Even after three years, it is not easy to tell the story of what happened to us that fateful morning in May! But tell it I must, for by not telling it, I would be unable to share one of the great love stories of all time! Warning….it contains violence……

I cheerfully packed ice cold bottles of Perrier into the little trunk of our bumble bee yellow, scooter and hopped on behind my love…. We were heading for a little beach road on the other side of town, to measure our running route to be sure it was as far as we thought it was, if you are a runner you know what I mean! I loved tootling along with my arms wrapped around Martin’s waist! It was so peaceful and so innocent, just the two of us enjoying a simple pleasure in our most beloved Cabarete, Dominican Republic, to which, we had followed our dream and moved to several years prior. “I feel as safe and comfortable here as I would be tootling along in Nova Scotia” Martin observed, words which would haunt us later.

His words were still hanging in the air, when suddenly two bandits appeared on a motorcycle, put a pistol to his head, pulled me off the scooter and began their attack. One guy pulled and tore at Martin trying to get his wedding ring and architect’s ring, tearing his clothes while Martin fought back. My blue eyed attacker, pulled out a large knife and tried to cut off my ring fingers to get my wedding rings which would not budge in the tropical heat, frustrated he threw me to the ground and beat me with his pistol……I screamed wildly… I remember wanting it to be a bad dream but it wasn’t and I also remember thinking we would die…..Seeing his wife attacked like that, made something click in Martin…. He started shouting, and waving his arms  to get them  to leave me alone and suddenly it was over….we held each other…. It was over, we held each other it was over, we were alive, had all our fingers and it was over……

How was I supposed to know that this day would be any different than all my other days? Since, I was born last August, I spend each day, much like any other dog, eating, sleeping, running on the beach, getting pats on the head, doing my private investigations of situations that occur on my beach and of course smelling to see what is up. My owner makes sure I get plenty to eat, I hang around with him, I run on the beach with him……he loves me to pieces and I love him right back.

I cheerfully headed off to do my investigations of the beach, I smelled something odd coming downwind, couldn’t quite make it out. A guy never knows what happens on the beach, I mean horses, dogs, fisherman, not to mention the kiters, ahh the kiters they whiz by so quickly and I have to say I love nothing more than chasing them. So when I returned home. My owner wasn’t there, my place wasn’t there, in my place was a cranky rottie. I kept trying to get in but my friend the guard kept telling me to leave…. What the heck is going on I thought… where is my person and why is that dog here and then with a big thud something hit my back…. The pain and oh no now I can’t wag my tail…. I trotted away and spent the night next door at least there was a pallapa..

The attack was over, but “it” was far from over, in fact “It” had just begun…. The physical wounds would heal, leaving scars that paled in comparison to the fear, the grief, the anger, the nightmares… the fear of leaving the house or running on the beach or even of staying in this country…. The face with the blue eyes that looked at me, the sight of the knife….. at the same time, we were grateful beyond words for being alive…… we knew it would take time, we were not going to allow this to ruin our dream of living here, and we knew we would heal but we did not know how…. We did know that for nearly every day of our close to 30 years together we have run together…. So that seemed as good of a place as any to start to recover.

Well, I still didn’t know where my owner was, many nights and days had passed, I was getting pretty hungry and kind of dirty and quite frankly, scruffy looking, oh no I thought I am starting to look like a beach dog, oh no not that! I found out that around the corner the hotel had lots of garbage that I could eat, and the villas had a sprinkler going so I could get a drink. I was trying to find my owner but not having much luck, I didn’t dare return to my house, my tail still didn’t wag and the guard was certainly not my friend…. Good thing for the pallapas next door. One day while doing my investigations up the beach, I saw something, at first I did not know what it was, and then I knew…. It was my new people, a lady and a man and they were hurting and they needed me…. Be patient I thought be patient..

The first day back at running on the beach we were terrified, let’s just go slowly and not far OK. “ You OK with this Sweetie” I asked Martin. Rather curtly he nodded yes. I see, I thought, then why are you trying to run with a concealed machete, but in a rather rare moment of silence, I kept my thoughts to myself. And off we went, up the beach Martin with his machete in his running shorts and me with my heart in my throat. Every palm tree made me jump, every person on the beach made me twitch. We only got as far as the hotel about one kilometer away,” it’s too scary sweetie let’s go back” I said. And as we turned I noticed a dirty, scruffy dog, drinking from the sprinkler…. He had beautiful but sad Ambar colored eyes!

Enzo says that we dogs don’t have speech so we must rely on gestures, OK I get that… but how on earth can I use gestures to convince those people, pretty sure I smelled cat on them, so to convince those cat people that I, scruffy, beach dog me, am their new family member??? Oh this is hopeless!!! Wait, I have a plan…… EVERY time they go for a run…. I will go with them, they will start to feel safe, that’s it! And every time they come to a pallapa, I will greet them, OK I may have to look sad and pathetic but it is for a good cause….. Thanks Enzo. You are the best!

In the following weeks, I spent a lot of time under a pallapa, grieving and processing. The scruffy beach dog appeared every day, with his sad eyes and pathetic appearance I gave up shooing him away, in fact I started bringing food, water, bones and a brush to take care of him. Somehow taking care of him helped me heal! The god’s honest truth be told, I started talking to him, telling him things about the attack and being afraid and he looked at me with his kind, gentle Ambar eyes and seemed to get it and “it” started to go away. When Martin and I went for our runs, we noticed that he came with us, and we noticed that we ran farther and farther and the palm trees weren’t so scary anymore and the dog wasn’t so scruffy anymore.

One morning, we met on the beach, Martin and I and Ruffus, { did I mention we named him Ruffus} we were walking and talking and Ruffus was bouncing and smiling! We stopped to look out at the ocean, Ruffus gave me his paw, “ Ruffus” I said solemnly…… Will you be our dog?

So from that day forward, three years ago Martin, Ruffus and I have been together more or less non- stop.  Many people comment on how lucky Ruffus is to have been rescued by us, But we know the truth .It was Ruffus that rescued us!