Happy Birthday Ruby

Today is Ruby’s birthday! Well, technically we don’t know when her birthday is because we adopted her. Today is her adoption day, and marks our first full year with this furry little nugget! It’s a pretty special day and certainly gives cause for celebration.

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Ruby is a beagle, approximately 7 years old. I think we can all agree that beagles are generally pretty cute, but she’s extra special for a few reasons: she’s bi-colored (brown and white only, no black!), and she’s got little brown speckles on her nose and legs. My dog has freckles you guys. She’s so cute I could die.

Ruby is my best pal. She’s my snuggle buddy, my exercise companion, and my favorite goofball. She’s smart, funny, and sweet. She teaches me patience, kindness, joy, and love. But this year hasn’t always been easy.

For those who don’t know, our journey to Ruby started with another dog: Alexander the Great.

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When we moved into our house, I immediately started looking at rescue websites. It was important to me that we rescue a dog. It’s a cause that I believe in, and felt strongly I should support. More importantly, (as my mother would say) it’s just the right thing to do. Please remember that when and if you consider becoming a fur-parent.

We found Alex at Life4Paws Rescue through Petfinder and made an appointment to go meet him. A clumsy little shepherd mix waddled into the room, tripping over his massive paws, looking curiously at us with soft, kind eyes. He was only a few months old, but already more than 30 pounds. This fella was going to be huge. We sat on the floor with him. He cautiously climbed into my lap and fell asleep in a terribly awkward but ridiculously adorable position. We fell in love instantly and a few days later he came home with us.

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Alex had lived the first few months of his life in someone’s backyard, completely neglected. The conditions were so poor that he developed parvovirus, a highly contagious and life-threatening disease. In untreated puppies, the fatality rate can exceed 90%. It was a literal miracle that he had been rescued, treated, and survived.

The tricky thing about a puppy that has been treated for parvo is that their immune system is sensitive. They need to be closely monitored to insure is isn’t compromised. Their contact with other dogs, humans, and the outside world should be extremely limited so they aren’t accidentally exposed to disease. Alex was at the beginning of this process when we adopted him. It turned out to be a little more than we could handle.

Because he was young, he had a lot of energy. Because he was big (and getting bigger every day), he needed space to expend that energy. Because he couldn’t go for walks or hikes or even be in our backyard for prolonged periods of time, he became restless. And because our house is small, it became a safety issue for both him and us. I don’t blame Alex, he was doing the best he could under the conditions. But frankly, we were not equipped to handle him under those circumstances. We brought him back to Life4Paws with the intention of re-adopting him once he had fully recovered, but someone else scooped him up not long after. He was a sweet, adorable puppy after all, and I’m glad he found a home that was better suited to his needs. We saw a picture of him a few months later and he was literally the largest dog I have ever seen.

After that, the other M and I continued to visit Life4Paws a few times a week as volunteers. We still wanted to adopt, but were in no rush. We didn’t want to put ourselves or another dog through the emotional turmoil of being returned. Then…

Ruby showed up.

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(Above photo by Faith Michele Photography, August 2014.)

I had gone on my own that afternoon. As soon as I walked in they said “We got a new dog! A beagle!” My jaw dropped. The other M loves beagles. He had been begging me to get one since we started our search. I texted him a photo of the (then unnamed) beagle and he responded “OH. MY. GOD.”

Ruby came to Life4Paws through the vet they work with (the details are a little unclear).  After she was given a clean bill of health, they dropped her off with the rescue. There was a pink, bone-shaped tag dangling from her collar that read “Princess Coco” (a name she has never responded to, despite us still occasionally calling her that). The phone number listed had been disconnected. She was microchipped, but the address associated with that chip was in New Jersey.

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Over the next few weeks, we continued to stop by and walk the dogs, Ruby included, while they attempted to locate her owner. No one ever came forward. She was dreadfully overweight and moved incredibly slow. She had a large bald spot near her tail where she scratched herself so much the fur had fallen out and the skin was irritated. She couldn’t take more than a few steps without reverse-sneezing. Her eyes were wide and often bloodshot. But she was so sweet, and so affectionate…that is my favorite thing about dogs. They can go through something terrible; abandonment, being lost or mistreated, but at their core they still just want to love someone be loved in return. We offered to foster her.

Two weeks later, we adopted her officially. (Cue butt snuggling montage!)

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After only a short time in our home, her skin healed, her fur grew back, she was losing weight steadily, and had so much more energy. Her eyes were bright, clear, and relaxed, and her snorting had almost stopped entirely. She had become a totally different dog, in the best way possible. I don’t know if dogs are capable of feeling an emotion as complex as gratitude, but that’s certainly what it felt like to me. She seemed so grateful to be with us. This is why rescuing is so important. Don’t judge the scared, weird-looking shelter dog right away. Underneath that bald, patchy coat is a warm, devoted companion waiting to go home with you.

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Here she is on our first Halloween together, in 2014. Please note how much healthier she looks after only 2 months with us. (Photo by Mary Costa Photography.)

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She’s a loud mouth (most beagles are), but we love her anyway. She has lots of funny little quirks like burying her nose when she sleeps, wiggling her whole butt when she’s excited, and curling up in the space behind our legs while we lie on the couch. She’s so, so smart and has figured out a (very complex) route to the top of the kitchen table and countertops. Though once she gets up there she can’t get down, and just waits patiently for someone to come get her.

