The world of animal rescue is not all sunshine and happy endings. It has more than its share of heartbreak – something Patrick Bettendorf eloquently reminds us of in his first book “Ruby’s Tale.” While we never forget the tragedies, in the end it is the victories, no matter how small, that inspire us to persevere.
As he takes us through his boyhood and enlightens us as to how he came to be where he is now ̶ a shelter volunteer, dog foster/adopter, educator, author and advocate ̶ Bettendorf is acutely aware that his past experiences have made him who he is today.
Back in 2003, the Bettendorfs were the go-to family for pit bulls and Rottweilers at St. Francis Animal Rescue in Forest Lake, Minnesota, where Pat and his wife Lynn were volunteers. So when a foster was needed for a little pit bull named Ruby, the Bettendorfs were the natural choice. Ruby may have been small in stature but she had a heart of epic proportions.
It was supposed to be a brief foster stint over the Thanksgiving holiday, but Ruby had other plans. She quickly won over the entire family and never left.
(All photos published with the permission of Patrick Bettendorf)
Ruby and her brother had been found in an empty house, emaciated and without food or water. Some dogs never recover from the harm that is inflicted on them early in life but Ruby did not let the neglect and abandonment of her early days prevent her from accomplishing great things. She became a co-host on a radio show and earned a part in a local theater production, despite some apprehensions about her breed. She became a Certified Therapy Dog and Bettendorf’s personal Service Dog. She has traveled far and wide and has become a spokesdog against Breed Specific Legislation.
“Ruby’s Tale” chronicles some of her adventures, including some terrifying moments while vacationing with her family, a trip to Hollywood where she rode in a limo, dined in fancy restaurants, stayed in a four-star hotel and appeared on “The Bonnie Hunt Show,” and finally a battle with cancer which she fearlessly conquered with courage and dignity. We can all learn a thing or two from Ruby ̶ the little dog with the indomitable spirit who refused to let life’s challenges prevent her from experiencing all that the world has to offer.
Winner of the 2011 National Indie Excellence Award, “Ruby’s Tale” is a triumph – a true victory for the underdog. It will make you smile, touch your heart and ultimately leave you feeling like all things are possible. I look forward to reading (and reviewing) the sequel, “Ruby’s Road,” with great anticipation.
For ordering information, please visit http://www.rubystales.com/. Ruby’s Tale is also available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle versions. Be sure to follow Ruby on Facebook too!