Jennifer Myers wanted a dog who could do everything — cuddle on the couch while watching TV but also go hiking, play at the beach, or run competitive agility.
Are you picturing a big, athletic-type dog? Think again. Jennifer owns a two-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Ruby Rose.
In fact, Agility is Ruby Rose’s favorite activity. “When we go out to compete, she just seems to know that it’s ‘game time,'” Jennifer explains. “She has a smile on her face the whole time and is wagging her tail.”
While Jennifer has had Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in the past, Ruby Rose is her first agility dog. They even came in first at their very first trial!
Ruby Rose’s athleticism doesn’t stop at agility – she also competes in Fast CAT (think 100-yard dash for dogs.) “This is probably the hardest for her to compete in because she’s just not the fastest little dog out there,” Jennifer says. “I like to say that all of that fur just doesn’t make her very aerodynamic!” Despite this, Ruby Rose still has fun and loves chasing the lure. All breeds of all sizes can compete in Fast CAT, and it’s a great source of exercise and enrichment.
All that fur isn’t just for looks – it’s for pets too! Ruby gives back to her community as a certified therapy dog. She is part of the Tar Heal Paws team at the University of North Carolina Hospital in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Two to three times a month, she visits patients and staff, seeming to “know exactly what each patient needs and gives them just that.”
These aren’t just everyday therapy visits — since she was a puppy, Ruby Rose has been learning tricks. One of her favorites is when she visits patients at the hospital and ‘waves bye.’ “She always leaves them with a smile,” Jennifer says. Ruby has her Intermediate Trick Dog title is continuing to learn more and more tricks.
Finding an Unexpected Community
When Jennifer first started Ruby Rose’s Instagram account, she had no idea how Instagram even worked. But after a few days, she began looking around and realized there was a whole community of dogs on the platform. Quickly, Ruby’s Instagram took off.
“I have been amazed at what a wonderful dog community there is out there,” Jennifer says. “We have ‘met’ other dogs from all over the country and all over the world.” She says some of the people and accounts she interacts with regularly now feel like friends.
The social media account has also been a place for both fun and advice. “I think people with Cavaliers or other small dogs have been inspired to try agility themselves,” Jennifer says. “Many people on Instagram have contacted me saying they want their dog to be a therapy dog and want advice on how to do it. I like that we have been able to inspire people of more things they can do with their dog or ways they can help in their community.”
While many people who watch Ruby Rose compete in sports like agility or Fast CAT are surprised, Jennifer says they have also met many other Cavalier owners who compete in sports along the way.
“It is always just a little more special to meet another Cavalier that is also competing in sports since there aren’t as many, but I really think there should be more!” Jennifer says. “They are such trainable little dogs who love fun and adventure, I believe they really are a great breed for agility.”
In August, Jennifer and her husband learned that Ruby’s breeder had another litter available — with a tri-colored female. After taking Ruby to meet the puppy, the entire family knew it was meant to be. Emerald Brook (Emma Grace) joined the family and began learning from her big sister, Ruby. In fact, Ruby taught Emma how to ring a bell to ask to go outside. The puppy follows Ruby everywhere and copies everything she does, even accompanying her to some of her agility competitions.
Jennifer has started exposing Emma to some of the agility equipment. “I think she’s going to be a natural,” Jennifer says. “And you will be able to see her competing as soon as she is old enough!”
Join Ruby Rose
Follow Ruby’s journey through dog sports on Instagram. Dogs of any breed — or mixed breeds — can compete in sports like Agility, Fast CAT, and Trick Dog. Think your dog has what it takes to be Dog Star of the Month? Share your dog’s adventures in dog sports by using the hashtag #ThisIsAKC on Instagram.