Ruth’s Tail

We drop our roll-bags, expansion bags, tank-bags, helmets and jackets with heavy sighs. We are eager for three days and three nights of no-where and nothing, in a cabin on a ferry from Burgas, Bulgaria to Batumi, Georgia.

Then, a dog barks! And our hearts leap. Oh, we miss our Potter and Oscar. We crave the company of dogs.

On the deck we soon meet Ruth and Homer …. And another, Pluto! What a joy. We chat and pat eagerly.

Ruth’s tale crawls inside us, to stay. It endears a lot and distresses a little.

Here it is. It’s a long tale but worth every wag. I hope.

Ruth is Swiss and lives in Bern. I suppose, she suffers from that ‘unbearable lightness of being’. The good job, lovely apartment, dear friends and family, leave her wanting. And a flight of fancy grabs her. She resigns, sells up and packs in, to amble, with Homer. They go southwards and eastwards to follow the most beautiful paths and trails. Homer is a rescue dog, a Spanish hunting breed. A best friend, an ideal walking companion for Ruth!

After about 3 months, somewhere In Bulgaria, a skeleton of a dog, slithers up towards them. Ruth extends a small treat and a careful pat. A ‘thank you’ follows, to cower all other ‘thank you’s. Ruth starts to cry and finds it hard to stop. Pluto! Pluto! Pluto joins the pack! It interrupts their journey for a wintery 5 months. It’s a happy interruption. Pluto gains muscle and strength, coat and confidence, pack and papers. It also comes with an unexpected consequence. Pluto has a docked tail and authorities will not allow him to enter Switzerland with Ruth and Homer. Unless … Ruth has proof that she has ‘owned’ Pluto, outside of Switzerland, for more than a year. This is to dissuade dog owners in Switzerland from going outside of Switzerland to dock tails.

And so, Ruth’s flight of fancy, gains another year. They will set out to find a small home near a huge forest somewhere in Georgia or Azerbaijan. Ruth is clear, without Pluto, she would be home now. And she is not ready for home yet. A fluke of fate …

Pluto is gangly legged, exuberate and eager for attention. He jumps up, play-bows and with a soft open mouth grabs a hand, an arm. He invites me, then Harry, then Homer to chase him. What about tug-of-war? He barks incessantly …

Homer is elegant and reserved and bears Pluto patiently. Homer becomes an adult. But gladly relinquishes some of the protective responsibilities to Pluto.

I wonder if they ‘journey’ as curiously, as inquisitively, and as nosey-ly as us. Oh more so, laughs Ruth! Each field, each forest, each mountain pass is wildly different with scents. Once, in the early days, Pluto hones in on a track and is off. Forever? Ruth & Homer wait, nail bitingly, in the same spot for 8 hours! Now, Pluto wears his bed-pack to remember he belongs! Ruth tells they fight occasionally but forget easily, so unlike humans. They re-act well to street-dogs who keep a distance. But the social-able pet-dog flusters them.

But it is also, not easy. Pluto barks and jumps up, all the time. A circle of friendly truckers closes in … and Pluto becomes twitchy and then unruly. Homer is alone with me for a moment, and anxiety etches his face. Ruth is up in the wee hours, as Homer and Pluto search for a tree on the upper deck.

It is time to leave the sanctuary of the ferry. And everybody packs and loads and readies to leave. Our ferry locks into a berth, engines hiss and shut-down, a motor ramp clunks to ground, truckers rev their engines, wheels screech into action, steel floorboards gulp and wobble under the weight … and Homer fixes with fear and Pluto rears and retracts.

The open treads of stairway, up, across and down, three times over, are insurmountable for Ruth and Homer and Pluto. She decides to stay till everybody is out and everything is quiet. We say our good-byes, far too quickly.

Harry & I, also anxiously, clamber onto dead heavy bikes. We manhandle ourselves, out of corners, in between trucks, down ramps, past security checks and into the port city of Batumi. Traffic, all-sorts, whizzes past. We need money, petrol, travel insurance, accommodation ….

Our thoughts stay with Ruth, Homer and Pluto. They face all this and much more. May they soon find an endless forest, packed full of sniffs, to ramble in, to their triple hearts’ content.

We salute Ruth! Bravely and happily she faces her happenstance, Pluto. There are not a lot of ‘Ruth’s in the World.

The quality, of many of these photos, is poor. Simply because it is hard to focus when Pluto is abound.

Here is Ruth, with black Pluto and tan Homer.

The upper deck of the ferry. The dogs stay in her cabin but come out regularly. Not a tree in sight to mark.

Our farewells in the passageway …

… wonderfully frantic …

Ruth clearly carries it all …

… but both Homer and Pluto carry their own bedding.

Ruth wisely decides to disembark last. Bon Voyage dear Ruth, Homer and Pluto.

13 Responses to Ruth’s Tail

  1. Anonymous

    Two special dogs and their mom, looking out for each other. Just love the story of all of them and the fact that Pluto and Homer carry their own bedding. Very sweet story go well dogs and Ruth. keep safe till next time.
    Debbie – Durban.

  2. Colin

    A lesson need to be learned here. Apricot Schnapps, Flirt Vodka, Beer and a camera do not mix well together. Judging by the photos looks as if the camera had too much to drink!!!
    Keep safe Colin from Durban.

  3. gail van der mey

    A fantastic story of courage and perseverace; not only Ruth but the two of you too !

  4. gail van der mey

    What a trio. I am so impressed with all that doggie love I get tears in my eyes for them all and you two too. Ruth is amazing, What a touching tale of tails

  5. Colin

    Nice to make friend with animals on your trip. Wonderful dogs. I like the way they carry their own bedding.
    Interesting trip on the ferry. Keep safe Colin from Durban.

  6. Anonymous

    What a wonderful story and an amazing person Ruth! The bags the dogs carry are very cute! But not an easy choice she made – and adopting along the way. Big heart! Great story – thanks for sharing! Lots of love Amelia xx

  7. Anonymous

    What a beautiful touching story. Tears blurr the screen!!!!!! and words seem futile and empty.

    Wow, touching and a brave woman and loyalty will suffice for now.

    Linnie and Harry you adventures continue to enrich our lives. Thank you.

    As always take care. Be careful and safe.
    Wintie

  8. Anonymous

    What a beautiful story! I’ve read it several times. Both are fabulous – your penmanship, and the lovely story about a dog that has been rescued. How lovely! Yes we need more Ruths in this world! It certainly is a tale about a tail that has left me grinning….

  9. Paul and Philna

    Aaaah an animal and kindness story. How wonderful and brave. Must often be difficult to find accommodation that will take dogs. She is one determined and great woman. Lots of love and be safe. Us two.

  10. Mike

    A wonderful “tail”

  11. Jim and Muriel xx

    Dogs are NOT the same the world over——a story to remember for sure—-here’s to Homer,Pluto and not least to Ruth.
    Go on with care you lovely twosome with love as aye Jim and Muriel xx

  12. Jim and Muriel xx

    Dogs are NOT the same the world over———-a story to remember for sure———here’s to Homer, Pluto and not least to Ruth !

  13. Anonymous

    Such a touching story, and what a special lady! Enjoy meeting such interesting people on your journey. Love Lauren

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