Our Family Has Grown!


We did it! We adopted a dog! And not just any ol’ dog (not that there is such a thing!) but we think she’s pretty special. Her name is Ruffy, which is short for “Lady Rufina”. I know what your thinking..”I thought she said there was a ‘heart to heart’ about this and they decided the timing was all wrong for a puppy?” And, well, Ahem…you would not be wrong about that recollection. But, shrug, ya know sometimes life just happens. Although, we didn’t get a puppy, we got a very well trained five year old dog who is just right for us and fits into our life like she’s always been here.

Here’s what happened…Ya see, on Sunday morning we were enjoying our day off from our project. Sunday’s are our day to just veg, enjoy a leisurely breakfast and let the day unfold with as little work as possible. Which doesn’t always pan out like that, we almost always need to get something accomplished. But last Sunday was starting out as planned. We were sitting at the counter quietly sipping our coffee and finishing up our yummy biscuits and gravy. Me looking at Facebook and Scott, who doesn’t participate in Social Media but instead plays his computer game. When I came upon a local advertisement from one of the organizations who finds homes for dogs who need a new homes. There was a photo of a most adorable dog. Here’s what it said…”Will you be my new best friend? Ruffy is a mix with Terrier five years old 49lbs. She is extremely well behaved and loving. A people dog who is friendly with other dogs too. She is also very calm but does have a surprisingly deep and ferocious sounding bark. Also, very loyal. Unfortunately I have a very serious health problem and have to leave Panama for medical treatments. Everyone who interacts with Ruffy calls her a sweetheart. She is completely house broken and sterilized. Must be a caring home with dog lovers”. Gulp…well dang, that sounds too good to be true! (aside from the health problems!)

I turned my iPad around to show it to Scott. He read it and smiled. I said, “what do you think?” Shrug…”Should I just call and see about this?” I was surprised , he didn’t even hesitate, “Sure, why not” was what he said. Well…you know, no one had to say that twice…I was dialing the phone number so fast! I didn’t get in touch with the owner right away but left a voice message on his cell phone as well as an email. We went on about our day, not really worrying too much about weather or not this would work out. Well, truth be told, I was trying like hell to act like I was not as excited as I was! We both sorta know that when something is meant to be, well, it somehow just happens as it should. But, to be honest I was really really anxious to talk to the owner and just see if he had found a home for Ruffy yet. If not, then I was hoping to see if we could go meet that sweet dog with the unbelievably adorable face! I really really wanted to be her new best friend!

About mid afternoon Ruffy’s dad called ! He had not found a home for her yet (my heart leapt!) and he was available if we wanted to come by to meet her. We got in the car and drove right over. They lived just across the valley from us in a neighborhood we know well. We drove up and got out to meet her and she was so adorable. She is incredibly friendly and so very loving, kissing us and greeting us a though we were old friends. We both knew right away that this sweet dog was just right for us. She is so well behaved and so wonderful in every way. She doesn’t jump up or act really needy. She is kind of independent but still loving and loyal. Her personality is quite mellow. She is kind of indifferent about other dogs, not at all aggressive. She is totally house trained, never ever having mistakes in the house according to her owner.

That’s the story of our first meeting but her story is pretty amazing. Her owner, lets call him Fabio (what the heck!) , Used to be an expat living in Thailand. I think he said he lived there for about 5 or 6 years. Well, he said that one day he saw a homeless puppy living in the parking lot of his hairdressers salon. The hairdresser told him that the puppy had been living there for a couple of months, just begging for food. When he left the salon the puppy came up to him and it was love at first sight. That was 5ish years ago. Fabio moved here to Panama and moved to Boquete in March. Sadly he has some serious health problem and must return to the States for medical treatments which is why he has had to find a home for Ruffy. Such a sad story, it nearly broke my heart to take her from his house. Fabio loves Ruffy and its obvious she loves him to no end.

We invited them over to see our home on Monday. I was worried about how Ruffy would do with our cat Copper. But upon first meeting nothing aggressive from either of them seemed to happen. Ruffy does not have one ounce of aggressive behavior in her sweet heart. She’s not too sure about the cat, but is pretty respectful and kinda scared of him. This fact makes Copper very happy. He knows he can continue to rule the house even with this big dog in his space. Fabio felt really good about choosing us to adopt his best friend and we are very happy to share our home with this sweet dog.

