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Abandoned Dog Becomes Service Animal; Helps Chicago Shelter

CHICAGO (CBS) – The author of a popular book about an abandoned dog who was rescued, rose to stardom and began a new life as a service animal, visits Chicago Saturday for a book signing and fundraiser at PAWS Chicago. Patrick Bettendorf comes with a message to his fellow humans.

Patrick Bettendorf rescued the Pit Bull mix who became the inspiration for his first book "Ruby's Tale" and now the follow up "Ruby's Road." He comes to Chicago with a message for his fellow humans: "Waste not one life. Give a dog a chance."

Abandoned Dog Becomes Service Animal; Helps Chicago Shelter

Ruby was found with another puppy from her litter in an abandoned house in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2003. Bettendorf says the pair had been left there like trash. There was no food or water but they survived for two weeks before being discovered. The puppies were so malnourished that their fur was falling off. Bettendorf was asked to foster Ruby for a weekend and they've been together ever since.

"I saw some spark in her and thought, she would make a good service dog," Bettendorf told WBBM Newsradio. She began training for therapy as a puppy and was certified as a therapy dog in 2004. "She already had this great personality and I just knew she'd make a good therapy dog."

"Ruby's Tale" is the story of a dog, from a feared breed, who survived starvation and neglect, who then went on to lead a life of service and become a constant source of joy and entertainment. Bettendorf has written a follow up book called "Ruby's Road" with even more stories about the odyssey of his dog, the fame she's achieved, the countless friends she's made and the many hearts she's touched.

And while Pit Bulls get a bad rap these days, Bettendorf says Ruby's story is really not about breed. "It's a story about dogs that were thrown away that have achieved almost the impossible. I'd like that to be the story. Waste not one life. Give a dog a chance. You just don't know. They don't have to accomplish all of things Ruby has accomplished. They can just be a great family edition."

In Bettendorf's new book, "Ruby's Road" he introduces readers to a new addition to the family – Sugar. The younger dog's exuberance is in stark contrast to Ruby's current condition. At 10 ½, she's had two cancer surgeries and two bad discs. She recently fell down stairs and even though she has been attending book signings, Bettendorf says she may not travel to Chicago.

Bettendorf will be there and so will Sugar. The event is scheduled from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. at the PAWS Chicago Adoption Center at 1997 N. Clybourn. Books with paw print autographs from the dogs will be available and $12 from each book sold will be donated to PAWS Chicago to help its effort to save more dogs like Ruby.

"Come buy a book and help PAWS Chicago help our dogs who have no voice," he says.

You can read more about Ruby and see photos at For information about pet adoption at PAWS Chicago visit:

To listen to the full interview with Patrick Bettendorf, click here.

You can follow Steve Grzanich on Twitter @SteveGrzanich.

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