The Undeniable Ruth Rotating Header Image

Rosie the Basset Hound

The Undeniable Recap of 2016

Wow . . . what a fucked up year 2016 has been, especially the last three months. I’m glad I do The Undeniable Recap every year to take a break from the current chaos and see that not everything in the last 366 days is terrifying and depressing. So let’s take a look at some of the highlights from 2016:

Working the Red Carpet at BlogPaws

1. BlogPaws with Rosie.  Rosie and I went to our first pet blogger conference this summer. I led a workshop on copyright and FTC rules for bloggers and we had so much fun meeting all the people and their pets. It’s been heartwarming to see Rosie bounce back from last year’s surgery and get her confidence back.

2. I Shaved my Head.  I decided to go back to my natural hair color, and instead of dealing with growing out my red hair, I just shaved it all off. That was empowering. Not having hair made me want to embody even more how strong women can be. My friends did a photo shoot right after I shaved my head and the images were so powerful.

Two of the Cool Kids on our Couch!

3. Cool Kids Couch. During law school, it seemed like one of the Cool Kids (Class of 2011, 2012, and 2013) was always sitting on the couch outside Room 116. When ASU Law announced they were moving downtown, we approached the school about sponsoring a Cool Kids Couch in the new building – and they let us! It’s up on the 6th floor, and apparently the current law students ripped the plaque off our gift to them. Hopefully they won’t do it again to the replacement plaque.

4. Flagstaff Ropes Course. I needed to get away for a few days last spring, so I booked a long weekend in Flagstaff and went to the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course. It was so much fun to climb trees and traverse obstacles. It was exactly what I needed; it got me out of my head for an afternoon. I need to do more stuff like this.

5. Photo Shoots. I got to do some amazing photo shoots this year. On a chilly February morning, Peter Shankman and I got up before dawn to do sunrise photo shoot near Canyon Lake. Those images were gorgeous! In May, I did a photo shoot out at The Domes near Casa Grande where I my chest and face were painted and I wore a 25-foot diameter parachute skirt. We got some dynamic shots right at sunset and some beautiful photos after the sun went down with fire breathers in the background.

Photo by Devon C. Adams Photography, used with permission

Phrase of the Year: “Lawyer Perch.”
When I speak at a conference and there is a table and chair at the front of the room for speakers, I like to plop myself down and sit cross-legged on top of the table. At WordCamp Phoenix, someone in the audience declared that this is the “lawyer perch.”  That works for me.

Photo by Devon C. Adams Photography, used with permission

Firsts in 2016
Court appearance as 1st chair
Trail race (and last)
In-home flood (and second one, unfortunately)
Chest binder
Stay at an Airbnb
Interview on KJZZ (local NPR station)
Replaced the smoke detector in my condo by myself
Foods: Coconut creamer, coconut ice cream, vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, vegan “butter,” white chocolate peanut butter
Sights: The Domes, 9/11 Memorial, Vaynermedia, Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course, Telepoem Booth
Events: Women in Travel Summit, BlogPaws, Sober morning rave, Junkyard photoshoot, Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage

Celebrity Sightings
Gloria Steinem
Mark Hamill

In Memoriam
Kevin Layton
Larry Grucky
Mike Calcutti (he died in 2015, but I didn’t learn about it ‘til 2016)
Alan Rickman
David Bowie
Prince
Anton Yelchin
Gene Wilder
John Glenn
Florence Henderson
Alan Thicke
George Michael
Carrie Fisher
Debbie Reynolds
The 49 Victims of the Orlando Night Club Shooting

Watching Rosie Thrive

My sweet basset hound, Rosie, celebrated her 9th birthday a few days ago. It’s been so much fun watching her regain her confidence this last year.

Rosie running with the kids in the neighborhood

Rosie Running with the Kids in the Neighborhood

When Rosie was 7, she developed glaucoma. She went from being a vivacious dog without any limits (except the inherent ones that come with having 5-inch legs) to being in tremendous pain and going blind in one eye. Our best option was to remove the eye, so my baby girl became a pirate dog. Glaucoma is a progressive disease, so to delay it from spreading to the other eye, we put her on three different eye drops. The medications keep the pressure in her remaining eye down, but they also limit her vision. When Rosie looks at the world now, it’s like she’s looking through a straw.

After her surgery, Rosie had stitches and was in a cone for 10 days before she could roam unencumbered again. She had to re-learn how to navigate, relying more on her sense of smell and being aware that she has a blindside.  On her first day out of the cone, I stood by while she got pummeled by Phoebe the bulldog who ran up on her on her blindside. I knew I wouldn’t be doing her any favors by coddling her, and I knew Phoebe running into her wouldn’t hurt her.

