Ruby – the stuffed toy collector

We had a black cocker spaniel named Magic who lived to be 10, was hit by a car and died in my arms. Two years later we decided to get another cocker but ended up with 2 sisters from the same litter-Ruby Sue and Sophie Mae.  Our daughter and my wife’s 3rdgrade class named them. Sophie loved to play ball, sit in my lap while I was driving and be outside in Maine when I was snow-blowing the driveway, no matter what the temperature. Even though she was the healthier of the two, she died at age 8.
Ruby, on the other hand, hated to play ball, insisted in sitting in the back seat, and loved to “mow” (chew softly) on her collection of stuffed toys we kept in a wicker basket. It was always fun to see her rummage thru the basket to pick out a different toy almost every day. We never figured out how she would make her choice. They were together day and night 24/7. When Ruby was a baby she had seizures and spent a week at Tufts Animal Clinic in Southboro, MA, (for $3,000!) and never had another one. She was very susceptible to ear infections and moles, and as you know, died of lip cancer. So even though her sister was the healthier of the 2, she outlived her by 6 years!
We took 3 weeks to drive cross country from Maine to Arizona when we moved here permanently and she loved every minute of the trip. She was my constant companion. I’ve had a few issues over the last 10-12 years and she was with me every step of the way. By that I mean she helped see me thru colon cancer, open heart surgery and PTSD issues later in life (I’m a Vietnam veteran…). Once out here she got to spend a lot of time with our grand children, ages 5  years and 9 months, and even though she had no previous experience with kids, was very gentle and patient with them, even when they’d pull her ears.
Even though she had this lip cancer that was s-o-o aggressive and huge, raw and bleeding, she never complained, continued to eat well and do her “business”, even on the day we had to put her down. The fact she was so healthy for her age, other than the lip cancer (that had also spread to her chest), is what we wrestled with every day and made the decision to put her down so awfully difficult.

Dave Gould, Phoenix AZ

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