Fran with Cody
The Diablo Valley German Shepherd Dog and Mt. Diablo Dog Training clubs lost long-time member and friend Fran Ruby on Nov. 29, 2014. As those who knew her remembered Fran this past week in face-to-face conversations and on Facebook, the words most often used to describe her were, “Kind,” “Gentle,” “Sweet,” and proud of her German Shepherd dogs and the breed.
In 1971, Fran and her husband Hal took home a German Shepherd Dog puppy from MDDTC’s Loretta Delinger, launching their 40-plus years of owning, training, and showing GSDs.
In the mid-1990’s, Fran and Hal got involved with Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, where they met Diana and Larry Altree (the latter a DVGSDC past president and board member). Dogless at the time, Fran had mentioned her desire to get another German Shepherd. Diana and Larry happened to know a young dog that was being neglected – tied to a cable between the house and a tree because he’d chewed up a family member’s prized model airplanes. Diana boldly asserted to the owners that they didn’t want the dog and that she knew someone who did. That’s how Cody (UD, RA, PT) came to be part of their lives.
Setting off on obedience training at MDDTC, Fran worked with Cody and, together, they received the Utility Dog title in March 2005. Hal, a principal at a school in Orinda, commented that Cody saved Fran’s life by continuing to be a companion that urged her to get out, walk around, and socialize. It was on one of those jaunts, in this case in Oakland, as Fran waited for Hal to finish a meeting at the school district, that she and Cody passed by a group of people loitering and looking vaguely menacing. As she passed the group, Cody turned to growl. Fran, appalled, chastised Cody until one of the young men said, “No, ma’am, he’s doin’ just fine.”
In 1998, Fran and Hal brought home Maya, Showboat’s High Hopes (TC, CGC, HT, PT, CD, RA), training her to her Rally Advanced title at MDDTC.
Fran and Hal joined the DVGSDC in 1992. At one of the club’s Christmas parties, the Rubys were talking with breeders and DVGSDC members Kay Springer and Dorothy Linn about dogs when Dorothy said she had a long-coat GSD she couldn’t place. Hal piped up, quite to Fran’s surprise, that he’d always wanted a long-coat. Enter to the scene Charger (Linnloch Mastercard Showboat, (CD, RE).
Charger, sadly, suffered from many health problems and crossed the rainbow bridge far too young. At that point, she and Hal opted to “downsize,” and, as lovers of the German Shepherd Dogs so often do, went with the stumpy-legged version of the breed, getting Pembroke Welch Corgi Griffin.
Besides competing in many obedience trials the club hosted, both were tireless volunteers at the club’s events (and parties!). Fran often played the role of the friendly stranger at the club’s temperament tests.
Fran is survived by husband Hal, and their children Karen, Kevin and Pam, and Griffin.