Working the Red Carpet at BlogPaws

Working the Red Carpet at BlogPaws

In the last year, Rosie has become more outgoing and playful than ever. When most people meet her, they don’t notice that she’s missing an eye. She runs around with the other dogs in the complex at full speed (and bassets can haul ass when motivated). At the office, she has no problem getting in/out of the car or waddling around to get pets or head out the backdoor when nature calls. When we’re in a new place, she’s more likely to hug the wall when we’re walking and to be more aware of where I am at all times.

Taking Rosie to the BlogPaws Conference was a highlight for both of us this summer. It was so cute to see her interacting with everyone – especially Bentley the basset hound who came from Louisiana with his human to attend. Watching those two run and bark together in the indoor dog park was so cute.

I’m excited to take Rosie to the AZ Basset Rescue Howl-o-ween picnic next weekend. There’s usually 30-50 dogs there, and it’s so much fun to watch them run as a pack with their little legs and flopping ears. She wasn’t super social last year, but I hope having another year to adjust to being a pirate dog and being back in the same event space as last year will help her be comfortable enough to let her rambunctious run free.

And in case you were wondering, Rosie is very grateful that I don’t believe in non-functional doggy fashion. No hot/annoying costume for her.

Rosie: Dominating the Dog Park

I live in a dog-friendly complex. A group of resident – including Rosie and me – regularly hang out in the center courtyard and let our dogs play. There’s nothing like the sound of a basset bark or watching Rosie try to keep up with the other dogs with her stubby legs. When they run in circles, she always takes the inside track.

Rosie and the Rope Toy - Trooping Home

Rosie and the Rope Toy – Trooping Home

Often when someone brings a dog toy to these gatherings, it becomes communally owned, and at the end of the play session, it will be left on the grass for other dogs to play with. The same is true for big sticks we find near and around the complex.

Rosie doesn’t care for dog toys except sticks and ice cubes. She loves to chew on these. Besides giving them a cursory sniff, she generally ignores tennis balls, Frisbees, and the like. I was surprised to see her pick up a rope toy the other day during our morning walk. She scooped it up and triumphantly trotted home with it in her mouth where she promptly dropped it on one of her beds and left it there for the rest of the day.

That afternoon, I grabbed the toy as we headed out for her afternoon stroll, and I tossed it back into the grass. Rosie didn’t seem phased by this. She ignored the toy and took herself on a smell tour of the area, until it was time to head back into the house. As she crossed the lawn, she picked up the toy nonchalantly and carried it back to our condo again – where she dropped it on our doorstep.

She doesn’t play with this toy. She doesn’t chew on it. She just brings it home and drops it – almost every time we go out for the last five days. Does she do this to flaunt her dominance over the other dogs? She may not be able to keep it up with them when it comes to running, but she can control their rope toy.

Rosie’s such a funny dog. Follow her on Instagram to see more of her adventures.

Rosie’s Adventures at Camp

Happiness is having Rosie home.

I had to send Rosie to the kennel (aka “camp”) when the air conditioner went out. After the A/C went out on Sunday night, I packed up Rosie’s medications and food, put her in her car harness, and drove her to camp where she got to chill in their climate control environment and enjoy extra playtime and puppy happy hour. It was so weird to be home for two days without having to walk her or watch where I was going. I had never been home that long without her.

Rosie does fine at the kennel, which is part of our vet’s office, and she sleeps most of the time she’s there. I ordered extra bedding for her so her dense 67-pound body would be comfortable. One of the things I like about this kennel is I can always call for an update. At the end of the first day, the tech told me how Rosie used her paws and nose to manipulate her blankets to create a nest for herself before falling asleep. That’s my Rosie.

Rosie's so happy to be home, resting after gallivanting with the neighborhood dogs.

Rosie’s so happy to be home, resting after gallivanting with the neighborhood dogs.

Expecting Rosie to be home by Tuesday night, I only packed three meals of kibble and chopped chicken for her. (Yes, I’m a pescatarian and I still cook chicken for my dog.) Normally when I take Rosie to camp, she gets the standard kibble the staff gives all the dogs whose parents didn’t pack meals. It’s the same brand of kibble she gets at home. I felt bad for her for this trip, so I packed meals for her too.

The tech fed Rosie on Wednesday morning before I picked her up. Apparently, when they put down her bowl of plain kibble, she looked up at the tech as if to say, “What the fuck is this?” and went back to bed. I think we’ve created a precedent that all future trips to camp will include her standard meals, with cubes of baked chicken.

The highlight of every trip to camp is picking Rosie up to come home. I have the techs put her in her car harness before bringing her out. Rosie is a mellow docile dog who sleeps most of the time when she’s at camp, but the moment she sees that harness, she jumps to life and whines to be taken out. It was so cute to see her pull the tech down the hall to the lobby where she bounded through the door, barking her head off. There was a collective “Awh” from the front desk staff as dog and owner were reunited.

