One Cool Canine
Story and photos by Meda Kessler
With mad skills and a goofy streak, this award-winning pup is herself a prize
Stephanie Pollard puts Ruby through her paces on an agility course in her dog trainer’s backyard. The sun has begun a slow descent, but the temperature is still hovering near three digits, even in the shade. We watch the bright-eyed pup weave through a row of poles, jump through a large ring and perform other skills on command.
But what really impresses us is Ruby’s discipline and her ability to ignore a small water feature that looks invitingly cool. Ruby also patiently poses for the photographer, even when she’s asked to do something that’s a bit awkward or goes against her training. We know she’s thinking, “Hey, human, that’s really not what this apparatus is for, but I’ll stand here and smile because that’s what I do, plus I’ll get a treat.”
If “eager to please” were a competitive category, Ruby would win all the ribbons.
Lest you think we’re talking about a blueblood canine here, think again. Ruby is part Brittany, part border collie and part Aussie. As with most adoption stories, Stephanie saved the pup, and Ruby saved Stephanie.
In 2016, she learned about a petite Aussie mix in the care of a small rescue group in Mingus; the dog was found on a highway and had been in their care for about three weeks. Only about a year old, she was sunburned from living outside but full of energy and, yes, eager to please. Her name was Ruby.
“I adopted her for $25 and decided that her full name would be Ruby Blue Mingus.”
Ruby is registered with the American Kennel Club as an “All-American Dog” — a program that welcomes mixed breeds into sanctioned events such as rally or obedience. Aside from being Stephanie’s best buddy, RBM is now a highly decorated competitor in multiple categories who has been invited numerous times to the AKC Rally National Championship.
“From the second she came home with me, she was high energy and, honestly, it was driving me a bit crazy. I enrolled her in obedience and training classes immediately.”
Stephanie lost her father about 10 months after adopting Ruby, and the dog provided a salve for her heart and soul. Working out with the pup during her training classes jump-started Stephanie’s own fitness routine. A 17-year grant writer for the Fort Worth Independent School District, Stephanie enjoys her time out of the office — especially with Ruby.
Ruby’s not a textbook-perfect show dog, which is one of the things Stephanie loves about her. “A lot of people would have tried to train out her quirks. Ruby does everything in her own style; she’s not perfect, but she’s a lot of fun.”
Her occasional goofiness wins the hearts of audiences and judges, too, and her ribbon collection continues to grow. Stephanie’s social media feed is full of Ruby photos; the dog is a championship-caliber poser, whether she’s wearing her show ribbons or dressing up in costume or hanging out in a bluebonnet field for the annual rite-of-spring portrait. Follow Ruby on social media at instagram.com/rubybluemingus if you’re in need of a smile or inspiration.
“I’m so proud of her, because she’s so proud.”