Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Beautiful Ruby

Ruby Beagle is the canine love of my life. It’s true, even Dog Rock Gods have a weakness, and Ruby Beagle is mine. Which is not to say that I don’t absolutely adore our other puppies, Bubble and Gizmo, I do. And I’ve loved other dogs in my visit to this earth, Misty, Cooper, Ziggy, even Sparky who hated me because he previously held the position of my mother’s baby. And of course I love (most of) the dogs we walk. But Ruby is it for me.

After 10 years of a previous relationship, I finally talked my way into a dog – clearly a career as a salesperson would have been a mistake. Much better Dog Rock God.

OK. So having received permission, what sort of dog? Beagles have always looked cute. Get the Trading Post. There’s one just near where I work. Pop out and get her at lunchtime. Two to choose from. I pick the shy one and instantly know that her name is Ruby. Because, of course, no-one has ever named their dog, Ruby.

I show her off to everyone, cuddle her to bits and pieces, get her home and discover the poor little bugger has fleas and ear mites and I hadn’t even noticed the bent over tail which snooty beagle breeders later frowned on as a gay tail. Any being who is frowned on for anything gay immediately rockets in my estimation.

But back to the early days, She was as cute as cute could be. I’d take her on her walks and, after a short time she’d just flop down on the pavement, apparently exhausted. After a minute or so, she’d build up a big batch of energy and take off like a crazy thing, pulling and pulling on the lead until she tired again and did her puppy flop. During one such a pause, a well meaning women with a genuinely sympathetic tone enquired, “Is that your first beagle?”

Soon her meaning became apparent, but as we’re here to hail Ruby, I will just tell you that in her early years she ate a whole couch and caused the entire Balmain first grade rugby league team to mock me as I did laps of Rozelle hospital grounds, trying to cojole her to come back to me. Every time I passed them, they echoed me in a girly voice calling “Ruby, Ruby”. Schmucks.

We survived these early adventures and our bond grew to titanium strength when the ex walked out on us. Us! One day, said ex came to have a pretend civil discussion and proceeded to coo over now one year old Ruby who quickly turned on her paws, jumped on my lap, and stared down the infidel, not a smile in sight. That’s my girl!

Surviving that little episode, us single girls met the new, and improved, love of our life and a meeting was proposed between my Ruby and Meredith’s Great Danes, Ziggy and Cooper. Never one to be intimidated, the gorgeous Ruby raced straight into the house of this woman I was desperate to impress, and I mean raced, and pooed on Cooper’s bed. And I mean pooed.

Somehow Meredith’s eyes were still full of love goo and she overlooked our little indiscretion. The early days were a little rocky between my dog love and my human love. At one point I clearly remember one of them saying, no, make that shouting, “It’s either you or me Ruby”. From another room I do recall thinking that might not be a threat I can accommodate. I think the said threatener may have realised too, because things calmed down markedly after that. From then on she became our Ruby.

Fast forward to now. Ruby is 12 and a half – born July 24, 1997, possibly in a puppy brothel, certainly in Taree. She has been having a few neck problems, bit of a creaky back, and a lovely vet named Richard has been looking after her. On her second last visit Meredith requested that her anal glands be squeezed – super ick – because she’d been licking the area recently. Lots of stuff came out and he suggested she might have a bit of an infection. Routine follow up on Thursday, his jolly conversation suddenly gets a little serious as he has his finger up her bum. I know he does this sort of thing for a living so I know it isn’t a sudden distaste for his chosen career. No. Ruby seems to have a lump. Should I bring her back in a couple of weeks to see if it goes down? No. Get her straight to a specialist.

Next day, lovely Dr Katya Voss – how are these specialists so young? – confirms, very gently, that in all likelihood this is a cancer. My world is spinning now as I seem to understand that I need to hope that it hasn’t spread to the lymphs but if it has it can stay there for a long time before it inevitably goes to her – my beautiful Ruby’s beautiful lungs. No.

Just no.

The life expectancy of a beagle is 12 to 15 years. I want 15. Hell, I want 30!

We go back to Sydney Uni vet hospital tomorrow, me and my gorgeous Ruby who doesn’t seem sick at all, and she has a day of tests.

They’ve given me a long document to sign that tells me basically that I must cough up the dough before they will lay a finger on her and, if I don’t, they really don’t want to know about her. Also. In another really long passage, any mistakes they might accidentally commit upon this absolute dog love of my life, you guessed it …. not liable. I don’t want liable. I want mistake free, I want my 15 years. Let me be clear though, the vets have been wonderful, caring people. I'm merely protesting at the role the lawyers and the dodgy people of this world have played in throwing trust out the window.

Having said that, perhaps they will sign something to say they will do everything in their power to make her well. I know Dr Katya will, but why am I the only one who has to sign? It would also say that they will cuddle her all the time while she’s there, unless of course, she doesn’t want them to, and then they’ll stop. Additionally, they should handle her very gently, not put their fingers near her mouth because she doesn’t like that, make sure she gets neither too hot nor too cold, reassure her regularly that I will be back to pick her up as soon as they call me, give her as many treats as she wants when the procedures are through, make sure she gets taken for wees and poos so she doesn’t get uncomfortable, and grant her the last three years of her life. Please.

Having sought a million reassurances that they would give her plenty of love, I sent Ruby off for her tests and, guess what? Clear lungs, clear lymphs, and a most excellent chance that the big lump is nothing but a big lump of fat in a very odd place. I have those!!! Yay. Yay. Yay. Going for 15 years and beyond ... thanks Dr Katya!

1 comment:

  1. Oh Rubes- you had me scared for a while there- Glad you're ok. Much love and licks