Rusty Report

I haven’t had a chance to update you on my foster dog, Rusty.  Let me tell you this…he is a joy.  He had the story of what rescuing dogs is all about.  Previous to Rusty coming I fostered two other dogs.  Both of them were puppies, and both of them started out rough…but not the kind of rough that Rusty has had.  They were puppies…born in the summer never seeing cold temps or life lived outdoors.  Annie was only a pup and only knew life with her mother.  Izzy was a 5-month-old that needed to get out of her situation but it was nothing as bad as Rusty’s situation.

Rusty’s life has been much different.  Rusty we believe might be anywhere from five to seven years old.  Rusty really needed to be rescued.  He came to us with what is called Cherry Eyes.  It’s a condition where a gland gets out of place and swollen and can’t return to where it is supposed to be.  I’m told it is fixable and I sure hope it is.  I am told it isn’t painful but I feel it’s had humans look at him as not desirable and that could not be any further from the truth.  Rusty is so desirable.  He’s really a good dog one that anyone could quickly appreciate after getting to know him over a short period of time.


On Tuesday he passed his parasite test so he was allowed to lose the pen and hang out with my dogs.  He was so happy.


Before I tell you all the amazing things I learned about Rusty, I’m going to tell you some of the things that I’ve learned.

Rusty doesn’t have a lot of self-confidence.  I think that will come over time.  If I call him, he knows he wants to come.  He gets close to me…then at the last second backs off and then will need a second to think and then will come to me.  I am relatively certain he was abused at some point in his life.  He does come to me though and doesn’t run away.  He just needs a moment to remember that he likes me.  I feel with time, he’ll learn to trust more.

Food is odd for Rusty.  He will not eat out of a bowl.  I have trouble even getting him to eat off the floor.  The best way for him to eat is out of my hand.  When he first came, I had the worst time trying to figure him out.  When I gave him food, he would pull his blanket over it and hide it.  I’m told this is a sign they were likely in a puppy mill.  Well then he wouldn’t eat all of his food then my dogs would try to eat it.  After a week with Rusty, we’ve figured out that he is best if he eats out of my hand.

We’ve figured out potty but not poop.  I think he’s a bit of a gentleman and doesn’t want to poop while I have him on a leash and am watching him.  He doesn’t stand by the door and indicate that he needs to go out, but he will easily go four hours or more at a time without an accident.


He initially is not happy with going in a kennel.  He won’t go in on his own but if I pick him up and put him in, he’ll go.  I’m sure this has to do with previous treatment.  He does sleep in the kennel overnight here and does just fine.  I truly think down the road he’d love to sleep with his human.  Being he is only temporarily here and I haven’t had long enough for me to build that trust with him, I haven’t done that.  I think he would LOVE it…and I think he could do it.

All of these things I told you are not the fault of Rusty…it is all due to his life before he came here.  I think all of those things will get better and better as Rusty acclimates to his new home.  None of them are bad and are only an indication that he needs a family who will understand that Rusty needs to have a family that is patient and understanding to his previous life.

Here are some great things that I can tell you about Rusty…there are lots!

First off, I would tell you in a heartbeat I would adopt Rusty but I just can’t.  I want to keep fostering and having three dogs AND fostering would be way too much.  If I hadn’t already adopted Izzy, Rusty would be all mine.  He’s such a gentle soul.

Rusty sleeps all night with no interruptions to my sleep.

Rusty is the least demanding dog I have EVER seen in my entire life.  He doesn’t get underfoot.  He patiently waits for attention.

Rusty does not jump…at all…ever.  (can you tell that I am working with Izzy on that??)  I feel very comfortable that he could be very safe with an older adoptee and that he wouldn’t trip anyone.  He doesn’t jump and get overly excited when people come.  Yes, he wags his tail and is happy to see people but no jumping on them or getting in their space as they enter my house.


He was perfect to Kelli’s family when they came.


Rusty sits and holds completely still when putting on or taking off his leash.  He loves walks and is pretty good on a leash.  He’s got the basics of leash training down.  He doesn’t pull at all.  He is shy of traffic but we are working on that.  Again remember that he came from an Amish farm.  There isn’t a lot of exposure to cars, trucks, and semis.

Rusty loves kids and it is great with them.  Here Georgia was “playing dress up with him”.


He loved the attention!!  He is so patient.


I just want to love up on him for how good he is with the kids.

If you wanted to take the time, Rusty would sit still and let you brush him for hours.  He loves getting brushed and being petted.  If you are a person who loves petting a dog, Rusty is the guy for you.


