Riding Bitch

The daily musings of a writer.

The 4-Legged One


I’m turning the attention for a moment to my puppy Ruby, who is 9 months old now. Growing like a weed. Still sweet, playful and goofy but maturing as well, both physically and emotionally.

JT - on the road

So far, this dog has been to New York City, Vermont, Santa Barbara and Joshua Tree. She’s flown in an airplaine, ridden in a taxi, SUV and flatbed truck. She’s played in snow, sand and now the dusty desert. She’s met probably up to 75 dogs (36 in Vermont alone) and has had no issues. When another dog barks or growls at her, she looks at it like, “What’s your problem? CHILL.”

JT - lips flapping

Our trip to Joshua Tree two weeks ago was enlightening for both of us (last post about that weekend, promise). She was off-leash almost the entire time, able to come and go as she pleased, sniff and explore to her heart’s content. And boy, did she take advantage.

JT - Ruby and cactus

She was very curious about hay and firewood. But her favorite activity was chasing pheasants. I think she would have chased them into the next state if I hadn’t called for her. To my relief, she would stop and turn around, then slowly make her way back (unless she saw another bird). It was sort of a test for both of us, because I’m not used to her being out of sight.

When she ran to a neighbor’s yard and started chasing their chickens, that was another story. Chickens can’t fly away and for this family they are food. Left to her own devices Ruby would definitely have caught up to “lunch on legs.” She had to go on the leash and then go inside, from which she had to suffer the chickens taunting her.

JT - Ruby and chicken

Despite the chicken incident, her training does seem to be working. She will Come, Sit, Down, Stay and Leave it consistently, even at the dog park. She knows Go To Your Crate, Go To Bed, Go Inside (the car), and Go to the Back(seat). I swear she is learning Finish Your Food.

She is, however, getting more protective. She doesn’t bark at other dogs, but she does sometimes bark at men walking towards us, or when she’s startled, when she sees a skunk, when she hears a noise (in real life or on TV), when it’s totally quiet, and sometimes when I’m startled.

The other morning, while taking a shower, I saw a roach crawling along the bathroom wall. “Oh hell no,” I exclaimed. The puppy started barking. Here I am, trying to kill the roach before it crawls away, and calm Ruby down at the same time, while standing in the shower. Comical.

I’m still trying to figure out this new side of her, the side that barks and growls at shadows in the night. Usually, placing my hand on her side will calm her down to a quiet “hrummph”, then a very low “grrr” before she falls asleep again. I don’t mind her being protective, but I don’t want her to be paranoid or over-protective.

JT - Ruby watching sunrise

JT - Ruby asleep

All I can do is keep training her. She’s coming into her own, finding her voice. My friend T recently said, “You realize, she thinks she owns everything.” I responded, “That’s okay. She can think whatever she wants, as long as she listens to me, wherever we are, no matter what’s going on, no exceptions.”

We’re not quite there yet, but getting there.

JT - Ruby in truck

Author: nivaladiva

Freelance writer and independent filmmaker.

10 thoughts on “The 4-Legged One

  1. enjoy it! Ima would have loved this blog and Ruby too! thanks – this was a very nice read in between the zillion jobs I have to do at work.

  2. Love Ruby and the joy she brings to your life. Shine on!

  3. Aha! behind the wheel of a vehicle – yep, she owns everything:)

      • Yes, me too. Mine comes to work with me everyday. Her father (we co-parented her) treated her like a princess. She had the couch and she slept with him. She lives with me now since he passed away last year and, well, she owns my car, my couch – not my bed. And I am looking for a place to live and I have to take into consideration I have a 55lb dog who is a tripod. She can do stairs but now she is 8 the osteoarthritis is beginning. I need to find a ranch style home! Oy – she is my daughter;)

  4. This post, and the pics just make me smile! I’m behind on my reading, but I did see you mention that you got fresh pressed – congratulations!! Well deserved.

  5. Good looking short hairy kid! Sounds like she has some of the same characteristics as my Staffordshire Terrier mix Tekoa, he’s about 8 months old now, going through the same “finding his voice” kinda thing. Most of the time he is perfecting his two best traits – sleeping and drooling – at the same time in order to save energy.
    Thanks for sharing!

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