Jesus. You know, I love Ruffles and all, but son of a bitch, she's really becoming a massive pain in my massive ass.
Ruffles has been our resident old biddy with free reign of the yard for the past couple months. I've had her for a year now and have enjoyed having her loose outside. She's about 14 and pretty much blind and deaf, so she doesn't stray far. In fact, neither Sam nor I have seen her wander much further than the house pad. But yesterday she decided to take off on a little 'biddy' adventure. I don't know if she was off looking for a bridge game or what, but I was surprised when she wasn't around yesterday afternoon, evening and night. I decided that because she's so old and frail (and blind and deaf) that she went off into the woods to die. Sad, yes, but that's the reality of having dogs. They don't live forever. And Ruffles has had an interesting life - more on that later.
This morning there was still no Ruffles. I was a little surprised at how sad I was that this old, grumpy fart-machine was gone. I got online to check email and was reading the Alaska Dog Mushers' Association list-serve when one post caught my attention. A woman about three miles down the road found a dog yesterday. This dog was black and white, with a black collar, no tags and stumpy legs. Ruffles? The only thing was the post said the dog was a male, so it couldn't be her, could it? The post said that this woman had tied the dog up at the Musher's Hall for the time being and would take it in to the shelter later. I jumped in the car and drove down the road, but there was no dog there. I realized the post was a day old. Well, I thought, I might as well go to the shelter and see, even though I had pretty much written her off by this point. As soon as I pull in, I noticed a dog through the fence wagging its tail in a quick, halting motion. I recognized the way immediately.
Holy shit, there she is! I walked into the shelter (through the back door, as it was still closed) and announced I was there to bail out my acid queen. Well, with the bullshit red tape in the way, I had to wait 90 minutes to sign and pay and get my dog. Nearly $100 later, Ruffles and I were on the way home. Over the last year, Ruffles, the retired, half-dead old biddy, has cost me more money that all my other nine dogs COMBINED! And she doesn't do anything but eat and poop and grunt and groan. Crazy. Yes, I'm crazy. But, you know, I just couldn't imagine the yard without her barking at the pups to shut-up, or bringing bones, shoes, clothes and garbage to the other dogs in the yard (sorry again about your work boots, honey). She's confused and cantankerous but we love her and are both glad she's back. She still owes me $90, for the bail, however.
Stay tuned for a brief history on Ruffles, the Acid Queen. From winning the Fur Rondy in lead a dozen years ago, to running off into the woods for weeks with her first litter of pups, to a career-ending injury, to life at our place, it's quite a story.