It’s so good to have her home again – back to our usual routine of walks, treats, and lots of pets. If you’re interested in keeping up with Rosie’s adventures, follow her on Instagram.

Adventures in Adulting – Arizona Style

It’s 5:30pm on Sunday. What’s that puddle in the hallway?

Saguaro Monsoon Sunset by Michael Mifall from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Saguaro Monsoon Sunset by Michael Mifall from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Oh shit! The air conditioner is dripping! That can’t be good. Quick – turn off the clothes dryer and the other heat sources in the house. Turn up the ceiling fans!

Thank god for home warranties. I can place a service call 24/7. Should I call them or use the website? Definitely calling – this is an emergency.

The polite call center worker submits my order to dispatch and informs me, “Someone will get back to you within 24 hours.”

24 hours?! It was over 110 degrees today! What are you talking about 24 hours? I want someone here now! The operator says it can take up to 24 hours, but sometimes dispatch responds within 5 minutes. There’s only so much she can do from behind her screen, probably in the midwest somewhere. She thanks me for not yelling at her.

Thank goodness we’re past the worst of the heat for the day. Will we have to stay in a hotel tonight? I hope not, but just in case, I find a dog-friendly hotel on Bring Fido. Rosie is priority number one. I can take a lot more heat than she can, than I would ever subject her to. Wasn’t there a guy who opted not to use his A/C for a year? I’d never ask Rosie to do that.

I have appointments tomorrow. I can’t leave Rosie at home. I leave a voicemail at the vet which is also our kennel.

How did people live in Arizona before air conditioning?

Love this Dog

Love this Dog

It’s 6:45. The sun’s going down. It’s only 85 degrees in the condo. We’ll be ok tonight, but tomorrow Rosie’s going to “camp” until the A/C gets fixed. She’ll have a temperature-controlled indoor kennel with extra bedding, playtime, and puppy happy hour.

It turns out the soonest I could get an appointment is Wednesday morning. It’s so weird to be home without Rosie. I don’t mind that I’m covered in sweat. Spritzing my head and shirt make it more bearable. Hopefully it will only be one more night before I’m relaxing under the gentle whirl of the air conditioner and Rosie laying at my feet.

Rosie the Pirate: Beating the Odds

Rosie and I had an appointment with her puppy optometrist over the weekend – just a 6-month check-up to check her remaining eye. Rosie has been such a trooper since getting glaucoma and losing an eye last year. She’s on 3 medications – 5 eye drops a day, and she never fights or fusses about it.

Happy Rosie with her Stick - May 2016

Happy Rosie with her Stick – May 2016

We had a good appointment. The pressure in her eye was 9 (anything below 20 is good), and her current medication regimen seems to be working. The vet reminded me that glaucoma is a progressive disease, and it will be only a matter of time before the medications stop working. We can try other medications, but eventually she’ll lose the other eye.

Thankfully, Rosie is beating the odds. The vet said most dogs with glaucoma lose the second eye within a year of losing the first one. It’s been 14 months since her diagnosis, and her sight has been mostly unchanged. Of course, I’ve been super diligent about her medication – yes, she has a check sheet to track her meds each day.

When we travel, we always bring a cooler and stay in places that have a refrigerator in the room because one of her meds has to be refrigerated. We always bring her emergency glycerin in case she goes spontaneously blind. The glycerin has to be mixed with milk, so that means, even though I’m a mostly-vegan, there’s always a pint of milk in the house just in case Rosie needs it.

We’re lucky that Rosie can still see. Even when she goes blind I’ll still be dedicated to making her life awesome, but how we define “awesome” will probably change. If you want to see more of Rosie, follow her on Instagram.

Paying it Forward to the Hounds

I adopted Rosie from the Arizona Basset Hound Rescue in 2012. Having this dog completely changed my life. I am beyond grateful to this rescue organization for saving her. Now we’re paying it forward to other hounds.

Rosie and I at the AZBHR Picnic 2014

Ruth and Rosie at the AZBHR Picnic – October 2014

Before they rescued her, Rosie was in rough shape. She had neglectful owners who didn’t notice that she had growths in her mouth that had to be surgically removed. I doubt they ever trimmed her nails because they got so long they curled under and were digging into the pads of her paws. Somewhere along the way, someone or something took a notch out of one of her floppy ears. How could anyone treat this dog so badly?

The Rescue got her out of that situation, provided the medical care she needed, and placed her with a foster family who showered her with love. I remember the day of our meet and greet. I took one look at Rosie and thought, “We’re done. That’s my dog.” It was love at first sight.

The Arizona Basset Hound Rescue cares for and places dozens of dogs every year. They even have “Angel Hounds” that are on adoptable due to medical reasons or other issues, but that the Rescue places with a foster family and cares for them for the rest of their lives.