He is so good that I feel like he has the potential to be a therapy dog.  He could do so much good and bring so much comfort to whoever adopts him.  He doesn’t put demands on anyone.

Rusty is completely and totally non-food aggressive.  He does not react to spilled food at all.  We had Kelli’s kids here and Kalissa’s kids here.  Six kids total.  Just look at the food on the floor.  Can you see all the spilled food by Emmett?


Where were the dogs?  Izzy and Rosie were kenneled because they can’t control themselves over spilled food at all or kids eating.  Where was Rusty, laying on the floor about four feet away from the kids.


Before we ate, I put Rosie and Izzy in their kennels.  Rusty could sense that we were going to eat.  He took himself over near Rosie’s kennel, he laid down and stayed down.  We ate.  Never once did Rusty ever come near the table.  He didn’t even move.  He is so unobtrusive.

Sadly, this might be because of past bad treatment but I do appreciate being able to eat in peace without a dog jumping up.

Rusty loves people.  I’m always tootling around here and he does not get underfoot.  When I am working at the computer, he will pull his blanket out of his kennel.  He will pull it so he’s about five feet away from me and lay down.  He’ll nap or watch me.  He wants me to be close but is totally not intrusive to my space.


So far Rusty prefers his blanket over a dog bed.  He doesn’t like toys.  He is fine with my other dogs but doesn’t romp with them at all.  He’s likely not been played with and pampered being he’s lived his life, not in a home.

If any of the kids sit on the floor, he quietly walks over, sits down, and just waits.  Of course, the kids pet him.  That’s why I think he’d make sure a good therapy dog.


I am so hopeful that Rusty’s Cherry Eyes will get fixed tomorrow when he has surgery…most people don’t want a dog with eyes that look like Rusty’s.  Even our daughter Kelli’s twin boys Eli and Emmett notice his eyes.  They point to him and say “eyes, eyes”.  They know his eyes are different.

Most people don’t want a dog that is 5-7 years old.  Most people want a puppy.  I get that.  I’ve been that person…and then I got Rosie.  Oh my.  After fostering, I will NEVER pick an 8-week-old puppy again.  There are so many good dogs out there.

Admittedly part of me worries that his eye surgery will not work.  Part of me worries that people will pass this great dog by if the surgery doesn’t work.

Part of me worries that even if it does work, people won’t want a dog that is 5-7 years old.  Oh my.

Another part of me worries that Rusty will be here for a long time.  He’ll become attached to all of us only to be taken away and have to readjust yet again.

As I said, I’d keep him in a heartbeat but…I think Rusty has someone out there that needs him.  I want that for that person or family and I want that for Rusty…and I need to keep fostering.  If you read earlier in the week, we took in four moms and four pups this week, which took a lot of fosters.  We need some fosters to be open for when we get the next dog/dogs/pups in.


I want to do a HUGE shout-out to some of you blog readers.  When I initially told you about Rusty, several of you stepped up and donated towards Rusty’s vet bill.  That is so awesome!!  Everyone at the HEART Animal Rescue that I work with was so thankful and impressed by your generosity.  I was too.  WOW!!  Thanks so much.  The rescue is always in need of donations.  HERE is the link if you’d like to donate.

With a clean vet report, Rusty will likely be available for adoption next week.  Feel free to fill out papers so you have a pre-approved adoption on file so when he does become available, you can quickly contact the rescue and let them know you’re interested in Rusty.  HERE is the link to adopt.

Send good vibes Rusty’s way as he goes to the vet tomorrow.  I’ll let you know if they can fix his Cherry Eyes and let you know the official vet report.  Fingers crossed for this guy that it all works as he makes the step toward his next home.

20 thoughts on “Rusty Report

  1. Cynthia from Nebraska

    Jo, that’s a great write-up for Rusty. I volunteer with a rescue here (and have been the state coordinator in the past) and it is SO important to not only note the good things, but also the things that need work. Really helps to make a good match. I think he’s just the right age for a dog! :)

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  2. BEVERLY CARDER CUSTER

    Rusty looks to be nearly perfect, I like dogs that are 5 years old or older—and I donated towards his surgery—I live in NY, and sadly, that’s pretty far away—although he’d be welcome here to live with me…he looks sweet, and his persoanlity says he’s a wonderful companion…Good Luck with his surgery—

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  3. Kate

    Rusty sounds like such a good sweet dog. He looks so sad, kind of pulls my heart strings. I hope his eye surgery is successful and that he will be found for his forever home.