So, we agreed that we would officially pick her up and move her to our home on Tuesday afternoon. I drove over to their house and let me tell you, it was not easy to see the pain in Fabio’s eyes as Ruffy got in my car. Gulp… I cried too as I drove away , feeling both ecstatic to have a new baby and yet so pained to know how hard this must be for Fabio. Sometimes even doing what you know is the best thing is gut wrenching. I pray that Fabio will recover from whatever health problems he’s dealing with. I of course didn’t dare ask about his health issue , as that was simply not my business to probe. Such a kind, gentle, warm man , no wonder his dog has such a sweet temperament. As I believe animals often take on some characteristics of their owners personalities.

So, we are such happy new dog owners! I can’t stop looking at her, my heart nearly melts. She has these great big brown eyes that just look at you with such sweet love and adoration. She loves to kiss and licking our faces and hands whenever she can seems to be one of her favorite ways to show her affection. She’s gentle, never jumps up, and when we give her a treat she ever so gently takes it from our hands. Such a lady! She loves to be brushed, which you know thrills me! I happen to love brushing her, so yeah! I’m told she gets bathed about every week or two so I look forward to keeping her sparkly clean. Normally she is off leash at home but obviously it will be some time before we let her roam like that. Until she knows this is her home we need to be very careful about not letting her dart away in search of Fabio. She’s great on the leash, doesn’t pull or anything. And thankfully she is really calm and almost indifferent about other dogs. Because as you know I am the feeder of about 4 neighborhood dogs and they have been around. They look shocked to see Ruffy inside but don’t seem overly territorial, thank goodness. Much sniffing has gone on, and all seems agreeable with everyone. Ruffy doesn’t seem to care much at all about the dogs, which is nice.

So we’ve had her here at our home for two nights now. The first night she was with us was fairly uneventful. I walked her a lot that first afternoon after bringing her here and that seemed to wear her out sufficiently. Fabio has told me that he has boarded her a couple of times and that the lady who took care of her said she whined a lot while he was away. Well, our first night we didn’t experience much whining at all. She whined a tiny bit but I sat on the floor with her and comforted her, brushed her a lot and she calmed right down.

But…last night, our second night together was not quite so calm. We got to experience her very sad whining for Fabio. It was as though a switch was turned and in the evening she suddenly just had a major meltdown. I suspect the evenings are when she spent most of her time with Fabio and it somehow made her sad that she wasn’t with him. Well…she whined and she howled and generally made the saddest most pathetic scene I have ever seen a dog make. It was sad, heartbreaking really. So I thought the best medicine was exercise, well and tons of sitting on the floor and loving her . So, I put her leash on and off we went. We walked down the hill, as we had done about four times that day. I believe each time we walk and she sniffs all the trees and bushes and dirt , she will become more and more familiar with these new surroundings. Its been great to get out and walk with her, good for both of us really. Last nights walk even gave me a little time to meet neighbors I’d not met before. Orlando, who is the caretaker of the property at the bottom of our hill. He came out to talk as I walked down the hill, I told him that Ruffy is my new dog. He said she is pretty, I told him she is sad and that I was walking her to help her feel better. He told me not to walk down to the right, where I was headed because there are mean dogs down there. Oh, good to know…so after he gave me a bunch of bananas he had picked from the trees in his hard off we went in the other direction.

The other direction led us to my Indigenous neighbors who of course have three dogs. Ugh…so the three dogs, Chumbo & Princessa who are calm and had already met Ruffy are fine, but Sultan, who is a little more aggressive and had not met Ruffy, came running toward her. She got nervous but not nearly as nervous as she instantly got when all six kids came happily running up to meet the beautiful new dog! Oh my! Poor Ruffy, looked terrified. I had to explain to the children that she is very scared right now. That all is new to her and please do not touch her yet. I tried to high tail it out of there and back to my drive as quickly as I could. Ugh. so our calming walk turned into another stressful experience for my sweet girl. But she seemed to take it in stride and quickly perked right up as we walked. But, of course as we began to walk up my drive Orlando, my new friend and neighbor, called to me and came quickly walking up with a plate held out to me…he had BBQed a sausage for me ! This is what he was having for dinner and he wanted to share! Ahhhhh…how sweet! I took the sausage and thanked him , telling him “me gusta mucho!” …he smiled as I took a bite and wished me a “Buenos noche”. I can’t help but smile as I write this. I love these people! Always so friendly and welcoming.

