22 July 2012

Ruby's dark cloud.

Ruby got shortchanged in life. She got the crummy eyes. The crummy ears. Crummy tendons, crummy muscles, and on top of that, sometimes witches whisper things to her in her brain and scare her and make her hide under furniture. She is incredibly loyal, and takes it all in stride. Ruby is a dog that needs a little bit of help. It's my job to always take care of Ruby.

Her dark cloud blew in a few evenings past. In a bizarre, unpredicted and unprecedented flash, a big dog we know and love looked at her sniffing around in the grass, walked over and procceeded to jump her. Ruby, is a harmless and silent wisp who slips under the radar and is rarely even noticed by most dogs. Ruby is a terrier, but there's no fight left in her. She didn't see or hear it coming. I didn't either, until it was too late. This dog outweighs and outsizes her by a great deal, and she could do nothing but roll around screaming until I ran in and started pulling the big dog off.

The dark cloud kept coming.

Otterpop's known Trigger of Terrible is dogfights. Otterpop has nailed Ruby before, and the trigger is proximity to a dog fight. It's a hair trigger, and it's terrifying. This is the dark side of Otterpop, it's an awful thing to know about your own dog. We've done nothing but work on this and manage it. It hasn't been released in 16 months, and I had been working on would never be again, but the sound of the attack sent Otterpop into the fray. Onto Ruby, not the big dog.

I pulled off the big dog, I pulled off Otterpop, and somehow managed to deal with all the dogs. Luckily Gustavo steered himself clear of the whole situation. Ruby, miraculously, had not a drop of blood on her, only one little scratch. No puncture, no wounds, just sore all around, but she was very lucky as this didn't look to me like a minor scuffle. It was serious and ugly, and had I not been right there, not sure what the outcome would have been.

Wrong place, wrong time, life can be going along swimmingly and then that dark cloud blows in and life takes a turn.

We all spent a couple days recovering. Just being normal, everybody regaining everybody's trust. Mostly it seemed like it was my mind that was blown, all my dogs seemed back to normal. So decided to take a hike together Sunday in our favorite forest.

I had the brilliant idea to take a trail that isn't a trail. It's the river, down in a steep walled hollow, dry right now for summer, and thought we should walk the river bed to where the streams converge, deeper into the woods. This seemed a good idea at the time. It was cool down there, and we've never actually tried this, in the giant forest that we know so well.

The dark cloud, though, hadn't flown by.

Ruby can't jump off rocks and logs, she needs to walk on paths where I am walking ahead of her at all times. She can't see, and what she can see, I am pretty sure has no depth perception. So the further we headed down the rocky bed, the harder it was for her to judge her steps. I had to lift her down a lot, and show her where to walk. It was too much. And she started to get scared.

Ruby and Otterpop have always been awesome, reliable hiking dogs. Otterpop always sets the pace and finds the path, she runs ahead and runs back in. Gustavo does his Gustavo thing at the end of his rope, and Ruby walks the whole way by me. She almost always walks just behind my feet, making sure not to lag where she'd lose me, and this is how she figures out where to go.

When Ruby gets scared, the witches in her brain take over. They decided she had had enough, and told her to take off up the cliff. They told her she had to get out of the forest. In an unprecedented, unpredicatable flash, she was off, heading up a slippery vertical hill towards the ridge, in a part of the forest where there is no trail.

Ruby who can't hear. And can barely see. Who never leaves my side. Off she goes in a panic, slamming into downed trees and rocks, pummeling straight up.

Gary leashed the other dogs and stayed put, and I went climbing up behind her, clapping my hands together so she could hear the echo off the walls and at least know I was there.

The second time in days, I thought I might lose Ruby.

In her freak out, she realized that up that cliff wasn't a good place to be, and made her way back down to where I was. She wasn't happy to come with me, which made me very sad, but I had a leash and tied her to it and carried her back down to the riverbed.

Too far in to turn around, we kept making our way very slowly, one rock at a time, til we got back out to where the creeks all meet by the fallen log bridge and the trail emerges. But my good and happy Ruby just wanted out of her beloved forest, so we all walked up to the meadow to head home.

I think the cloud is gone. I hope I've blown it far away. Ruby endures, and will be ok. It's hard to guarantee how the wind blows. But I need to do more, whatever it takes, to make sure that dark cloud doesn't ever blow over Ruby again.


Anonymous said...

Poor Ruby! Here's hoping the cloud is gone.


vici whisner said...

Crap. Sometimes we have weekends like this. Don't beat your self up. Ruby will be fine, and so will you. Hugs to everyone.

Elf said...

Oh, man, that's all scary. I'm so glad Ruby's OK. Once when Jake's hearing had mostly gone, and we were at a big park, and he somehow lost track of where I was--I could see him with his tail down, starting to run, obviously looking for me, but AWAY from where I was. And I started yelling, and I guess maybe my voice reached him by echoing off far hills or trees, because then he started running even faster, and I was as scared as he was, running after him. It sucks getting old especially if you're a dog.