Here’s what I did on summer vacation…OK, actually it is what I did on the night of Monday, July 6, 2009. It is what Ruby, Jake and Annie did on summer vacation. But first, we must go back just a bit, start at the beginning, or at least we must start at Ruby’s new beginning. This is actually Ruby’s story after all.

“She’s my favorite dog at the shelter, it’s not that she’s all that much to look at, I mean she’s sort of pretty but nothing really out of the ordinary, she’s kind of plain, it’s just that there is something about her face, something in her eyes…” This was my introduction to Ruby. A mixed bag, a sort of oddly unenthusiastic enthusiastic review. It was followed up with the written word, “Pretty golden coat, silkier than it looks in the pictures. 65-70lbs, around 2-3 years old.I know she doesn’t look like anything very exciting, but I really liked this dog – she’s just very sweet, affectionate, and intelligent.” A little better? Perhaps.

Fortunately for Ruby someone I know and respect was behind these words. Trusting my friend and reading between the lines (where it really said, “I like this dog, I really like this dog, please save this dog, even if she isn’t the prettiest girl out there, please save this dog”), Ruby got her ticket on the Freedom Train.

And so it came to be that Ruby joined the Safe Hands family on June 5, 2009. She arrived bewildered and overwhelmed. Her silky hair covered the fact that her bones jutted out of her malnourished body. Her pretty eyes were clouded with fear and uncertainty. Fate, destiny, kismet, whatever you want to call it, Ruby managed that night to find Jake and work her way under his skin. His calm demeanor and patience were what Ruby really needed and she went home with Jake and Annie to foster.

Ruby blossomed in Jake and Annie’s care. She enjoyed her walks and was equally happy lounging around the yard and home with her new found friends. But funny things started to happen. Ruby gained weight but it soon became apparent that it wasn’t very equally dispersed. She started to be a little slow getting up and seemed to sometimes have trouble. Did she have hip trouble? The day she was to be spayed I saw her for the first time in two weeks. Reality came and smacked me in the face as it has a way of doing. It was undeniable. Ruby’s trouble was not in her hips, it was in her belly. Ruby was about to be a mom.

A vet visit predicted that babies would be joining us within the week and prepared us for a minimum of 8 pups. A make shift whelping box was prepared, supplies were gathered, and we waited. Ruby’s girth seemed to expand as we watched. And on the sixth day, it was time.

If anyone tells you about the “miracle” of birth in happy, glowing tones, don’t trust them. It was a messy business. It was a very colorful but still messy business and it smelled like damp earth and musk. It lasted all night long with the first puppy making his grand entrance at about 2:00 am and the lollygagging , eleventh, last one out joining the rest of us at 6:30 am. Yes, if you are reading closely you read that right. Eleven. One more time, Eleven. Seven bouncing boys, four bubbly girls and one EXHAUSTED momma. And one long and sleepless night for all.

Check back for updates on Ruby’s pups progress and watch them grow!

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