If every dog has its day, this is certainly Ru Ru’s.
The wheelchair-bound dachshund has captured the hearts of the community and beyond, and his 15 minutes of fame will likely land him a new home.
The phone has “been ringing and ringing like crazy,” said Karen Sesso, shelter manager at the Humane Society Naples. “It’s wonderful, everybody loves him.”
The Humane Society Naples rescued Ru Ru earlier this month from a shelter in LaBelle that could no longer keep the special-needs dog. Ru Ru is paralyzed in the back legs as the result of an injury, and his previous owners found his needs too much to handle, according to Michael Simonik, executive director of the Naples shelter.
“He lived with a full adult-size Rottweiler, and they loved each other and played around a lot,” said Simonik. “Accidentally, the Rottweiler stepped on his hind-end so he went paralyzed from that day forward.”
Ru Ru’s story hit the mass media through newspaper, television and online reports this past week and he has become a canine celebrity. Dozens of people have called, some from as far away as Canada, Colorado and New Jersey. There are even some considering flying to Southwest Florida to meet him.
“Without the news letting people know about it, I don’t think we’d even be at square one with an application,” said Sesso.
Leslie Newcity heard about Ru Ru from a friend who saw him in the news and drove down from Venice on Friday afternoon to see if they are a match.
“I think what really touched me was this humane society stepping up and coming and rescuing him,” said Newcity. “He is definitely a survivor and a fighter.”
Newcity works with children and adults with disabilities several times a week. She likes the idea of sharing Ru Ru with her clientele because they could relate to him.
The shelter is currently accepting applications for adoption and searching for the best fit for Ru Ru’s special needs.
“It’s not just the wheelchair issues that we’re talking about, he does have an incontinence issue,” said Sesso. “He needs daily care several times a day for urination.”
The shelter is looking for, preferably, a one-floor home where he won’t be left alone for extended periods of time during the day. Ru Ru is friendly with other dogs and children, but wherever he ends up, he will need people to work with him.
It is important to “know his limitations, but also challenge him,” said Sesso.
The shelter is considering several applications and hoping to find a home for Ru Ru this week, perhaps in time for Thanksgiving. The cost of his adoption is $125.
In the meantime, he is living like a king. He has a new wheelchair the shelter purchased for him to better fit his body. He has his own room near the front desk outfitted with pillows, blankets and toys. He also is getting plenty of play during his own daily visiting hours from 3 to 4 p.m.
“He is happy to meet everybody,” said Sesso. “He loves the world.”