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Ruby, a lucky puppy!

Published in About Animals

On a lovely sunny March day, a lucky puppy visited Jelsa for a coffee break with her new owners.

Ruby, watchful and wary Ruby, watchful and wary Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Ruby is yet another success story from the Beštie Animal Centre at Kaštel Sućurac near Split. Apparently she was abandoned with her siblings in an olive grove, and taken to the Shelter. Known as Lily, she was then taken in by one of the Shelter's dedicated foster volunteers.

Ruby is wary of strangers. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

It didn't take too long for her to captivate the hearts of an animal-loving couple, Nino and Diana, who re-christened her Ruby. They had just settled in Stari Grad on Hvar Island with a view to starting a business there. Ruby's visit to Jelsa on March 17th 2020 came just three days after being taken in by her new, very caring owners, and she was obviously finding her feet.

Ruby: "That could be interesting...". Photo: Vivian Grisogono

She took a quiet interest in her new surroundings, scenting out new possiblities from the safety of her newfound 'patch'.

Ruby in safe contact with her two-legged friend. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

She barked fiercely but fearfully to fend off the animal-lovers who tried to make friends with her, staying as close as possible to her chosen two-legged  pet parents. That probably reflected her previous experiences, but also her desire to 'protect' her new guardians.

Ruby: "Perhaps I should bark". Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Even in those few days, Ruby had formed a strong, permanent bond with her new family. She bounded with delight when Diana came back from an errand - revealing at the same time her anxiety that Diana had left the family fold. Faced with a stranger holding a camera, she looked a bit askance.

Ruby: "I'm not ready to smile for the camera". Photo: Vivian Grisogono

She soon lost interest in this strange intrusion into her private space when she realized that there was no threat to her or her two-legged pet parents. Dogs think differently from us two-leggeds. Often, the extreme enthusiasm they express on seeing us after a parting, however short, is due to their belief that they are responsible for our wellbeing. When that happens, it's a reversal of roles, in that the pet feels that it is, and has to be, the boss. To get the relationship straight, pet parents have to demonstrate that they are in charge, so there's no need for the dog to worry. Gentleness is vital. Experienced dog trainers recommend just a few strategies: ignore unwanted behaviour as much as possible, certainly avoiding any kind of physical punishment; avoid the temptation to cuddle and pet the dog at every possible moment, but reward good behaviour with a suitable reward or treat, and kind words; always eat before feeding the pet; train your pet to wait after you put down the bowl of food, until you give the signal that he or she can eat; ignore your pet when you leave it to  go out or when you come back, no matter how hard it tries to get your attention; and when you take it out, always go through the door or gate first and make it wait to follow you.

Diana and Nino are doing all the right things to help Ruby progress, and Ruby is responding with love, devotion and trust. She will certainly reward her pet parents with a lot of fun and distraction during this period of waiting for the Covid-19 crisis to fade away, until they can get their new business up and running. Eco Hvar wishes this newly formed partnership the best of luck! Many thanks to everyone who helped to turn the future prospects of this little waif from bleak to bright. 

© Vivian Grisogono 2020.

Note: if you can help the Bestie Animal Shelter (full title Zaklada za zaštitu životinja Bestie) in any way, (for instance through donation of money, food or equipment, active volunteering, or fostering or homing an animal in need) please make contact via Facebook, or phone Zvonimir on 00 385 (0)97 760 8906.