From Ruger's Mom, Debbie:
"The reason we stumbled onto the darling hillbilly hound dog breed is we realized [Ruger] came from West Virginia; and during that exact time our youngest son was in college at Wake Forest University in North Carolina which is only 283 miles from Wake! So in a very roundabout way it made us feel closer to our son. Crazy huh? I know it’s a bit of a stretch but it worked for us!
Ruger had such a long existence at the shelter as the dates show. We rescued him on 5/25/19, and Priceless Pets told us he was originally rescued in October of 2018, and then for whatever reason (to this day I will never understand) was returned back in April of 2019. It still hurts my heart to think about. As you can see, he was in the shelter for seven solid months before the first ill-fated rescue.
When we first brought him home he had zero socialization skills and never made eye contact. You could feel that he was a bit broken inside. But two weeks into our new adventure together you could see him letting his guard down and feeling more comfortable - comfortable enough to start singing to us in that beautiful voice of his!
He was finally feeling safe and loved, probably for the first time in his life.
One of his favorite things to do was to sit in our opened garage: I would pull up a beach chair and sit right next to him; we were quite the pair! He was really popular in our neighborhood because in our part of the country you just don’t see hound dogs. He also loved sunning himself in our backyard. One day, about 4 months after getting him, I walked into the backyard and saw him rolling on his back, which I realized was a huge break through for him! He finally was confident and felt nurtured and loved enough to enjoy the comforts of being a deserving, much loved family pet!
Fast forward to November 2019, we notice a small lump on his thigh, right where he was branded. Yes, that poor animal was actually branded! Our California vet told us he had never seen a dog branded before! Happily the lump seem to go away so we were able to have a very Merry 1st Christmas with him! Our older son gifted him with the bone in our favorite all time picture of Ruger!
Sadly, out of nowhere, on February 3rd 2020 the lump came back with vengeance and he passed away so quickly, on February 17, 2020. This is something I want to share and maybe you can get the word out? Our vet firmly believes that the trauma Ruger suffered while being branded led to the cancer diagnosis! The tumor was in the exact location of the brand.
Thank you so much for reading this and letting me reminisce about Ruger! He gave us so much, if not more, than we ever gave him! We can’t help but feel a bit cheated for only being able to have him for 8 1/2 short months. He will have a lasting imprint on our hearts forever!"