How Ramona the Love Terrier Became the Talk of Silicon Valley

She was found wandering canyons in rural California but now walks among the tech elite with ReadWrite Editor Owen Thomas.


So I’m sitting at my desk, updating the Dogster Facebook page, when I hear it: the jingle of dog tags. Here at our dog-friendly office, it could be any one of my coworkers’ dogs, but there is one dog I secretly hope the familiar sound announces. I peer down the aisle between the cubicles, holding my breath.

And then there she is, galloping sweet and confident, a petite wiry-haired Terrier mix who enters like she owns the place. Because she does. She runs up to my desk, twirling in demand of snacks, and she hops in my lap to receive her treats. I’ve been sick lately, exhausted, and a little stressed out.

Ramona’s bright energy feels like a sigh of relief, and I can’t resist hugging her. It fills my heart with warmth. I am totally and happily under the spell of Ramona the Love Terrier. She’s followed by ReadWrite Editor-in-Chief Owen Thomas — Ramona’s faithful human guardian. Though ReadWrite is Say Media’s tech publication, Owen and Ramona always make a stop by the Dogster office … mostly because Ramona knows I have snacks for her.

With her bright, attentive gaze, Ramona houses more personality in her little body than any dog I’ve ever met. That’s why she’s invited to and asked after at tech events in the Bay Area, tweeted about by head honchos over at Microsoft, and loyally followed by a legion of fans on her Facebook page. A rescue herself, I can’t believe I’ve never taken the opportunity to feature her as a Monday Miracle!

Which is a miracle in itself, because after asking Owen for Ramona’s story, I found out that her birthday is tomorrow, April 8, and she’s turning five years old. So the timing is perfect.

“Ramona’s story begins in Azusa, California,” Owen begins. “Like Adore Delano from RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Maybe all fabulousness comes from modest beginnings. Flung out in the farthest reaches of Los Angeles County, Ramona was found wandering the hot canyons alone. Clearly well cared for, it’s thought she dug her way out of someone’s backyard. “We believe she ran with coyotes and learned from rabbits and cats, which would explain some of her behavior,” Owen tells me. She was picked up and taken to the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society to await her fate.

But how did she manage to travel 400 miles from Azusa to her new home in San Francisco?

It was actually Owen’s husband, Greg, whom Princess Ramona would choose as her new family back in April 2010. While visiting family in Pasadena, Greg finally decided to act on a lingering desire to get a dog. With Owen’s encouragement and accompanied by his dad, Greg made a visit to the Pasadena Humane Society.

Unfortunately, however, the Pasadena Humane Society refused to even consider Greg without a home visit. Greg was discouraged, but his father persuaded him to check out the nearby county shelter in San Gabriel Valley.

Once there, however, Greg’s heart sank further. The shelter was populated with mostly Pit Bulls and Chihuahuas, and Greg — who was completely unfamiliar with owning a dog — knew that at the very least his and Owen’s lifestyle was not suitable for either of those breeds.

That’s when Greg’s father spotted, sitting prim and composed amid a pack of barking Chihuahuas, a little white Terrier mix. When asked to interact with her, Ramona took to Greg and his dad almost immediately — she had made her choice.

But there was one more obstacle: The shelter would not release Ramona before the required waiting period was up. Scheduled to leave the day Ramona would be released, Greg was dismayed, but his dad convinced him to change his departure time, making room for fate to take its course. He told Greg, “Don’t worry, you’re getting the dog.”

And he did. Returning at the exact time of Ramona’s release, Greg learned that no one had claimed her and so began filling out her paperwork. When asked what he would name his new friend, Greg took one look at Ramona. For some reason, he thought of the Beverly Cleary book Ramona the Brave, and without much more thought, so christened the dog. I think the name suits her perfectly. I think, in fact, Ramona was probably telepathically communicating it to him.

Ramona eased seamlessly into her new family, forming deep bonds with Owen and Greg. Owen credits the feisty little dog with helping him get in shape, her penchant for spirited running inspiring Owen to take up a form of cardiovascular exercise he’d never previously considered. While on a run with Ramona, Owen met a boot camp instructor and started training with him, eventually temporarily leading classes himself.

Thanks to Ramona, Owen has dropped more than 83 pounds. Her cuteness helps break the ice at tech events, and as a team, Owen and Ramona are a pair of celebrities in their own right.

If it weren’t for precise timing, Ramona may have never ended up with Greg and Owen, and if she didn’t belong to Greg and Owen, I may have never had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with the little Terrier princess who always makes me smile.

I hope she makes you smile, too. All photos via Ramona’s Facebook page — go check her out there and on Twitter, and make sure to wish her the happiest birthday ever.

Check out these adorable stories on Dogster:

About Liz Acosta: Dogster’s former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site’s daily “Awws,” only now she also wrangles Dogster’s social media. That’s why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and — her personal favorite — Instagram. See ya there!

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