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.
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.
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.
I have a furry son named Rusty. We bought him on the spot when we were going in the pet shop to browse. He nibbled on my shoe and he stole my heart. I couldn’t imagine leaving the store and letting someone else take him home. As a puppy, Rusty got into quite a bit of trouble. From chewing on the kitchen table chairs to eating some mysterious mushroom and needing antibiotics. We decided to enroll him in puppy training and he was number one in his class. We even taught him how to sit with only a hand motion.
Fast forward 8 years…, Rusty has an issue with his eye, READ: How the cookie crumbles. After almost 18 months, we have had no issues with Rusty, until now. For the last week he has not wanted his regular dog food, nor been doing his deed as much as he used too. I am worried… and to make matters worse, he has a strange little knot in his tummy. I guess we are off to the vet, yet again…
But truly, Rusty is our Golden Child. As we deal with tweeny and pre-tween girl ordeals at home… the whining, fighting, complaining… having a son that complies with the rules is nice! I can deal with the homework, extra curricular schedules, etc… it is the moods that get me…
In other news, Thanksgiving was certainly a time of thanks! My husbands side of the family met together (minus one brother and family) and had a great time.
Yesterday I started researching adding another Golden to our family. Originally the idea was to look into a flunked out seeing eye dog. So, he would be around 2 years old and very well trained. After visiting two sites, I learned that the waiting list for a flunky was about 6 years. They were not even taking requests because their lists were so long. However, they did have several links to rescue dogs. I’m not sure why the thought hadn’t crossed my mind before… maybe in my head rescue dog meant mutt, and I wanted another golden. However, I was open to the idea of a few breeds until I read that Golden’s are the #1 over-bred dog and are in great need of adoption. The numbers on each site I visited were incredibly high for Golden’s – mostly because people want puppies. Most rescue dogs are over age one and the greater of them are well over 2. So, we are going to continue to research adopting a rescue Golden Retriever, if the fit seems right for our current dog, and possibly have a new family member by Christmas. I think having a younger dog around might be good for Rusty, the one eye 8 year old pup.
In other news, I think Pig Will might have the best memory of any 7 year old out there. She is right on target with her school skills (not behind, not advanced) – however, when it comes to remembering lyrics to songs – whoa, watch out! She only needs to hear them twice and she will sing them all, word for word. Honestly, I didn’t believe it at first when she sang an entire song… I had to print out the lyrics, sure that she would have one or two words wrong… but time after time she proves me wrong. I don’t get how she understands all the words – sometimes vocalist are hard to hear – or they mush words together.
Finally, the last day of school came and went. We are going camping this weekend to celebrate. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain on us!
No, those are not cobwebs in every corner of every room. No, I do not own a small pet that likes to hide. That is called Golden Puff. It comes with the dog.
I literally could vacuum 3 or 4 times a day and probably not get all of the dog hair. I take the hose piece out and watch it swallow each golden puff from the corners… oh, who am I kidding? from every inch of the floor. The area rug is covered… so much so that we actually went out and replaced the pretty maroon rug with a brown and golden rug in hopes of vacuuming less. But I know it is there, so I vacuum anyway.
They always say (who is they anyway?)… if you own a dog, expect to cook with atleast a tablespoon of hair a day. I use more like a cup a day – good protein. I’m serious, I can’t eat a meal without glancing down and seeing a strain of golden puff. But ah, I love my Golden. The way he pins his ears back to his head and does a soft whine when I enter the house. The way he gently noses my hand to pet his head… and if I stop, he noses me some more. The way I can walk into a room, say his name and he instantly rolls onto his back for a belly rub. How he waits to get up from the couch in the morning until he knows I will open the door for him to go outside.
Really, here is the every morning routine in our house. Husband wakes up, showers and goes into the kitchen for breakfast. I get up to start making his lunch for work. While husband pours cereal, Rusty (the dog), gets about 4 pieces of shredded wheat. When husband sits down to eat, dog goes back to the couch. I say goodbye to husband. Note, I do open the door to let him out… no dog. I start my morning routine. Kids get up, I then open door for lazy dog who sometimes waits until I call him to get up.
In other news… our kids finally have bikes. The grandparents bought Pig Will a bike for her birthday next week, so I bought Pig Me Too one as a little sister gift. My dad and I went shopping for them today and watched the girls ride around the store for an hour to decide which bikes fit them best. Then when husband got home tonight, he put them together and let them ride around the driveway for a bit. Maybe those training wheels will be off by summer!