Ruby’s new life journey

Age slows beloved dog, but she’s ready to meet her fans again

071913_RubyRuby, the rescued pit bull and well-known therapy and service dog from Scandia, starts a new journey when owner Pat Bettendorf’s new book, “Ruby’s Road,” is released this August.

Bettendorf’s first book about Ruby, “Ruby’s Tale,” was released in 2010 and led Ruby and Bettendorf on many meet-and-greets with Ruby fans. Bettendorf expects a similar trajectory with the second book, which continues the story of the abandoned pup and her magnificent comeback.

“Oh, we’ll probably do a similar number of meet-and-greets. We’ve got invites back to Seattle, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Miami,” Bettendorf said.

Locally, the first meet-and-greet for “Ruby’s Road” is at 2 p.m. Aug. 3 at the Har Mar Mall Barnes and Noble in Roseville. Both books will be available for purchase and Ruby will be there to autograph the books with a paw print. Bettendorf and Ruby will also be at Valley Booksellers downtown Stillwater at noon Aug. 10.

Ruby is now 10 years old and showing signs of age. Recently, Bettendorf brought Ruby in to check on a lump since Ruby has previously battled cancer. The lump isn’t cancerous, but her spleen was discovered to be enlarged. The veterinarian told Bettendorf the spleen condition could just be because Ruby is old, but they are going to keep an eye on it.

Otherwise, Ruby is just slowing down like old dogs tend to do, but she is still the leader of Bettendorf’s “tribe” of rescued dogs.

“If the dogs are roughhousing and we want them to stop, Ruby will jump down from her spot on the couch and separate the group if she’s having a good day,” he said.

Sugar, one of the newest family members, is a rescued pit bull with similar coloring to Ruby but is much more energetic than her. Sugar is also much younger than Ruby, so Bettendorf is training her to take over Ruby’s duties as a therapy and service dog. According to Bettendorf, Sugar wants to take the alpha spot in the tribe from Ruby.
“Ruby became alpha because of her smarts. Sugar isn’t as smart as Ruby, but she is more physical and energetic,” he said.

Ruby has been a therapy dog for seniors for years and works as Bettendorf’s service dog. In “Ruby’s Tale,” the love the senior citizens have for Ruby is shown. Ruby and Sugar also help special needs children with reading at area libraries.

Even though Ruby is well-loved by her Facebook friends and readers, not everyone she meets reacts positively. Bettendorf writes in both books about animosity he and Ruby have faced because she is a pit bull. However, Ruby is as mild and mellow as a dog could be. She’s even been lunged at and attacked by other dogs and she’s never reacted negatively. Bettendorf, who has owned pit bull and rottweilers for years and has much experience with rescued “pitties and rotties,” wants to remind everyone that “it’s not the breed, it’s the owner.”

For more information about Ruby, Sugar and Bettendorf, visit

Contact Amanda White at [email protected]