I have been beyond happy to see the interactions with Ruffy and Copper. Just this morning I was sitting on the kitchen floor with Ruffy just giving her some love, and Copper decided he wanted in on that action. So, very slowly Copper eased his way nearer and nearer to me until I could pet him and Ruffy at the same time. All the while poor Ruffy was leaning into me, hiding her head under my arm and keeping a close eye on that cat. She really is nervous about the cat. But eventually Ruffy relaxed and lay her head on the floor, looking at Copper. And Copper very slowly walked over and sniffed Ruffy’s nose, Ruffy sniffed Coppers nose and Copper slowly walked away. Hah! So, I think they are mutually figuring out how this will work. I doubt they have it totally worked out yet, but I’m just so glad its been a peaceful adjustment for them so far. We were a little worried about trying to merge them in this small casita. But who knows, maybe by the time we get moved to the main house with much more space they’ll be used to each other.

Today has been a great day. I had a ton of errands I needed to get done but somehow I just really didn’t want to leave Ruffy. Scott came down with a flu, a high fever and headache. He’s been in bed all day and I really didn’t want to leave him either. I just dug out our thermometer and took his temp, so Sheesh! Tylenol and a cold compress as well as forcing a ton of cold water down his throat, he seems to be feeling much better. Temp has gone down substantially and he’s actually gonna pull through! hah! I’ve been in charge of the guys all day ….Look out Jeffa is charge, best behave! hah! Oh….and can I just brag for a sec? Well…it’s my blog, so I guess I can do whatever I like! ….So, with Scott being totally out of commission I have been quite the self sufficient broad, I got up this morning and went outside to start up the gosh darn generator! Even carrying the heavy gas can around to the side and filling the darn thing first…not easy! All the while in my head thanking my dad for making me mow the lawn for all those years! hah! Mind you, I was not happy about doing this but, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do! And then I just couldn’t get that song out of my head.. ” I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again.’
hahahaha! Yep! Just another day in the life of two…Oh wait…FOUR adventurers! It’s just gonna take a little time and soon our newest member of our family will feel right at home here! She’s had quite the adventurous life already moving all the way from Thailand to Panama! We’re gonna get along just fine! No doubt about it!


About hollycarter184

Life is Good! But it's time for a change, and more adventure! I'd like to share the whole experience of preparing then actually making a reality of expatriating, and moving to a new country. It's an exciting, and slightly scary move full of possibility . I'm looking forward to learning a new language and making new connections with the people who share our spirit of adventure. This blog is my way of continuing my connection with my friends and family in the States. Sooooo here it goes! :)

8 responses »

  1. Congrats on the new canine family member! Just be patient as the broken heart heals. Sounds like a great pooch, and there is nothing better for the previous owner to know that a good home happened. Life comes with some challenges, but knowing a good home came along, helps to heal the broken human heart. ❤️❤️❤️

  2. Congratulations on your new family member, she is darling…her owner found a good and loving home for her, I know it will be hard for awhile because she misses her owner, but give it a few weeks, things will get better. Glad that she and Cooper are getting along. I know how happy you are Holly, I love dogs too, we have 4 of them, we took in our sons dogs, but their transition was easier because they knew us.


  3. My mother, who has had three children, says that nothing will teach you about unconditional love like a dog will. I have a terrier mix named Griffin that looks a little like a reddish blonde version of your dog. He is the most heart melting being I have ever known. It looks like you have chosen wisely. Enjoy your new love.

    • Thanks for your comment, your sooooo very right, the love this sweet little girl is spreding here in our home is heart melting indeed! I cant believe how much fun it is to come home to the thrill that she exudes from my return! Life is better with a dog! 🙂

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