I am probably not supposed to play favorites, but there wasn't a way around it when it came to Ruby. What a good dog, and she had a truly dedicated owner. Here is a letter from Ruby's dad, Robert:
To Whom It May Concern,
I have been a long term client of Lulu and wanted to take a moment to tell about the experience I had with her. Many years ago I adopted a pit bull mix that a friend had found wandering the streets. I named her Ruby for her rich cinnamon colored coat and hoped she would provide good companionship for another rescue dog I already had. She got along well enough with my first dog, but after a year or so began to develop dog aggression problems when we ventured out in public. The dog park was the first to go, but this did not alarm me to much since dog parks seem to be places where not even humans behave particularly well, much less their four footed companions. It was a doggie thunder dome Lord of the Flies kind of place on a bad day, and I decided that leashed walks in the park would be a fine alternative. This worked for a time but her leashed encounters with other dogs became increasingly fraught. On one memorable occasion, she lunged so violently and barked so hysterically at a passing dog that she bit her own lip, and passers by began scooping up their dogs and children as I vainly tried to control my bloody faced Tasmanian devil of a dog, who of course, resumed her loving and peaceful nature as soon as we returned home.
The walks were her greatest pleasure but they became so stressful for me that I dreaded them. I particularly resented the cheerful cries of the owners whose unleashed dogs bounded toward us as I frantically tried to screen my dog as they informed that their dog was friendly. Well, my dog wasn't friendly at all anymore, and it was causing a lot of grief. Everyone, it seemed, was a dog whisperer. No invitation at all was needed for strangers to begin psychoanalyzing me and my dog, usually concluding that I needed to be tough and show the dog who was boss. I resorted to a number of professionals who said more or less the same thing, but charged me a lot of money. “Short leash,” one brusque, vaguely Teutonic woman insisted, looped across the body with many sharp tugs to maintain control. Gentle leader, check, scary looking pinch collar, check. You need to get her out around lots and lots of dogs, they helpfully suggested, until she's used to them. 50 dollars please.
I don't remember where I found Lulu but thank God I did. No special leashes, no military regime of domination, no stupid advice, just loving patient tolerance. And she was good with my dog, too! This was not a quick fix, it didn't happen over night, but Lulu transformed my little monster into a decent canine citizen once again. I can't overstate how much her work meant to me. During the time that Ruby was on house arrest it really impacted my life. I felt guilty for not walking her, and walking my other dog caused drama as Ruby frantically protested, and every new girlfriend or visitor to my home had to patiently explain to me about what I was doing wrong and how there was this guy on TV that said I needed only to walk on all fours and growl to cure her problems. Lulu has a gift with dogs and the patience and courage to work with them when they are not at their best. Dogs have personalities and issues like people do. If you need help, don't feel bad, just call Lulu, and let her sort it out.
Ruby passed away recently, she was sick and needed to be put down. It's always hard. The vet made a house call and hid the syringe behind her leg as she walked in the room and greeted Ruby who still had enough energy to spring to her feet even though she was little more than skin and bones. I felt the dam break inside me, and as the tears began to gush, I felt so much relief that Lulu had worked with Ruby and restored her to the world of joyful walks and adventures in the park. It was the only consolation. I don't know how much I paid Lulu for the time that she worked with Ruby, but whatever it was, it wasn't enough. Her work is priceless.
Robert & Ruby (Pit mix)