Pirate Pup - March 2015

Pirate Pup – March 2015

I’m so grateful to this organization for taking care of Rosie, and I feel lucky that I haven’t had to flinch any time she’s needed medical attention. She’s been a bit of million dollar dog with a getting valley fever in 2013 and then glaucoma last year. I’m fortunate to be in a position that I can provide for all of her needs.  I feel that it’s the least we can do to help this Rescue care for other dogs in the same way.

Rosie and I will be walking with the Arizona Basset Hound Rescue in the Phoenix St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 12th to raise money for this organization. The rescue calls this event Waddle O’ the Green. This name is perfect because basset hounds’ spines are so long that their butts sway back and forth when they walk. One of Rosie’s nicknames is “Waddles.” We are well on our way to reaching our fundraising goal, and we would love it if everybody in our extended circle of loved ones could contribute to this cause.

Rosie has brought so much joy to my and other people’s lives. I feel this is the least we can do to pay it forward to the next hound that needs rescuing.

My Dog Stinks

Rosie StickThis is my dog Rosie.

We go for walks every day.

She likes to rub her head on stuff.

It makes her happy.

I let her do it as long it’s not poop.

There’s one plant Rosie loves to rub her head on.

This plant smells so bad.

It makes her head smells bad.

Then we go back in the house.

And she gets that smelly plant smell on her bedding and the carpet.

But she’s happy, so I let her get away with it.

My dog stinks.

Because I Said I Would

Rosie's Dog Beach

Rosie’s Dog Beach

Happy Puppy by the Sea

Happy Puppy

Earlier this year, Rosie’s lost an eye to glaucoma. When the vet told me that it was only a matter of time before she went completely blind, I decided to make sure her life is awesome. I’ve always wanted to take Rosie to the beach and see how she reacts to the crashing waves. Now that the weather is getting cooler, I started looking for off-leash dog beaches in southern California. When I discovered Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach, I took that as a sign and made a reservation at a dog-friendly hotel to celebrate her upcoming birthday. (My baby girl is turning 8 this month.)

Rosie and I spent two days at Rosie’s Dog Beach and she loved it. She loved laying on the sand and walking up to strangers to request pets and belly rubs. She wasn’t too keen on the water at first. I think the crashing of the waves scared her a bit, and there’s was so way she was going to go swimming like some of the other dogs. By the end of the second day, she was happily running along the water’s edge with my friends’ dog and didn’t seem too upset when incoming waves brushed her paws and undercarriage.

Long Beach is a remarkably dog-friendly city. Several businesses on 2nd Street had water bowls next to their doors and many restaurants had dog-friendly patios. One restaurant, The Attic, even had a dog menu so Rosie enjoyed some sliced sausage while I had a veggie burger. We also stopped by Pussy and Pooch where Rosie was treated to a birthday paw bowl of duck with pumpkin sauce and chia seeds.

Sleepy Puppy

Sleepy Puppy

The main downside of Long Beach is its lack of parking. Rosie was so tired from playing at the beach that I put her in her utility wagon and pulled her the three blocks to Eggs Etc. from our parking spot because she seemed too tired to walk. (She had the spring back in her step after downing two bowls of water, resting at my feet, and eating the bacon from my combo meal.)

This was a wonderful trip to give Rosie. Every night when we got back to our room, she fell into her bed for a long deep sleep after the day’s excitement. (Yes, I brought her big plushy bed with us. I swear traveling with a dog requires almost as much stuff as traveling with a toddler.) It was so cute to watch her crash out after having so many adventures.

Day 81/90 – Simple Pleasures

Day 81 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I didn’t hurt myself when I kicked Rosie’s bone.

Rosie Loves her Rawhide Bone!

Rosie Loves her Rawhide Bone!

Today was pretty unremarkable. I’ve been really tired of this week so I opted not to torture myself by going for a run this morning. I went to the office and cranked on client work all morning before attending a CLE for women lawyers about having “true grit.” I don’t consider myself to be someone who has any issues in this area, but I went to the CLE (1) to meet other cool lawyers and (2) because it was free. I will admit, I was underwhelmed by the program but the more neophyte lawyers seem to appreciate it.

So what made today awesome? To be honest, the best thing that happened today was the fact that something didn’t happen. After taking Rosie for her evening walk, I was walking through the bedroom when I kicked one of her rawhide bones. Thankfully, I was still wearing my sneakers so it didn’t hurt. Have you ever stepped on or kicked a rawhide bone with bare feet after it’s gnarled from your dog chewing on it? It hurts like a bitch! I was relieved when my sneakers spared me from that pain and annoyance.

In case you missed it: Day 80 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I got to talk about my non-traditional legal career with prospective law students.