In January 2019 a mom dog and her Boxer-mix puppies found themselves at the Riverside County Dept. of Animal Service’s shelter in Riverside, CA. All puppies seemed fine, except one. This particular puppy was missing her tail. And both back feet. That’s when Foster Army Animal Rescue (FAAR) stepped in, doing what FAAR was established to do: save the lives of less-fortunate pets.
Once safely in FAAR’s care, it became apparent that whatever horrible trauma this poor little girl had suffered in her first weeks of life, it hadn’t affected her spirit. She was as happy and playful as any puppy could be.
By May, two FAAR volunteers, Jessica Kehau and Christopher Green, had committed to providing Ruby with a foster home and all the love and care she would need until she found her forever home. Fortunately for Ruby, Kehau has a job which allows her to work from home. And Green is studying to be a veterinary technician. These two dedicated animal caregivers have gone the distance for her….socialization, training, recovery from surgery, learning to maneuver with wheelchairs and, more recently, a custom prosthetic.
Over the summer, Ruby started suffering pain, bleeding and infection on one of her nubs because her activity was causing the bone to break through the skin. Surgery in early September corrected this by adding tissue to the area as padding. To help pay for the surgery, FAAR started a gofundme page, raising $1790*.
As she’s grown, Ruby has had a series of wheelchairs to help her maneuver. Kehau said indoors Ruby gets around without a wheelchair, but outdoors one is necessary so she doesn’t injure her nubs and so she can run and play like any dog. Her most recent wheelchair, which is rugged and can be adjusted as she grows, was provided at no cost to FAAR by Mango’s Freedom Wheels in Las Cruces, NM.
When Kehau took it upon herself to find a set of wheels for Ruby, she contacted Joey’s P.A.W. in Butler, PA, which provides funds for dogs needing wheelchairs or prosthetics. The organization wanted to help Ruby, but thought she was a candidate for a prosthetic which would allow her to get around on three legs when not using a wheelchair. Joey’s P.A.W. provided the funds for a prosthetic to be custom-made by Bionic Pets in Sterling, VA.
Kehau said Ruby at first hated the prosthetic, but she and Green stuck with it, putting it on her for 30 minutes a day for a month. Gradually, Ruby became more used to it, especially after a special sock was added to keep the appliance from slipping off.
Ruby may be handicapped but she’s not missing out on life as a dog. She not only plays with Kehau and Green’s dogs, but they take her to dog parks, on hikes, and to the beach. She goes swimming, too, and Baddogs Inc in Corona, CA, is providing free weekly obedience training.
Back in August, Kehau thought it would be fun to create an Instagram page journaling the life of Ruby (@ruby_the_bipawd). To Kehau’s surprise, Ruby quickly became a social media darling with more than 2000 followers. Her followers have been so enamored by her story that FAAR has received $1800 in unsolicited donations from throughout the United States and from Canada.
Since FAAR has spent more than $4000 for Ruby’s medical needs alone, the donations in her honor are greatly appreciated.
Ruby must know she has a second chance at life since she’s making the most of it. It’s full speed ahead for her. No looking back. Except to be sure everyone’s following her.
* All figures stated in this article are as of mid-November 2018.