Name: Melanie Rigden
Where you and your dog live(d): St. Louis, MO, but we're looking to head West soon.
Your current age: 29
Your age when you got your dog: 28
What do you do? (work, school, etc.): I work in marketing at a tech company.
Dog’s name: Ruby
Dog’s age: 1
Ruby just turned one and has mellowed out a lot in the past couple months. She's a mini Australian Labradoodle from a local breeder, St. Louis Australian Labradoodles.
Why did you want a dog?
I grew up with pets and am a total animal lover. I'm also not big on kids, so for me my dog is my kid. I love the companionship and unconditional love that comes with having a dog.
How has having a dog changed your life?
I actually never intended to get Ruby. I previously had an F1B shadow colored goldendoodle named Ali Bama that my boyfriend and I got from a farm in Kentucky. We got her as a pup (our first dog together) when I was 24. Suddenly, in April 2016 she fell ill with pancreatitis and passed right before her 4th Birthday. I was completely devastated and thought my life had ended (I'm sure we've all experienced this). But after I could pull myself together, I realized I'd be lost without another dog. So Bama led us to Ruby.
We had to adjust our life when we got Bama no more late night partying, last minute trips, or sporadic daily happenings. But we were o.k. with that. In fact, the routine we had built never altered after Bama - we didn't want it to.
How do/did you deal with having a dog in your twenties, may it be now or previously?
I don't think there was/is a lot to deal with. I had pets growing up and knew there were responsibilities involved. I was ready to completely make my life about my dog and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Any hard times?
Potty training a puppy has always been really hard for me. Ruby and Bama were big criers as pups and hated their crates, so I can definitely recall nights where my boyfriend would sleep on the floor by the crate and I would cry in bed while the pup cried. With Bama, we were a little stronger with crate training. With Ruby, we gave up after night two.
What are some of your favorite things to do with your dog?
I absolutely love to travel and with Ruby's small size, I love that I get to share that with her. I take her just about everywhere I can domestically (she's quite the seasoned flyer) and enjoy making the trips we take really dog-friendly. Ruby is also a great patio pup at local restaurants, walking buddy and Netflix and chill partner. She also tolerates all the costumes I put her in and all the photos I love to take of her.
Does anyone help you take care of your dog while at work or school?
Thankfully, I get to work from home once a week and on the other days I am able to come home to have lunch with Ruby and let her play outside for a bit. If my schedule doesn't permit, I typically take her to the local day care near us so she can socialize (mainly with the humans that work there).
If you are in a relationship, how does your partner feel about your dog?
My boyfriend is just as obsessed as I am, which is great! We have matching doodle mom/dad t-shirts, matching Christmas PJ's and he gets into all our photoshoots. It's definitely a joint paw-rent effort in our house all the time.