is my family’s dog.
She is a long-haired German Shepherd.
My mom and sister brought her home after dad distinctly said: do not bring home a long-haired.
I was a freshman in college at the time, and came home for Spring Break to a new puppy in the kitchen.
We stayed up late deciding on a name.
I came up with Ruby because it’s the name of one of Laura’s grown-up aunts in Little House in the Big Woods.
I didn’t tell my family about that particular origin.
Ruby didn’t actually bark until she was three years old. Before then, she whined.
It was effective enough, I suppose.
Ruby will lick your hand, your face, your toes until they’re dripping with slobber.
If you’re napping on the couch and forget to turn your face toward the shelter of the pillow, she will come upon you as you sleep and swipe her tongue from your forehead to your chin.
If you choose to nap on the couch at our house, do not sleep with your mouth open.
Ruby is the only dog I’ve ever known who snorkels for rocks in the lake.
She will stick her entire face in the water, clamp her jaws around a particularly fine specimen, and tug until with a suction-like sound, she frees it from the sand.
She prefers to make as much noise as she can while she does this, in case you hadn’t already noticed what she was doing.
Ruby likes to tear up divots of grass and earth in the front yard.
It is not uncommon to spot a clover or two drooping down from her molars.
Ruby wags her tail with delight when I hide behind a door to scare her.
Sometimes she also pees a little from fright.
Hence, we now take our hide and seek outside.
Ruby will not go into the basement.
I once carried all forty pounds of her terrified puppy girth downstairs during a tornado warning, and she hasn’t gone near the stairs since.
If you try to beckon her downstairs, she will pee a little from fright.
And hide under the kitchen table.
Ruby perks her ears during animal programs on TV.
She will catch pieces of popcorn on the fly should you toss some her way.
She has quietly and swiftly dismembered every toy we have given her thus far.
Ruby hasn’t the courage of Lassie, the brute strength of Beethoven, nor the sensitivity of Hachiko.
She doesn’t seem to mind, though, so neither do we.