms too.  I am not in a wheelchair.

I am disabled by illnesses most people can’t see with their eyes. 

These illnesses have changed my life, and me.  I spend more time alone than I did before I got sick. 

I’ve also experienced significant loss of connection and sense of belonging, both in community and family, as a direct result of disability.  I lost my career and many people have judged me for what they can’t see or understand. 

Ruthie is my medical companion animal.  She’s officially an emotional support dog.   

Ruthie gets me outside.

She helps me want to keep going when chronic illness takes away my hope.

Ruthie is a teacher, like all dogs, I believe.  She shows me what love looks like. 

She teaches me compassion, tenderness and acceptance. 

It’s hard to put into words what all Ruthie means to me and how she helps me live.

Ruthie Mae’s love and companionship is always there for me.  No matter how sick I get, she loves me.  I don’t have to put on a well face for Ruthie.

Just yesterday, I was sad.  Ruthie jumped up on the bed and put her little paws across my ankles.  She gently laid her head on my leg.

“You really are the sweetest dog in the world,” I told her.  The tears stopped and I couldn’t help but take joy from the love I felt.

I thought about the kind of life she could have had if she had been adopted by a healthier person and one who has more money than I do.  I imagined her running in an open field of grass with her pack.  Then, I remembered the story of Ruth. 

Perhaps if Ruthie could choose, I imagined, she might choose me over anyone else, no matter what they had to offer her.

One thing I know.  I am loved. 

Ruthie Mae’s Human Mom,
Michelle.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Note:

This post is a follow up from the most recent one, “Help the Sweetest Dog in the World.” 

Thanks for reading, and if your heart moves you, please visit my campaign page here.

 


UPDATE:  5th June, 2014 

Thanks so much to the people who joined in to help me with my campaign!  I decided to cancel the campaign, mostly because my health worsened and I am no longer able to keep up with the necessary updates. 

I am truly grateful for the feedback and donations.  Ruthie is doing pretty well.  We haven’t figured out the best diet yet, but she’s hanging in there with my home cooked meals, mixed with the canned Hill’s ID. Continue reading

A Campaign for the Sweetest Dog in the World

Home ~ An Elusive Sense

An elusive sense that something was different caused me to take notice. 

In fact, it was just after the James Taylor bridge where we had turned toward the city, that a distant place inside me seemed to wake up.  My mind whispered long forgotten memories of a place I had once called home.  

sunlight, sky, branches, clouds

“You’ll have problems no matter where you go,” my former landlord remarked, after I told him I was moving. 

We were standing by the entrance to my front deck, beside the septic tank, where sewage was overflowing on the ground.  I held my tongue.  That particular problem wouldn’t be moving with me, I thought to myself.

We don’t have septic tanks in my new place. 

We do however have a history of flooding, so in a way, I guess the landlord was right.

Still, you gotta choose your battles in life, and I guess, the problems you’re willing to endure.

The street lights wake me up at strange hours of the morning.  I’ve been too busy to stop, unpack or put curtains on my windows. 

Pieces of me are in boxes, bills and various important documents spread across my floor.

I’ve yearned for the dark nights and shadows of trees.  They were my trees.  I especially miss the birds that lived among them. 

I felt I abandoned the birds, and in a way I did.   To tell why would take a lot of writing and it might be as hard to write, as it was to live.

There’s a big, puffed up and confident Mockingbird living in my new yard.  This bird rules the bird station.

mockingbird beautiful

The eager territorial bird has communicated its high status to all the feathered ones (except for the hawk).  They believe this Mockingbird too.  Even the large loud Bluejay gives the pretty white and grey bird the space it demands. 

I wonder what this means.  I wonder if the Mockingbird has something to say to me and if so, then what could it be?

One day, I’ll look back, I hope, and recall the beauty bestowed so freely in those woods where I lived.  I know I’ll remember the trees and beautiful moss that bloomed in springtime.  I’ll especially recall that the land and the wild ones that lived there was the place where Mother Nature penetrated my spirit.  

I’ll recall too the nights when after a day of chasing butterflies, and later watching birds,  the color of nature flooded my mind.

I have a new friend.  He’s an elder with great tales of sailing across the waters of Maine.  He reads me poetry and knows all the great literature!  We sit in his kitchen drinking instant, but good coffee.  On occasion, he calls to recite Shakespeare. 

Below, is the first poem he shared during our first visit together.

“Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land

And on the strangest sea,

Yet never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me.”

Emily Dickinson


Ruthie Mae likes our new home.   She has a furry neighbor friend named Happy.

Amazingly, there are as many birds here as in my wooded yard.  

I haven’t seen the beloved Mourning Dove, but we have a pond that’s home to a Great Blue Heron.  I dreamed of this bird two nights before I moved here.  I had seen it swoop down close to me, then powerfully and gracefully, back up again it flew. 

Upon waking, I heard the spirit of the bird say it would carry me to my new home.

Astonishingly, I worked without pain during the rest of my move, even while sleeping on a hard bamboo floor.

A Red-shouldered hawk lives here too.  Every tenant I’ve met mentions the hawk.  It perches not too far from my door on low branches of trees by the creek.

hawk is our neighborhood friend

Keeping an eye on things

I live by water, with birds.  I like that.  The mail carrier wears a postal suit (including the hat), like olden times.  I like that too.

The locals hold the vibe of this city’s heart.  That’s what felt different after we crossed the bridge on moving day.  I remembered the heartbeat of the people here, and I felt it run through me. 

I am glad to be home, again.

Thanks for visiting my blog, dogkisses, and please feel free to leave me your comments.

Ruthie Mae inspired what turned into a beautiful walk and an emotionally moving time for me.  We ventured out just before dusk, which is often the time of day I’m drawn to go outside, particularly when I’m in a melancholic mood.  I can’t think of anything that could have helped me more than our time together did.  It was perfect!

Ruthie saw a daring squirrel perched on a big tree.  She looked surprised when it didn’t immediately flee upon her arrival.  First, she appeared perplexed.  After a short moment, she had a hunter’s gaze that is so much a part of who she is, and which I do love.

There were several interesting sculptures in the park where we walked.  My favorite one is of three metal figures in the shape of women, holding their arms toward the sky.  They remind me of my two sisters, so I call them, The Three Sisters, but I don’t know the true title.

We came upon a bench formed into the shape of open hands.  I was especially inspired by the quote. 

park bench of open hands

The message touched my low spirit, lifting me from melancholia, to an inner place of hope.

“And Never Cease to Keep Your Wait

for Grace Lamp Ready.”

Hands Open.  Lighting Brown.

 

Thanks for visiting my blog, dogkisses, and I hope you have a blessed new year!

Open for Grace