Ruby: A Badass Love Story
by Tracie Masek (mom of Ruby)
Thirteen months ago, I was home visiting family in Ohio when I got a call from my husband, Chris. Given his general disdain of speaking on the phone, I was surprised to hear excitement in his voice; he couldn't wait to tell me that he'd walked past an adoption event for Badass animal rescue and fell in love with "like 7 dogs" but primarily a chubby little beagle named Elsie Hughes and a low-rider pittie smoosh named Buttercup. For years, we'd been talking about a theoretical future dog, but we "weren't ready," "weren't home often enough," and our landlord "did not allow pets" in our apartment that was "too small." I reminded him of that last hurdle, and he cut me off, "Oh, I already called the landlord and begged a little bit and she said she'd think about it and let us know, but she said the answer would probably be yes."
I was shocked. Chris had made two phone calls in one day.
Promising to talk more when I was home, I hung up with Chris, and my landlord called within the next few minutes. "Tell your husband he's going to be very happy," she said in her thick Polish accent. "Yes, you can have a dog. But. It must be quiet, like your apartment. And it must be small. Like your apartment."
Before I really stopped to think about the consequences, we'd submitted an application, begged our references to respond ASAP, and frantically cleaned our apartment for the home visit. We were approved right before the July adoption event. We had our eye on any dog who fit the small-like-our-apartment requirement, and went to the event without a clear favorite in mind, thinking we'd walk each dog and see if one "felt right."
We got there and immediately identified a few dogs that we'd had our eye on. Chris was bending over to pet one, when I saw a volunteer walk up carrying a tiny, wiry, shaking puppy who had just peed a little bit on the volunteer's shirt out of fear. It was the purest feeling of love at first sight, like a goddamn fairy tale. The sounds of the city faded away, and my vision narrowed so I could only focus on that little thing in her arms, the cutest and most pathetic dog I'd ever seen. MINE was all I could feel in my heart and my brain just gave up, and was, like "not even sure that thing's a dog, but fine."
I grabbed Chris's arm and watched the same reaction happen to him. He squealed in a pitch that I'd never heard come out of him before, and asked the volunteer if he could hold her. The volunteer suggested that we go around the corner where it was quieter to see if the puppy would walk or play a little bit. We set her down, and she tried to bolt and hide under a car. She peed a little bit more. Chris scooped her back up into his arms, and she licked her lips and pulled her ears back and begged with her giant frightened eyes for us to just please not kill her. We promised, and she didn't leave Chris's lap the rest of the adoption event.
We filled out the paperwork (my hand was shaking so much that I spelled my own name incorrectly), reviewed the contract, gathered her Heartguard and a pill to help with the tape worm she had picked up, and then we were dog owners. It wasn't hypothetical anymore. We were now mama and papa to 10 pound mutt, even though we said we'd never refer to ourselves as "mom" and "dad" of a dog.
I don't have the words to even explain how much we love this little ball of joy and sweetness and anxiety. So I told this long story about the day we got her instead. Happy adoptiversary Ruby! I promise one day, I will get you to walk down the stairs, but until then I will carry you against all trainers' advice because my love outshines and outweighs all logic and discipline.