Thursday was the hardest day I’ve ever had. My buddy Rusty spent his last day with us. When I wrote the last post, we had no idea things were as bad as they were. On Wednesday morning I took Rusty into the vet. She immediately told me that his spleen was enlarged. You barely had to touch his tummy to tell… which basically happened over night, because I know when I pet him on Tuesday it did not feel that way. She took some blood work and a few x-ray’s which came back concluding that Rusty indeed had an enlarged spleen which was bleeding and cancer in his lungs. Even with a spleen removal, 3 weeks healing time and a blood transfusion… the pup still had lung cancer which would spread fast and she only gave him around 3 weeks to 3 months to live. He would be in constant pain, even with meds. Our choice was difficult and the process was painful for us. Rusty, however, was very peaceful and passed away quietly in our arms.
As mentioned before, we got Rusty in 2001 when he was 8 weeks old. He chewed on my Birkenstocks and it was love at first sight. We brought him home and fed him ice cubes, which he had way more fun playing with in his paws, then actually licking.
Here is a stroll down memory lane. I asked the girls and my husband to give me some of their fondest memories of Rusty…
Rusty loved to chew sticks. It didn’t matter the size or shape… he would even drag a fallen branch over to a comfortable spot and begin to chew on it, most usually eating all of it. I guess he felt he needed extra fiber?
If you gave Rusty a ball… he would roll over and play with it in his paws and drop it into his mouth. I think he thought he was a cat, the way he always used his paws. He might also use it as a back scratcher and roll on top of it.
Rusty was a protector. He would follow the girls and I around all day. The funniest part about it was when the girls went outside. Rusty did not like to be alone, so as long as the girls were playing outside, he would be at their side protecting them. If they came inside, so would he. When you let him out to do his business, he would immediately come inside afterwards… even if it was a beautiful day out.
I took this through the kitchen window… looks like a bubble of protection!
Rusty loved to be part of the action… especially if the action involved water. Rusty loved the sprinkler and he would chase the water around and try to drink it.
The almost 7 year old @ 18 months old and Rusty
This past summer…
Rusty could be sitting completely still in the grass, enjoying the sights and the smells – only to suddenly get up and start running figure 8′s around the yard. Then he’d stop and lay back down like it never happened.
I think the funniest thing about Rusty was his daily routine quirks. Every morning around 5 am Rusty would get off the couch and come and lay by our bed. When my husband got up to shower, he would roll over for a belly rub and then go and lay on the couch until he was done. Even if I got up and went to the kitchen to make school lunches or coffee… he would stay on the couch. Then, when my husband got out his morning cereal, Rusty would come in to have 4 Mini-Wheats. My husband used to eat Mini-Wheats every day for breakfast for years. One morning he decided that he didn’t want them, but it was too hard to toss other cereals to Rusty… so, we kept giving him 4 Mini-Wheats. He would then go back to lay on the couch until the girls woke up. Finally when they came downstairs, I’d open up the back door for him to go outside… he never asked a minute before, he always waited on us.
I could go on and on with the stories, but will just close with a few more pictures… So long my dear friend. You were a great walking buddy, protector,cuddle buddy and deployment pal… but most of all, you were a family member – my hairy son.