December 19, 2011

It's Official! Ruby Is A Service Dog

One afternoon in July 2009, baby Ruby took a rare break from making mayhem and I watched her sleep. She wiggled her licorice jellybean nose at some terrific mischief in her puppy dream, and I had a thought.

I imagined that someday this three-month-old puppy—the one howling in her crate like a deranged chimp; conquering toys and toes with a mouthful of machetes; my little ringleader who disrupted all the other puppies in puppy classsomeday maybe this tiny firecracker could really become a service dog.

And if that was fate's chosen path for Ruby, this puppy who burrowed deep in my heart, I wanted her future partner to have all of her. Every moment of her fantastic, challenging, hilarious, beautiful puppyhood. So I started writing, and we followed her path, and those hundreds of blog posts led to this one.

Our puppy has found her partner. Ruby is David's service dog.

It seems serendipitous that the news of her partnership should come at this time of year. Knowing that Ruby will live each moment beside the person she loves most in the whole world is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.

Congratulations, David! And thank you for allowing all of us to share in these photographs of you and your partner. You and Ruby are an awesome team.

Raising Ruby, my first service puppy, was a remarkable journey for me and I'm so grateful for all the friends, old and new, who traveled the path with us. Thank you for joining me in a thousand smiles, a few tears, and then a thousand more smiles.

December 5, 2011

Ruby In Partnership Training!

With my heart so proud of a little yellow service puppy who grew into a beautiful service dog in training, I can now reveal the next chapter: Ruby has entered into partnership training!

Ruby has been matched with David, a 31-year-old amateur graphic designer and MMA enthusiast who has a spinal cord injury. David kindly offered to share the news of his partnership with Ruby to help continue Raising Ruby's mission of raising awareness for service dogs.

David also gave me permission to post this photo. I think they're going to make an awesome pair!

Over the next few weeks, David and Ruby will practice and receive instruction at home and in public. Partnership training is rigorous and there are no guarantees, but it's essential to completely prepare the team and make sure they are well suited for one another.

Many thanks to David for sharing this stage of Ruby's journey with all of us. David, we wish you and Ruby all the best in your training!