Sadly yesterday our family said goodbye to Rusty. Rusty was our foster dog. He came to us on November 11th. I was nervous when I got him but I knew his condition and knew he might be a challenge.
Rusty had what is known as cherry eyes. The glands in his eyes were troublesome and he needed surgery…and neutering along with a vet check.
Rusty was scheduled for surgery on November 18th.
The surgery went well but left Rusty with a dreaded cone for 10 days. He had to get salve in his eyes 2-3 times a day too…but Rusty was a trooper. It didn’t slow him down. He was on a mission to… weave his way into our hearts…He did just that.
It took me a bit to learn his quirks. He hated kennels and gates. He loved to be fed out of my hand. He loved his old blue blanket. He loved kids.
In a way, puppies are so much easier to foster than older dogs. Old dogs are set in their ways and routines. For example, Rusty did not like me to see him poop. He just would never poop if he thought I was watching. Eventually, once I had some confidence in him, I let him outside on the long leash. I stayed in the house and watched from the kitchen window…then he would poop.
Puppies, they don’t care. They will poop anywhere…and everywhere. They don’t have habits that are formed.
In his quiet way, he even made his place with my dogs, Rosie and Izzy.
He quickly learned the best place in the house was to nap with the kids.
We found he was excellent with kids. Even Scotty my grandson who does not like dogs grew to like him. When Scotty was here on Saturday I told the kids that the next time they came, Rusty would likely be gone. He was going to be going to his new home. Scotty said, “But I like Rusty. Can’t you keep him?” I said we couldn’t and that I could only have two dogs. Scotty said, “Well then can Rosie go?” HA!! He doesn’t like Rosie…but he sure liked Rusty.
I’m happy to say that Rusty has done a great job with house training. Prior to coming to the rescue, he had lived his seven years of life outdoors. He initially marked twice and then that was it. He had a couple of poop accidents but once we figured out his routine, those stopped as well. He is doing great!
On Monday morning Anders and I made the trip with Rusty to the vet. He needed an eye check to be cleared for adoption.
He came out of the office with a clean check and no cone. The guy was so happy.
He came home and cleaned and licked himself. I never really thought about how much a dog licks and cleans. I’m guessing it felt to him like not showering for 10 days would feel to us.
I did give him a bath. He had needed one.
I was all worried as when I gave him his first bath, I thought he was going to bolt right out of the store. This time he was all content and happy. He actually bathed better than any dog I’ve ever bathed. Whew.
If my eyes hadn’t been opened to the need for foster providers, I’d have likely kept Rusty too. He really is a great dog. I can’t keep dogs if I’m going to foster. Boy, oh boy, do I ever have to keep reminding myself of that.
Then I gave Rusty a good brushing. While the cone was on and while he was getting meds for his eyes, he got a bit of matting by his ear. I think it was all due to sticky eyes. In the picture, it might look like he’s wincing. He’s not, the second you brush him, he’s all relaxed and grooving with it. That’s Rusty’s grooving face.
I am VERY comforted by Rusty’s new family…in fact, I’m so excited for Rusty. There were several applications in for Rusty and they all, I believe, came from blog readers. I’m guessing because some were from out of state…and some had email addresses that had quilting references to them. All of the applications were wonderful and Rusty could have easily gone to any of the families and had an amazing life.
He’s going to a retired couple that already has an older dog. They specialize in adopting older dogs that have special needs or considerations. I’m so happy for Rusty.
I so appreciate the blog readers that applied and offered to make Rusty part of their family. It feels so good to be supported in this crazy fostering adventure I’m on.
In the short time Rusty was here, only 18 days, he really did weave his way into our hearts. Everyone here will always remember him with great fondness. He really was soft-spoken, non-judgemental, and tender. He really taught me not to be afraid to foster an older dog or a dog with a repairable condition. We’ll still find homes for them and there are people who are looking for dogs just like Rusty. What a great lesson he taught me.
I dropped Rusty off yesterday morning… I was a little sad but mostly happy for Rusty. I keep telling myself…this is about Rusty and his new family. I need to be happy for them.
I got home and headed to Decorah. There’s another bunch of puppies who need help and I went to help with the new puppies. Part of me was happy that there were puppies to get my mind off Rusty. Part of me was sad that there were more animals that needed help. It’s a normal foster-provider reaction I guess. When I started this, I never dreamed there were so many dogs that needed help.
…I’ll have to tell you about the puppies in tonight’s blog post.
For now…happy trails Rusty!!