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The Love of a Dog

Updated: Nov 18, 2021


January 2012 - October 2021

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself” -John Billings

Can you imagine having a friend who has stood by your side throughout every major life event that occurred over a decade? A friend who celebrated your wins and supported you through your losses. A friend who sat with you in your worst moments of grief and loved you when you least felt you deserved it. Can you imagine a friend so dedicated to you that they are willing to sit by the window from the moment you leave the house until the moment you return? Have you ever experienced a friendship or love that encompasses your every need without ever asking for anything more than a long walk, a few table scraps, and a belly rub? Well, that's what I received the moment I met Ruger. A friendship based solely on unconditional love.

Ruger has been with me through a decade of life's ups and downs. He was with me through a marriage and the life changing move that followed, requiring me to say goodbye to lifelong friends and the only family I have left. Then, almost a decade later, he was with me through a separation, and finally a divorce. Ruger spent many days supporting me through my dads suicide, often requiring me to get out of bed when all I wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and embrace the darkness of my deep, debilitating sorrow. Ruger was a comfort to my son when his father finally lost his life long battle with alcoholism and I had to tell him at 14 years old that he would never see his dad again. It was also Ruger that I clung to when my grandma, who had given me so many of my beautiful childhood memories, passed away.

Ruger was also there through my youngest sons autism diagnosis and therapy journey, and through all the moments of tribulation that came from people who didn't understand, which included negative comments from people I thought were family, and more importantly friends. He was my support while we figured out how to get my son everything he needed and watched with me as my son started to flourish and thrive.

In addition, Ruger was a beacon of support when I was struggling with my hypothyroidism, my anxiety and panic attacks, and when I was so sick, I was certain I was going to die. As a matter of fact, he was by my side when I wrote my last wishes and letters to each of my sons. He was also my walking buddy each and every time over the years I struggled with my weight and needed an accountability partner. We spent many evenings walking up and down the dirt road near our home.

Another thing he loved was when I brought him up to the Lake. We would walk the trail up the hill and down to the water, where he would play until I reluctantly made him leave. He loved to go on long car rides, even if he never got out. He'd do this funny thing where he would put his nose on the window, no matter how hot or cold it was, and wait for you to roll it down so he could stick his head out. I spent a few car rides freezing in 20 degree outside temperatures just so he could smell the fresh, crisp cold air. He equally loved to lay across the middle compartment of the car, the stick shift between his neck, and head in my lap. He'd do just about anything for a little bit of love and affection.

He was the best dog that ever came along, and, for me, Ruger wasn't just a dog; he was my best friend.

Some people think it is ridiculous that anyone could ever love a dog so much, but the truth is, I love him more than I love some people in my family! It's the truth. He never pretended to be something he wasn't, never stole from me, and never treated me bad or took advantage of my kindness. Okay... maybe he did beg a little for treats and leftovers and hesitate, reluctantly coming inside when I called him, but that was the worst it ever got. I tried every day to be the person he thought I was, and I am thankful beyond measure that our lives were entwined. I miss you, Buddy.

I am writing this post for two reasons. The first reason is that I want everyone to know how special Ruger was and how much joy he brought to my life. My purpose in life and quality of how I lived in the world improved 1,000 percent because this mischievous, fun loving, wonderful soul became a part of my life; and I want everyone to know his legacy will be everlasting and never forgotten by me.

The second reason I am writing this post is that I want people to have an appreciation for everything dogs (and many animals) can bring to our lives. If you are in a position to be able to bring a dog into your life and you feel you can provide a loving home, I encourage you to do your research and consider adding a furry friend to your family. I am not against getting a puppy from a reputable breeder, but make sure you do your research and that they are treating their animals with love and respect. Another option is adoption. There are so many dogs (and other loving animals) that are in need of a good home, and it is a gift you can give to them in return for the many gifts they will give to you. I promise you; your life will be enriched in unimaginable ways.

My wish for you is that you may you find your very own Ruger; and experience the joy of unconditional love.


P.S. Here was my Facebook tribute the day after we lost him:

Yesterday and today were the hardest days. My buddy Ruger has been a part of my life just shy of a decade. A constant, unwavering companion through all of life’s ups and downs. Last Monday he was healthy, vibrant, and full of life. Very unexpectedly on Friday we had to put him down. He has survived so many escapades, but this one he just couldn’t overcome. We have had a lot of memories sprinkled with his existence and it’s hard to remember life before him and nearly unbearable to imagine life moving forward without him. He was everything to our family. Ruger would spend hours chasing gophers and digging holes in our yard so big that all you’d see was the tip of his tail sticking out! Once, he spent all summer chasing a gopher and was proud as a peacock when he found it and brought it to me. Yuck. LOL. This was one of many of his very few unpleasant gifts over the years. The worst was when he brought me a freshly caught mouse IN BED! That was unpleasant to wake up to and I screamed so loud Koyer, and all his friends came running up from the basement at 2 am!! Another Ruger classic was the time we were staying at my parents’ house (who do not allow pets in their bed) and I hear my mom say, “hey, how’d this cheese stick get under my pillow?” ROTFL. I could go on and on with shenanigans this pup got into. He was Koyer’s buddy, Hank’s meal cleanup crew, and my snuggle buddy. His personality was mischievous and loyal, hilariously sly, and notoriously Slytherin, lol. And above all else, he LOVED his people unconditionally and with full acceptance. It was the greatest gift to be blessed by his life and I will remember and love him eternally. I miss you, Buddy. Thank you for all you brought to our lives. May Heaven be filled with bounds of chaseable gophers, sugary milk, steak dinners and fields upon fields of room to run. See you on the other side, Buddy. I love you.

Lastly, here is a very small sampling of Ruger over the years:

Everything I Need to Know in Life, I Learned from My Dog - unknown

Always be loyal to those who love and care for you.

When a loved one comes home, always run and greet them.

Never miss a chance to get close and snuggle up.

Take regular naps and always stretch before rising.

On hot days, sit in the shade and drink lots of water.

Forgive and let it go.

Listen attentively and don't offer advice or solutions.

Protect those nearest and dearest to you.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Make the time to run, romp, and play daily.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

Be brave, present, and live life to the fullest


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