You may have noticed that every Beato Goes To book begins with a conversation between Ruso (the dog) and Beato (the cat). Ruso is Beato’s elder and “wiser” brother who offers him advise and disciplines him when needed. He knows a lot about the world since he has lived much longer than Beato. In fact, Ruso is a real life character!
Let me tell you about the real Ruso or Russo. My husband and I adopted a 2 month old Cairn Terrier from a breeder in Jasper, Georgia. We named him Ruso, meaning Russian in Spanish, or Norsemen in Latin. As a puppy, he was cute as a teddy bear! It was around Christmas 2002 when we brought him home and he was super excited to see a brightly lit Christmas tree with presents under it. In fact, opening wrapped packages became the most exciting moments in his life then on.
Ruso also loved to play. He had a lot of stuffed animals, chew bones, squeaky toys and tugging ropes. He would spend hours playing with an air blown swimming pool ball, bouncing it on his nose! He also loved to chase squirrels and mockingbirds in the backyard. He would dart out the doggie door and run around with lots of energy. Ruso was a very active dog until his last days.
Though Ruso shared his home with 3 cat roommates (only 1 at a time), he barely tolerated his feline companions. On the other hand, Beato looked up to his older brother in every possible way. From the time we got Beato home (Ruso was already 8 then), Beato would imitate Ruso’s doggie behaviors. They both would run to the door to greet us, chase balls around the house, play with toys, and keep us entertained in the evenings. Occasionally, Beato would give Ruso a head bump or a kiss on his head, but every now and then he would also give a playful nip in the back!
Ruso taught me a few things over his lifetime. Be happy about the smallest things in life and don’t be afraid to show it. He always wagged his tail with lot os excitement no matter how small the event. He was happy that we were back home, we brought home shopping bags, someone rang the doorbell, it was time to eat or he got a new ball – there was always an occasion to celebrate.
Age is only a state of mind. Every time Ruso and I went for a walk, kids would come to me and ask how old was my puppy. I had to correct them that he was an old dog, though he preferred to look and act young. Ruso was young at heart, which translated to good physical form. He ran everyday, he went for walks in the neighborhood and for hikes on the weekend. Even when he was too old to run, he would keep walking around the house. He never gained weight, had a muscular body and a good appetitive for organic grain-free dog food. I hope to be like Ruso when I am old 🙂
It is true that dogs have unconditional love for their families. They give us tons of joy and take away a piece of our hearts when they depart. Last week, Ruso passed away at age 15, which is 108 in dog years! He led a full, wholesome live, full of love and antics. Even though he will be greatly missed, he will stay alive in the books forever.