Possible insight into Roo's background:
We were driving down the main street of Bisbee, Arizona. There's no other town in America like Bisbee. Old buildings and houses from when the West was still wild, boom towns were rolling in dough and they built granite banks they thought they'd need forever. The town is centered on a main street that winds up Tombstone Canyon. It's a great-looking town. When Roo takes a walk there, she's always sure to stop for a dip in the fountain outside the courthouse.
We were coming down the hill and a man was hitchhiking. He was about 70, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a Panama hat. Bisbee locals hitch all the time to avoid DUI busts on the three-minute ride home from the bar to the other side of the copper pit.
As we pulled to the curb, I rolled the passenger window down to ask him if he didn't mind getting in back. Roo, of course, was sitting in front beside me. I apologized, but not only was Roo on a towel covered with dried mud that I would have felt obliged to move, but she's also never been asked to, so it would have been cumbersome to organize in traffic.
He didn't mind. He got in and we traded some small talk. It took a minute for the alcohol on his breath to waft to the front seat.
The smell hit Roo like a slap. All at once she went into fear mode - ears back, hunched over, tail tucked and scrambling to jam herself down in the footwell and to hide her head under the passenger seat.
It had to be the booze. The guy had taken on a pretty good load. It's not uncommon for dogs who've had a rough time to worry about booze if they've smelled it on the breath of an abuser. For Roo it was an unmistakable trigger. Fortunately the ride was no more than two minutes, and after we dropped him off, Roo kept turning to sniff at the back seat, even after a thorough airing.
To Roo, a man with alcohol on his breath just can't be trusted. She's lucky she didn't meet me a few years ago....