Monday, September 23, 2013

The Road Less Traveled By (or) Shit Happens

Hey y'all - GUESS WHAT? We didn't die!!!

Each trip into the woods is a learning experience. You tweak equipment and style and technique each time, and you're always gaining new knowledge about the right - and wrong - way to do things. For example, I learned that my new sleeping pad was totally worth more than its weight in gold because that thing is super comfortable and light as heck. And I confirmed that my old rain gear is absolutely better than my fancy, expensive new rain gear. And I also came up with a new way to connect Rubi and Piper's leashes a la sled dog style so that they get tangled less frequently.

Not tangled leashes, very handy.

And then we learned that although Rubi has always been extremely respectful of barriers, she will, in fact, go right through the front of a tent to get to another dog. After which we learned that I have mad flying ninja dog-tackling skillz, y'all, and the NFL needs to recruit me right the hell now because I would totally take that team all the way to the Super Bowl. They should also recruit me so that I can have the money to fix the front of my tent.


Shit happens. At the end of the day, it's just stuff. And even if I'd known, I'd still have brought Rubi with.

No dogs were harmed in the making of this trip, even though he totally deserved it (according to Rubi).

The eighteenth of September, smack dab in the middle of our trip, marked Rubi's third Gotcha Day (that's the third anniversary of the signing of her adoption papers, in case you didn't know). Sometimes, I think I'm incredibly lucky to find a dog willing to let me yank her out of civilization and into the wet, mosquito infested, tree-rat laden woods for a week. Sometimes, I think Rubi is incredibly lucky to have found someone willing to take her blonde, bitchy, reactive ass anywhere. Needless to say, I think we suit each other well.

Rubi thinks we should go on vacation every year for her Gotcha Day.

Rubi was bounced around a lot before she landed at my house, and I always regard the perfect storm of events that brought her to my door as a bit of a miracle of coincidence. She is certainly not a dog I would have gone out looking for. I mean, who in their right mind goes to a rescue and says, "Yes, I would like the old, crazy-reactive dog, please. The worst one you've got." I mean, I'm not that insane (yet). But after three years, I've yet to seriously regret signing those papers. Rubi and I, we have a friendship that is completely unique and amazing and hard in all the good and bad ways. We have done things and seen places that many others will never even realize exist. Rubi and I have walked the road less travel by.

And that, of course, has made all the difference.


  1. Great post! While our pooch, Edi, has come a long way and shown us he really isn't THAT bad, he definitely was more than we bargained for when we brought him home -- like, no way we would have picked him up had we known what we were in for. But it's definitely stretched us in all the right places. And now knowing what we can handle, I wouldn't back down from the challenge with another diamond in the rough.

  2. Hi there - I've just discovered your blog, and it's taking all my "impulse control" not to sit and read the whole thing at once! My name is Lara, and I have a Reactive Ruby! I adopted her about two months ago, she is a ten-month-old Border Collie/JRT mix (not advertised as such, or I probably would have run screaming). It took a few weeks for the reactivity to surface, and I fear I contributed by taking her everywhere with me in the first weeks, thinking she was handling it well. After having my leash-reactive (to dogs) Elkhound I was so happy to have a dog that could seemingly meet anyone, people and dogs alike. The truth is, she was probably just too overwhelmed/stressed to show her true colors. Long story short, having been dismissed from a group obedience class, here we are, trying to read, read, read, hire a trainer, and start over. It's nice to know I'm not alone, and although Ruby's triggers are pretty much anything that moves when we're on a walk or in the car, I have her relatively young age on my side, as well as her small size (it's incredible how strong 15 pounds can seem when it is having a frenzied, spinning, barking tantrum). Anyway, thank you for documenting your progress with Ruby, who is adorable. I look forward to catching up and following along.

    If you could point me toward specific posts about training "go to mat," your Relaxation Protocol, and "Zen Doggie" I'd be ever so appreciative!

    1. Hi Lara! Condolences and Congratulations on the adoption of your very own reactive Ruby! I'm working on a blog about matwork, so I don't think I have much specifically geared toward that. Here's a post on the Relaxation Protocol, though:
      And here's a whole series on impulse control - doggie zen should be in there somewhere:
      Good luck!