Riding Bitch

The daily musings of a writer.


In less than 48 hours…

She will be airborne. Ruby sleeping by computer

This is the note I’m taping to the side of her travel crate:

Hi, my name is RUBY.

I am a 5 and 1/2 month old AmStaff mix. I am very friendly and sweet. I love all people and animals. I love to play and chew on shoes (but I promise not to chew on yours).

I have never been on a plane before or been away from my mommy for this long. Please be kind to me and help make this a good experience. Mommy plans on taking me on more flights (on United!).

It is okay to take me out of this crate to walk me. Just please don’t lose me on the tarmac.

Thank you.

Love, Ruby


Lessons From Ruby

Lesson 1 – Focus your energy on something that you love to do. Work hard at it.





 Lesson 2 – Immerse yourself in what you love to do. All in. 









Lesson 3 – Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the little things, like a beautiful sunset.







 Lesson 4 – Relax during your time off.











On November 6th, 2012 President Obama was re-elected — and Ruby started crate training.

Which will have more impact on my life?

No disrespect to the President, but in the near future I would have to say the crate training, which I was inspired/shamed into trying after a potential dog walker came over last night and basically told me I was doing everything wrong. Considering I had spent practically the entire day recovering from a terrible hangover due to celebrating my late husband’s 45th birthday at his favorite strip club the night before, I had to agree with her.

I promised to start immediately and do my homework. From my research these are some do’s and don’ts and my scorecard so far:

1. Crates should be large enough for the adult dog to stand, sit and stretch out. (The crate I bought is big enough, yay!)

2. Place the crate in an area so She is with you and part of family activities, even as an observer. (check!)

3. At night the crate should go in your bedroom. (check, as of last night)

4. Never take a pup out of a crate when she is fussing, as this rewards bad behavior. Wait till she stops fussing for about five minutes, and then take her out without a big welcome. (I did this wrong last night and this morning)

5. Be sure to give lots of praise when she’s inside, lengthening the periods you leave her in. (did not praise her enough)

6. Close the puppy in the crate at regular one-to-two-hour intervals, and whenever she must be left alone, for up to three or four hours. (we just started last night, but noted)

7. Never clean up a mess when the puppy is watching.(guilty as charged)

8. To prevent mistakes, don’t let your pup have the run of the house. If you must leave the room, even for a phone call, crate him or take her with you. (again, guilty)

9. Start a regular feeding schedule. Confine her after eating for 10 to 15 minutes, and then take her to the elimination spot. Say “Go pee.” PRAISE him after he eliminates. (I have been praising her, but not telling her to “go pee”)

10. Do not turn around and head home as soon as he poops. (guilty)

11. After a half hour of play, crate her for a nap. Every hour (or so as she ages) take her out to pee. If she pees, give her play time, if not, back into crate. Just remember prevention of mistakes, and rewarding for good behavior. (noted)

Approximate puppy bladder control:
6 weeks—elimination every hour
2 months—pup should have 2 to 3 hours of control
3 months—4 hours
4 months and up—5 hours
Many young dogs can go all night at 3 months.

12. Always take the puppy out the same door, the one you are going to want her to signal at. Bells work great for some owners. The dog will learn to swat the bell to get the door to open. (I only have one door, no bell as of yet)

Part of me is feeling like “what the hell did I get myself into? I need to be writing a pilot and finishing my book!!”

Another part of me feels like A. I need to suck it up and step it up, and B. she’s worth it.


Ruby 2


Four legs, white face, chest, paw, tip of tail, everything else a honey brown. 15 weeks.

We have known each other exactly one week and are still adjusting.

It must be so overwhelming to find yourself in a new environment, living with a stranger and introduced to so many new things at once. I’m pretty sure she knows I’m her mommy now. At the very least, she knows I’m the person who feeds and walks her, cleans after her accidents and snuggles with her at night.

I’m starting to get a better sense of her energy cycles, when she’s up and when she’s down. The first night she stayed up until after midnight, but I think it must have been nerves because now she gets tired about 9pm and will sleep through the night.

Other changes: the first night I took her out for a walk she practically walked in circles. Now she walks in a straight line but the first 10-15 minutes continue to be challenging. She will just sit there, not budging, whimpering, and looking over her shoulder at the apartment building’s front door.

Honestly, I’m not sure she realizes what the point is (she’s not housebroken yet). It’s also very distracting and sometimes scary, especially at night. She stops every 10 feet to stare at a tree, a car, a shadow, a person approaching 100 yards away. Everything arouses curiosity and/or apprehension.

But once she gets in a groove she’s really good, trotting right beside me, glancing up at me periodically. She still tries to run up every set of stairs and down every driveway. I have to keep reminding her, “We don’t live there.” When we do finally get to our building, she runs up the stairs with such enthusiasm it totally warms my heart.

After walks she plays for about 20 minutes then passes out. She sleeps in all kinds of funny positions, and sleeps so much that I actually Googled “how much do puppies sleep” to make sure she’s okay. Turns out puppies sleep almost 18-20 hours a day!

I’m trying to gradually teach her how to be by herself. So far, she can handle about 20 minutes and, interestingly, prefers to hang out under my desk instead of the crate I bought her. This weekend we’ll try a little longer and see how she does. If she doesn’t destroy the apartment, then the crate will be used for discipline purposes only.

She’s amazing. I’m exhausted but feel incredibly blessed to have this happy, warm, furry bundle of joy in my house. I can’t wait for all the adventures we’re going to have!!

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Ruby 1

According to the Urban Dictionary, the phrase “road dog” means “close friend; a traveling companion that one is most often seen with; a person going with you during your travels.”

Example for using it in a sentence:
Guy#1. hey are you going to the national hobo gathering?
Guy#2. nah man I’m waiting for my road dog to get out of jail.

I’m waiting for my future road dog to get out of jail too, though in her case it’s a dog shelter in Long Beach.

I met her at a pet adoption fair last Sunday and was compelled to hold her. She was so calm in my arms that I almost started crying. When I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. The next day I emailed the shelter lady to inquire about adopting.

But am I getting her for the right reasons? And am I a suitable mom? Several things worry me.

1. I’m still grieving my late husband. Every day this week I cried on the way to work, and before going to bed. It felt as if he died a few weeks ago, not 17 months ago. I’m not like this all the time (anymore) but these sudden waves still catch me off guard.

2. I’m a writer who needs her space. Will I still be able to write with a puppy around?

3. I’m actually not allowed to have pets in my building unless it’s a service animal. My therapist is going to write a letter saying I need an emotional support animal (ESA), so we should be okay (unless she barks a lot or bites someone).

4. Do I have enough patience? Patience has never been one of my strengths, though I do feel like I’ve grown quite a bit in the last couple of years.

5. Am I prepared to commit to someone again, knowing that her life will be in my hands and one day I will feel the pain of losing her?

6. Will she like motorcycles?

I suppose time will tell. All I know is I miss having love in the house. I miss taking care of another, and I’m tired of thinking about myself (or the past) all the time.

This is a picture of my future road dog, Ruby. She’s the one with the white face, cocking her head at camera. Maybe one day she’ll be riding in a sidecar, wearing goggles, her little ears flapping in the wind.