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Ruby is the third lovable little member of our family, and the first dog both of us have owned as independent adults. She is such a special girl, and I can honestly say that her presence has enriched every other part of my life. It melts my heart to know that she loves and trusts us, and because of that love and trust, she was able to blossom into a happy, healthy dog living a full life, despite whatever happened in her past. We did that for her. And she returns the favor every day.

Happy Adoption Day/Birthday Ruby. We love ya, snugglebug. There’s a nice big bone with your name on it waiting for you on the kitchen counter. You’re probably already up there eating it.

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This Week: Visitors Part 2

We’re still entertaining some special guests over here, but I’ve been keeping busy regardless! Here’s a little bit from my week:

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I launched my graphic hair accessories (pins and clips) in my shop!

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I visited Life4Paws Rescue to photograph some of their newest additions – above is Lucy (the black and white collie/lab mix) and Sarah (the brown and black Yorkie). Both of these girls were an absolute joy to hang with, and both of them have the most amazing silly tongues! To learn more about these goofy ladies and all their rescue pals, contact Life4Paws@Life4Paws.org.

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RUBYZILLA! This is a behind the scenes look at an upcoming project. Stay tuned for more info.

Have a wonderful weekend!

This Week: Food, Fathers, and Fidos

I’ve got a lot to cover, so I’ll try to be brief:

Brickyard Buffalo: Part 2! My watercolor cactus print went on sale this week over at BB. It’s available through Saturday at a discounted price, so get on that. This is one of my most favorited items on Etsy, so I know admirers are out there. I’m trying to score you a deal, people!

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Joie de Vivre Hotels’ Summer Called Sweepstakes is still going strong (follow @jdvhotels on Instagram for more info)! Here’s a few of my designs they posted this week:

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I’m finding more and more inspiration in food. I don’t know what it is about summer snacks that suddenly seems so beautiful, but I’m not complaining! I’m finding summer in general to be a really fun time for design.

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Last weekend was Father’s Day! I made my Dad a painting he wanted – his fire station’s crest. I also painted a Santa Barbara map for the other M’s Dad. Hooray fathers!

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The most exciting thing that happened this week was that my HelloGiggles Casetify case came in the mail! More on that later…I may or may not be doing an Instagram giveaway in the near future to celebrate (hint, hint!). Follow me @roymeister to stay in the loop!

If you haven’t gotten your own phone case yet, you can see them here in the 3rd and 4th rows. Just look for my name! So far, the popsicles and the sunset have been the most popular. I’ll let you guess which one I ordered first 😉

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Last but certainly not least, I got to hang with and photograph some amazing pups this week over at Life4Paws Rescue:

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Above: This goofball is Peter! His two siblings (Paul and Mary) are below. Peter is charismatic, goofy, affectionate, and (obviously) a total looker. He’s a 7 month old pointer mix (we think) and is looking for his forever human! I’m obsessed with his floppy tongue and toothy grin! #laughingdog

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Above: This is Paul, Peter’s equally handsome brother! Paul was a little more timid than Peter, but not at all in a off-putting way. It was more like he was asking permission to cover you in slobbery kisses before he did it, instead of just going for it like Peter was inclined to do haha. Such a sweetheart, this one!

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Above: The last of the pointer trio is Mary! As you can see, she is just as gorgeous and affectionate as her brothers. Mary has an adoption pending, but both her brothers are still looking for homes!

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Above: This miniature nugget of pure joy is Bodie. I cannot even begin to describe how much I love this little man. This was my first time meeting the Bode-meister, and he was very relaxed, had no issue being around a weird new human, and loved being pet. I’m willing to bet this fellow would be the ultimate snuggle partner. Plus look how cute he is! Be still my heart!

Quite honestly I would have taken all of them home if I could. Since I cannot (ahem, yet), please help them find a home by visiting Life4Paws.org and checking out their Petfinder profiles. Share them with anyone who might be interested!

Alright I’m gonna go back to the rescue and hang out with these dudes (and lady) all weekend. Hope your weekend is just as awesome!

Happy Friday!

 

This Week: Paint and Pups

I don’t think I picked up a pencil once this week. It was ALL about painting. I added a bunch of new maps to my shop (Boston, Los Angeles, and New Hampshire, I’m looking at you!), and completed a Japan map for a special world traveler. My favorite new piece? The cute little cactus you see below!
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I also got to spend some time with Simon, a sweet, affectionate, young lab mix available for adoption through Life4Paws Rescue. I took him for a short walk, and after that he didn’t want to leave my side! The feeling was mutual. See Simon’s Petfinder page here, please forward it to anyone who may be interested in adopting this handsome fella! (Hint: that should be basically everyone you know.)
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Here’s hoping my weekend (and yours too!) looks a lot like this, snoozing pup included:
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Happy weekend!

This Week: Massachusetts

This week turned into an unexpected albeit beautiful celebration of Massachusetts. I got quite a few Etsy orders for watercolor and gold paintings of the Bay State. If you’re feeling like your home state/city/country is underrepresented all of a sudden, place an order for your own custom map painting here.

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MA for Shannon

I also visited Life4Paws Rescue to get some video of their adorable little raccoon dog Muggles. Literally one of the sweetest dogs I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through the rescue. He’s available for adoption, so spread this video around to help him find a forever home! If you or anyone you know is interested in adopting or fostering sweethearts like Mr. Muggles, email life4paws@life4paws.org. See Muggles’ adoption video here.

Annnnnnnnd I saved the best for last! Here’s a look at how we celebrated Easter with Ruby. Let’s just say it might be her new favorite holiday 😉