Wednesday, October 28, 2009


  • A piece of food hits the floor - Ruby'll get it.

  • A student shows up for tutoring - My hand reaches reflexively for the gate to keep Ruby in the kitchen, even though before a bookbag opens students ask, "Can I go see Ruby?"

  • A knock on the door - I get up to answer anticipating the familiar tic-tac of Ruby's nails across the floor as she heads for the front door.

For several years, I tutored a young boy who took a real shine to Ruby. She would lie near the table as Alex and I worked together. Sometimes Alex would lie on the floor next to her as he did his spelling words or read a book. Though Alex has moved on with his studies, he often stops by to say hello and to see Ruby.

Halloween is just a few days away. Ruby always raises up and places her front feet on the window frame of the door so she can greet the trick-or-treaters. The kids ask for her if they don't see her there.

Over 13 years old, she still thinks she's a pup with her butt in the air and her front legs bent as she barks and tries to get you to run and play with her. She follows me everywhere; waits outside the bathroom door while I shower; shadows me from room to room even though her hips hurt whenever she gets up or lies down. I wish she would stay. I tell her to stay, that I'll be right back. But she insists that she should be wherever I am.

Yesterday, October 27th, was the first day she wasn't there to lap up a morsel of food that had fallen to the floor; to look at me with her head cocked to one side as she wonders why she's being banished to the kitchen this time; to beat me to the door as the guardian of our home. It was the first day she wasn't there to greet me when I came home.

There will be a series of firsts that will inevitably remind me of what is missing in our lives. And it's Ruby. You were such a good girl. I miss you terribly. Rest in peace dear, sweet Ruby.


  1. What a sad sad thing! You have certainly had your share of loss. I pray the future is kinder to you.

  2. It's so hard to lose a beloved pet. I've been through it... and will again many times. I have a lab mix who is just over 13 and I've seen him really begin to show his age in the past year. My heart goes out to you.