–by Jewel Black
I left a part of my heart in Aruba, after a street dog that we now call “Ruby” (short for Aruba), followed us back to our room, while vacationing in Aruba from Vancouver Island, Canada. This is Ruby’s story.
I didn’t expect to fall in love. I didn’t expect that she would choose me. I didn’t know that I was in a place to share any room in my heart with another dog … but love is unexpected. Love finds you when you aren’t looking for it.
She found us one night when we were at a restaurant having wings. We were inside, and she was outside. There were no open windows or doors, and for some reason she kept strolling past.
I guess you could say that it all happened because the restaurant had their air-con turned up so high. Brian and I ended up feeling really cold, so we took our wings and my bucket of beers outside on the patio to warm up. Soon after, Ruby and her street friend came and greeted us. They were both obviously street dogs, skinny and scrawny, filthy dirty and crawling with fleas and ticks. We gave them some ice cubes, and they really liked them. We gave them some french fries, they really liked those too. Eventually we ended up sharing some of our chicken, and with that we had made friends. They were both very sweet dogs. We were missing our dog back home, so it was nice to share the company of a couple of friendly dogs while ou of town.
When we finished our dinner, one of the dogs left and ventured on into the night – uninterested in us after we had no more food. For whatever reason “Ruby” stayed right by our sides.
We had walked about 30 minutes from where we were staying, (it was our first week there and we hadn’t rented a car yet.) When we paid our bill and began walking home, she followed us every step of the way. At first we thought it was very funny, but as we continued along we began to realize that she was following us all the way back to where we were staying.
When we got to our gate, I looked down at her, as she looked up at me… and I couldn’t close the gate. I couldn’t say goodnight, and I couldn’t leave her out there. Little did I know, she had already begun to win my heart. I LOVE dogs, and enjoy every dog very much … but there was something very special about this dog. There was an almost immediate connection and bond that far surpassed the heartwarming feeling that I get around most dogs. She chose me, and she followed us home.
I invited her in, (ok, so I snuck her in, as we were’nt in a pet friendly Air B’n’B – thankfully it’s a private and isolated place, so we could smuggle her in without the home owners knowledge.) We gave her a bowl of water, and she drank every last drop as though she had been thirsty all day in the 30 degree heat. Next we gave her a bowl of our leftover spaghetti that was in the fridge, she ate it all down and it was obviously that she doesnt eat regularly. She is dreafully underweight, possibly from parrasites, but most likely from malnourishment.
I pulled down the cushions that were on the patio furniture and covered them with one of my beach towels to make her a bed. Eagerly, she laid down, curled up and began to go to sleep. I’m pretty sure that was the first time her bony body had ever slept on anything other than concrete. I went inside and got ready for bed. I peeked out many times, there she laid sleeping. In the middle of the night, I continued to check on her… she slept spread right out, belly-up, legs spread on her back as if she had never been more comfortable in her life. I felt my heart swell, she’s such a sweetheart.
The next morning I cooked her two scrambled eggs, and we walked her back to the restaurant. She wagged her tail and trotted off to whatever area she came from. We were happy that we gave her a great night.
A week later, I couldn’t stop thinking about her, where she might be and if she was hungry. I bought a case of dog food in the hopes that we would cross paths again. I wanted to spend more time with her. I talked to Brian about how I was feeling, and he admitted that he was missing her too, so we drove around the streets behind the restaurant where we first met her, up and down and circled around – when all of a sudden I saw a dog sleeping under a car. We pulled up, and I rolled down the window, “Pretty Girl” I said, (my nickname for her, and how I greet her when I see her.) <3 She crawled out from under the car, excited to see us again and ran towards us. She jumped up and greeted us by pressing against our legs and licking our hands, as if we were her favourite people in the world, like she was relieved to see her new friends again.
Over the next few weeks, these visits became more frequent. Eventually we began bringing her in our car and driving her for “overnights” where we were staying.
