My husband and I had talked about it for a long time. We wanted to make sure that we were both ready – financially and emotionally – for the responsibility of caring for another life. We waited until I secured a job closer to home – what is the point of adding to your family if you’ll never get to spend any time with them?
We spent Saturday afternoons running errands talking about the perfect name. Thinking up cute activities for us to do as a family of three.Then it happened: we brought our fur baby home.
Our little Ruby Red. A four pound miniature dachshund that we brought home from a breeder out in the middle of nowhere PA. We had seen pictures of her online, but nothing prepared us for the level of cute that we experienced upon seeing her the first time.
She clung to me on the drive home in the most endearing way. Right before she vomited all over me about an hour in the car ride. I was unfazed. Dog vomit or not, I was a mom. As our first child we accordingly lavished Ruby with attention and treats. I enrolled her in the finest of puppy kindergarten’s and spoke with the trainer about her progress. We explored new parks, took her for walks, and my Instagram feed was filled with pictures showcasing her adorable floppy ears and comically long form. My house slowly became filled with dachshund shaped salt n pepper shakers, coffee mugs with dachshund on them, and throw pillows. I was a hardcore dog mom and Ruby loved every minute of being spoiled rotten.
Fast forward to five years and two human children later and Ruby’s life is a little different. She did not take well to sharing the spotlight. A fact that was made abundantly clear when she proceeded to urinate on my legs while I was in the middle of a 5-days postpartum nursing session with AJR that required all of my focus. If you’re wondering how I handled this, I hysterically screamed for Joe and proceeded to finish the nursing session sitting in a puddle of warm dog urine rather than break a good latch.
Ruby is both a gift and a curse. Honestly, even though I blame her, I probably shouldn’t. We choose a dachshund based on it cuteness factor rather than its redeeming qualities. Things like stubbornness, the inability to ever be fully house-trained, and the non-stop barking at anything were all traits of the dachshund breed that we discovered after the fact. It’s not even the mere sight of the mail/UPS/FedEx truck that ignites her canine rage, but simply the SOUND of the damn truck rolling by that sets off a barking fit. And given the fact that I use my Amazon Prime membership on the reg, those two-day deliveries are happening all the time, which means Ruby is barking ALL THE TIME.
For better or worse (the worse being when she barks and ruins the naps that I’ve coerced our children into taking), Ruby is a part of our family. For someone that hates most people, she shows an extraordinary amount of patience with both of our children which may or may not be tied to how much food they drop on the ground. She unwillingly participates in Halloween costumes because she has no choice. She is a mainstay on the family Christmas card and if she didn’t loathe other people entirely, I would totally bring her with us to do family photos. She has gone on family vacations with us. She saves me the hassle of having to pick up the majority of the uneaten food that the kids fling to the ground.
Every night her warm little body burrows to the bottom of the bed and nestles into my legs with a soft sigh because finally she has her mom all to herself once again. I do love that damn dog. She makes me laugh. She makes me yell. She makes me bend down too often to pick up poop and is a big reason why we can’t have nice things or entertain guests as often as we like.
But I love her. Ruby will never yell “I hate you!” and slam a door in my face. However, she will revenge pee in our bedroom if things don’t go her way, so maybe that’s the same thing? Despite Ruby bearing the brunt of my frustrations, she is still waiting there with a wag of her tail and the saddest, biggest brown eyes that say “Rub my belly until your hand cramps up.” She is unconditional love in a furry, sausage-like form, which is why the gray creeping into her muzzle makes me a little teary.
Ruby is such a big part of our lives. She was one of Olivia’s first words. The kids run up the stairs in the morning to wish her good morning at 7:30am because someone in this house actually gets to sleep in. My husband and I argue over who she likes best (which is a futile exercise because it’s always going to be me).
It’s hard to believe you’ve been with us for five years, Ruby. Happy Birthday, Rubert. We love you.