Ruby's Rest

17 4 6

(prompt: 'break' 24/5/2019)

"See you, Ruby. Be a good girl... " and the man climbed into his new four-wheel drive utility.

"Bye Ruby," and the woman waved from her window as they drove away.

I held her collar, imagining she would follow them and break her heart... or her neck, getting up onto that moving tray-top. But Ruby offered no resistance, instead turning her head to lick my other hand. Shortly after their vehicle disappeared from sight, I slowly let her go. She simply sat for a short while, staring across the paddock at the highway where she last saw the vehicle. Her confused eyes and quivering body fairly shouted she was as bewildered as we were.

Nine years old, they'd said. Had her since a pup. And it's really OK, they'd explained, her strange bow-legged stance with toes turned in. Born that way. Never stopped her from being a fully active, playful dog all her life. Healthy as... they said, insisting they'd never have parted with her except they were moving from farm to seaside town block, and she wouldn't fit in. Their little terrier would.

Good dog... really obedient, they said. Never any good as a working dog though, despite her strong Kelpie genes. Not like their other Kelpie. Now there was a born worker. Neighbours had snapped her up soon as they heard about the move. But they didn't want Ruby. Nobody did.

In desperation they'd put her photo and a Free to Good Home message on the community notice board in town. That's where I first saw her - although now we could see the photo was quite a few years old. The timing was immaculate. Our oldest girl had died a month before and our sweet Kelly continued grieving. Me too... and hubby, but he wouldn't admit to it. But we two-leggeds were too old for a puppy now, getting a few creaks and groans on standing after a lengthy sit. Likewise bending... and kneeling? Forget it! An adult dog would definitely be the 'go'. But a mature age model like Ruby? She surely didn't look nine years old, b-u-t ... those eyes fairly bled her plea and I found my eternal rescuer's heart re-engage. Old habits die hard.

Fully five minutes after her so-called Mum and Dad parted with her so casually, without a tear or sniffle - not even a final, regretful look - Ruby abruptly stood up. I moved forward, expecting she might trot up our driveway to the road. Uh-uh! She turned to me and hurled herself into my open arms. Her quivering body and wagging tail were the enthusiastic body language of her newfound joy at being part of our family.

With great dark eyes fixed on mine adoringly, in a series of loving whimpers and 'yippee-type' yelps she positively agreed the rest of her life would definitely be the best of her life... and it had begun. Couldn't take the smile off my face as I said -

"Welcome to your forever home, Ruby love."

Author's Note: If anyone recognises this story, it's a reborn version of a tale from another prompt, some three years ago. 

AND...  we would discover our dear old girl was actually well over 11 when we adopted her and lived SO happily nearly four more years with us, deservedly treated and loved like the grand old lady she was... until she finally died quietly in her sleep. Uh-oh... someone's eyes just overflowed again!

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