My Trip to the Lone Star State

June 7, 2011  

Ruby heads to Texas to sign books, see her sister and attempt the Alamo

By Ruby the dog, as told to Patrick Bettendorf

Ruby was originally found in an abandoned house, and the story of how she went from there to become a real theatrical star is told here. Now she updates us on her monthly activities.

“Come on Ruby,” my dad said. “Come on. Wake up; time to go.”

I raised my little doggie head a bit, looked around and went back to sleep.

“Now Ruby,” he said and I could tell he meant business.

I stumbled off the bed, shook, scratched and yawned, and waited to be told what to do next. I was pretty groggy but that’s because it was only 4 a.m.

It was travel day.

My dad and I were flying to San Antonio, Texas today.

We were going to attend a “Ruby’s Tale” paw printing and signing event at the Northwoods Barnes & Noble this evening and Tracy (my human “sister”) was graduating from Air Force basic training at Lackland the following day. So even though I was a little groggy, I was excited to go.

Ready to Fly

It feels like a long drive to Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, but my mom and human sister, Sadie, got up super early to chauffeur us there and make sure we got off OK.

My dad still hates flying but I take good care of him and so he does better these days. The one thing he doesn’t worry about anymore is being harassed or grilled about me while going through ticketing or security.

He always carries a file that contains my health, insurance and service dog school papers. Plus I have a picture ID on my vest so that makes getting through security a lot easier.

I like to show off a little bit and demonstrate my patience when my owner goes though the metal detector. I’ll slowly follow behind. I got a quick pat down because I was wearing my vest, but it was alright.

After the rub down, I walked over to my dad and he put my collar back on my neck.

There were so many nice people at the airport: airline employees, passengers, screeners, airport police and even Homeland Security people were kind to me.

I heard a lot of questions about me, and lots of people said positive things about me as I walked by them.

Some even petted me even though it’s a no no for service dogs. I felt like a celebrity. Before my dad got on the plane, he handed out 23 business cards from random stranger who all wanted to stay in touch.

The flight was smooth, and I slept the whole way. When the plane landed, we got a rental car and as we were getting ready to leave, a Delta pilot with a French accent approached us.

“Excuse me sir,” he said. “Are you the author with the book about the dog?”

Smiling, my dad looked down at me.

I gave him my best toothy grin.

“Yes sir, that’s Ruby and me.”

The pilot brightened.

“Ah, well, I understand you are doing a book signing this evening. Where would it be? If it’s not too far, some of the crew and I would like to come and see you,” the pilot with the French accent said.

My dad didn’t have the address handy, but told him which Barnes & Noble he could find us at if he wanted to catch up with us.

Fame has its Perks

As we walked outside to get our car, the heat hit us hard.

Back home it had been a bit cooler than normal … in the mid-60s, but in Texas it was in the upper 90s with equal humidity. A half block and I was puffing like a bad muffler.

Our plans called for us to go to the motel freshen up, and then get to the Barnes & Noble an hour or so before the appointed 7 p.m. event time.

The kind lady behind the desk even printed out a map for us so we wouldn’t get lost around town.

When my dad and I arrived at the bookstore, we noticed Jackie the community relations manager had done a great job!

There were posters of me all over the place as well as stacks of “Ruby’s Tale.”

But I had some urgent needs I had to attend to first: I was so thirsty and Starbucks was so close. But once I got that icy drink, I drank too fast and I had to rest for a few minutes.

When 6:30 p.m. rolled around people were already lining up to have their book signed.

This was a good sign!

I just laid on top of the table they set up for us, and people thought it was cute.

Gets ‘em every time.

We were scheduled for 7 – 9 p.m., but we had so many guests that we didn’t leave until 10 p.m. People just kept coming in including the airline pilot and two crew members!

We made a lot of friends I know we’ll have for a very long time, and everybody made us feel welcome and right at home.

Adventures on Base

Early the next morning, it was time to head out to Lackland AFB to see the first of several of graduation ceremonies.
My dad thought he was ready to try a thing he borrowed called a GPS to get around town.

It has a lady’s voice telling him what to do and where to go, and it wasn’t long before he was calling her an old bat, saying she was bossy!

My dad was worried about bringing me on base, because pit bull type dogs are no longer allowed on any military installations. He needn’t have been wringing his hands about it because while the security people and military police didn’t greet us with party favors and doggie treats, they were polite and professional, and they didn’t try to toss us out.

Even though it was a blistering there, Tracy was happy to see me.

At the end when we said out goodbyes, as much as I love Tracy, I kept thinking how wonderful it would be to get back to the air conditioned motel.

The next day was just as hot with a humid haze that hung over the city.

Once the half-day of ceremonies ended, we could go off base with Tracy, but first we got to see her dorm.

My dad let go of my leash at the entry door, and I found my sister’s cot and jumped right next to it. Tracy was worried I’d hop on it. But I didn’t! The floor was much cooler as I laid down alongside her bed.

After she graduated we went off base and toured San Antonio. We walked everywhere from the river to the Alamo.

The heat cast some of the plans asunder. By the time we got to the Alamo the temperature was around 104 degrees and I was broiling. The smooth stones in front of the main building were much too hot to stand on for pictures.

My dad scooped up all 57 pounds of me and rushed over to the shade of a beautiful ancient oak tree. He bought a couple of ice shavings from a local vendor and applied some to my tummy, inside my back legs, chest and even on top of my head. I wasn’t in trouble yet, but he wanted to make sure I didn’t get a heat stroke.

We stayed there for quite a while, and he went through cup after cup of ice. It was only a couple blocks back to the car, but we kept stopping in shady places or cool stores. I felt badly for dad not being able to really see the Alamo. He has a picture of himself in front of it when he was 10 years old. With him is a dog named Ginger….and she’s a pit bull. There is a connection there that leads to me, but that’s another story…

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4 Responses to “My Trip to the Lone Star State”
  1. JMattHicks says:

    Oh snap, all I saw was San Antonio and I got UBER excited as that’s my hometown; born and raised! I haven’t even read the article yet, so I’ll do that now and then comment when finished…as you can tell I was pretty excited 🙂

  2. StubbyDog says:

    @JMattHicks Well read on….to find out about Ruby’s adventure in your hometown.

  3. JMattHicks says:

    SO cool 🙂 Ruby is one awesome canine.

    And hearing things like “Northwoods”, “Lackland AFB”, and “the Alamo”…my oh my does it make me miss home! I’m glad Ruby had a good time, San Antonio loves their pets 😉

  4. Ruby the PitBull says:

    Someday Ruby hopes to go back down to San Antonio, maybe in the Fall when it is cooler. 🙂 We had a great time and met LOTS of nice people!