The last week, I knew that she had decided she was ours, and our hearts told us that we were hers. I tried to figure out a way to get her home… but different obstacles presented themselves, mainly lack of time (which got in the way of me being able to take her to the vet, or be able to find a place for her to stay (off of the streets,) until we could arrange transport for her to be back home with us.) Time had run out on our trip, and we had realized how we felt too late. Deciding to adopt a dog isn’t an easy decision, (especially for me.) I don’t take getting a pet lightly, as it is a life-long commitment for their entire lives and I consider a member of my family. If we move, they come with us, if they are sick, I care for them. When it’s time to go, I sit by their side and pet them until they take their last breath. I will dedicate everything to the happiness and well-being of my dog(s)
The last day I saw her, we dropped her off. It was as if she sensed that we were leaving her and not coming back. She crouched down in the back seat and refused to get out of the car, (something she had never done before.) We even attempted bribing her out of the car with a treat with no luck. I had to gently pick her up and lower her down to the ground. She wouldn’t leave our car at first, but eventually got distracted chasing lizards and sniffing around. After about 20 minutes she moved on to other things and slowly drifted down the street. The last time I saw her, she was chasing lizards through tall grass in a field, until she got out of sight.
I cried all of the way home, and I knew that I was leaving a part of my heart behind with her. She chose me, and I had to leave her behind. The worst part is not knowing if she is ok, if she has been finding food, if she might be attacked by other street dogs. Will she be safe? will she ever be shown kindness ever again?
Since being back home in B.C. , I thought that maybe my desire for her to be with me might lessen…. but the opposite has happened. I miss her more and more every day. It kills me that she doesn’t understand why we don’t visit her anymore. She has probably looked around and waited for us every day since last Tuesday. I think about her constantly, and feel an overwhelming regret that I didn’t have enough time to arrange transport home with us now. I feel uneasy, and know that I won’t be happy until she is back safe and sound with me. I want to open our home to her, I want her to sleep on a comfy dog bed for the rest of her days, I want to spoil her with love and cuddles. I want her to forget what hunger feels like. I want her to know what love is.
I just want her safe, here with me, Brian, our cat Taz and our dog Kaylahn.
So, I have made up my mind… I will use my savings to go back for her, and at the urging of close friends, I have opened up this GoFundMe page to help off-set the costs—to get her to a vet, and doing what needs to be done so that she can get on an airplane and come home with me here in Canada.
I just hope that by the time it’s all worked out, that it isn’t too late for her and for us. I hope we will be able to find her again, and that everything will line up for her to have a warm, safe and loving home here with us.
Love always strikes you when you least expect it. We were lucky enough to find each other… now we just have to find the time, and the money to make this happen.
I’ve been broken hearted since we got back, and am dreaming of the day when I can share photos and videos of Ruby running around here at home with us in Canada.
There are so many variables that make it very difficult to transport a dog from Aruba: The right airplane, the right temperature, having someone to fly with them, no more than 10 hours travel per day, the right vaccinations, the right timing, the money, the right crate for travel, the right way to water while enroute to BC. I will even drive to pick her up at certain stops so that she only has to take one flight (less trauma.) One of us can fly with her to North America, while the other can drive to wherever she lands.
I will not stop until she is here with us, as long as we aren’t too late.
I pine for her every single day.
I am so grateful for any donations, or any help at all with bringing Ruby home to us. I know that it’s just one dog, but this one forgotten street dog is everything to us. She decided that we needed her, just as much as she needs us… and she’s right. I believe that in this crazy life that anything is possible, if you set your mind, heart and will for something to be done—it can and will be done.
We are now in touch with a woman in Aruba, who has helped with the transport of other dogs to North America, (last week she helped two dogs get shipped to Montreal Canada.)
Please help us to help her.
Things we need: Vet Care, Medication/Treatment for fleas, ticks, parrasites and vaccinations. Flight to Aruba and Back to get her home. An airline safe dog crate that will fit this dainty medium sized dog. Money to pay for boarding if needed incase of fligh delay/boarding after vet care until we can arrange transport. A place for one of us to stay while we take her to the vet and make arrangements for her. Money to pay to have her checked on the airplane.
Thanks so much, from the bottom of my heart. Much love.
Jewel Black, Brian Rundle and “Ruby” Red Aruba.