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  4. Judy Prescott

    Cherry eye is a fairly easy surgery to do. My vet did it for my dog at the same time as his neuter and we haven’t had a bit of trouble with his eyes since. You would never know that he had cherry eye in the past!! Thank you for fostering!!!

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  5. Jan Smith

    It’s great how you give the fine points of the dogs you foster.. an older dog is never a problem for me. Rusty seems like a wonderful dog. I can see that I’m going to have to put in the paperwork at the rescue.

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  6. Barbara

    There are so many upsides to getting an older dog. Our last have been older dogs, that we got after our last dog crossed the rainbow bridge. We got the other dogs as puppies but they lived to ripe old ages, and so we knew an older dog was the way to go. They all needed homes – one was a hit and run stray, 2 had their owner go into assisted living, and he couldn’t take them to his new home. They are so much a part of the family now, and loved. We have no regrets adopting older dogs. Rusty is such a cutie, he’d make a perfect holiday gift for the right person.

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  7. Deb in Idaho

    I think he is the right age. We adopted a3/4 year old female and she has been the best dog (except she gets car sick). Sounds like someone will get a great dog. I wish him the best.

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  8. Barbara F.

    You have such a good heart, Jo. It comes through in all your blogs. I have two rescue kitties. Rescue is the only way to go as far as I’m concerned. Rusty has such a sad face right now but I think when the eyes get fixed his whole face will brighten up. There’s a great home for him out there…..you just wait and see.

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  9. Susanne Scheurwater

    We once had a Cocker Spaniel that had to have his “cherry eyes” fixed. I think Rusty has Spaniel in him. I’m sure they will fix them. He is such a gentle wee soul. Love how he interacts with your grands!!❤️❤️

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  10. June

    Oh so sweet. My favorite saying-
    “Who rescued who?”
    It’s amazing what the love of a pup can bring. You’re doing a wonderful job and I would just never be able to part with any I tried to foster. My Midnight a rescue at age 3 must of had a horrible life. It took 3 yrs to get her to really feel safe. ( now going on 7 yrs) She still panics when we go for car ride and put her vest on her. Praying this baby comes through surgery looking like the handsome gent he is. And finds his perfect forever home.

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  11. Hedy

    Thanks for telling Rusty’s good qualities. We adopted Phoebe when she was 9.5 years old and they had just given her last litter away. It took us 2 years to get her to come into the kitchen to eat and I hand fed her bending over for 9 months before she would eat out of a bowl. She never got over her fear of loud noises but she was such a sweetheart. Her teeth were horrible and her breath wasn’t the greatest but she was the best buddy ever. Rusty is going to be a great pet.

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  12. Angie

    Jo, your report Made me cry at the sad treatment Rusty had received before he came to you. Bless you for taking such good care of him. If you could figure out how to get him to NC, I would adopt him to a a brother to my three doxies who are about same age as Rusty.
    I am saying a prayer for Rusty and a wish one of your kids give him a homer finds a home that gives him 5he love he deserves.

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  13. Donna Pheneger

    I love reading about Rusty – he’s going to make a great companion for someone. Rescue dogs make wonderful pets once they get over their shyness. We adopted Dash – he’s about 3 years old. We could tell he was abused – he comes to women and children but is shy with men. He also is scared of noises and jumps away. He is the sweetest though and we know he’ll get used to everything eventually.
    Thank you for taking the time with Rusty.
    Love and prayers

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  14. Carolyn A Thompson

    Jo,
    I love, love, love all your rescue dog stories. Thank you for being willing to be a fostering mom, and your grandkids loving on all of them..is so precious. I did donate to the organization which is rescuing those precious dogs. Please, when having stories about them, keep the link on with your story, as it makes it so easy to click on it and give a few dollars. If the link wasn’t there, I don’t know if I would hunt for it or not…and I believe there are others that click on the link and give too!! Whispering a prayer for Rusty , that the surgery will take of his precious eyes!!
    Bless you Jo!!

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  15. Toni W.

    Awww, poor Rusty. He seems like such a sweetheart. We have always adopted our dogs, and I think the youngest was 2 when we got her. She never gave us a lick of trouble, but I often wondered about her previous life. It took a long time for her to willingly go through the outside door. The only way we could get her to go outside at the beginning was to put her leash on her and walk her out. I felt like she was mistrustful and was afraid we were going to slam it on her or punish her. She was always on the more timid side, but was so good with our granddaughters even as toddlers; she loved being loved on. I hope Rusty’s eye surgery is successful and that he finds a forever, loving home. I’d love to have him if we lived closer to pick him up.

    Reply

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