Country crooner Kenny Chesney said goodbye to his beloved dog Ruby earlier this month. Now, he is paying tribute to her—and helping other deserving shelter dogs like her—with a special song. Proceeds from the charitable single will benefit Stray Rescue of St. Louis, one of the largest rescue shelters in the country.
According to Chesney, “Da Ruba Girl,” which you may have heard on his No Shoes SiriusXM radio station, is dedicated not just to Ruby, but “every dog in the world” like her.
The singer noted that Pit Bull-type dogs like Ruby often face discrimination, but for him, she was the perfect choice.
“Sometimes it seems like they rescue their people far more than they’re actually rescued,” he told PEOPLE. “They give so much love, so much joy and loyalty. People don’t realize that, so these dogs have a much harder time getting adopted. It’s one of the most wonderful things about the Stray Rescue of St. Louis shelter is the way they find the dogs people abandon and throw away, who may have been abused or just left somewhere and they heal them, then find them homes where all that love they have can be returned.”
Although “Da Ruba Girl” has never been included on an album, the song proved to be a hit on XM radio. Chesney says it resonated with fans because “they all knew a dog who had the same kind of spirit or heart, you know, the kind who was an underdog, who wasn’t the obvious choice.”
Chesney is a known animal lover who helped fly more than a thousand cats and dogs to new homes in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The animals were pulled from overcrowded shelters in St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix, Tortola, and Puerto Rico, then flown to the US for adoption. The singer is also dog dad to a Goldendoodle named Poncho, who was rehomed to him by a friend in 2012.
“When a dog dies, it’s a hole like no other, and as much as you love your dog when they’re alive, you really understand how deep that bond was when they slip away,” Chesney said. “For every dog in the world like Ruby, I hope ‘Da Ruba Girl’ can bring them new homes, raise money for the shelter and remind people there’s a really profound love that happens when you adopt a rescue who truly needs a home.”
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Chesney also honored Ruby with a lovely Instagram tribute, writing, “We loved you and thank you for teaching us how to love unconditionally. You were one heaven of a dog.”
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