This Puppy Love is Real

By Owen Santos, Mom of Ruby the Laguna Pitbull

Four years ago, I met a girl and fell in love. Her name is Ruby. People ask me, these days, what attracted me to her. Maybe it was her awesome smile. Perhaps it was that voluptuous body with those beautiful markings. It could have been her soulful eyes, too–deep brown orbs (and those flirty lashes!) that seemed to say “I choose to spend my life with you.” (Or maybe she meant “I command you to give me treats for the rest of my life!”)

Ruby enjoying a bed for the first time in her life

Ruby and nearly 300 other dogs had just been rescued from a dog fighting syndicate a few months before that first meeting. From being chained to the ground, “housed” in steel drums that provided no protection from the elements, and being forced to fight or breed, to living in a home where she is considered a member of the family, fed yummy, healthy meals, given ample time for play, in a safe home with her very own warm and comfortable Muttress–what a life change for her!

Ruby and I after my chemo treatment

But it was a huge life change for me, too. Having Ruby around for my daily walks brought my exercises to another level. She helped make me stronger. I’ve also learned to become more patient, more loving, and compassionate. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2015, Ruby was one of those who helped keep my spirits up. I can tell she worries about me as I go through treatment. But we both know we’ll weather this storm together to live out our days taking walks, sharing treats, or maybe just vegging out in bed.


There are still a lot of rescued Pitbulls in need of your help. For more information, go to if you would like to adopt or sponsor a dog. All photos by Owen Santos