Sunday, August 2, 2009


Rusty is one of those dogs that's both easy to overlook, and really difficult to (and one that I should have featured days ago - I really apologize). He's a mix of... well, dogs. I'm pretty sure. Beyond that, there's some kind (or many kinds) of shepherd in him. And if you have a soft spot for mutts, he's your man. Or dog.

Fair warning: Rusty isn't a dog for the faint of heart or the timid of spirit. Like Sarge, if Rusty had a sleeve, his heart would be worn proudly on it. He's about five years old at our best guess, and I wouldn't be terribly surprised if a lot of that was spent as a stray, or possibly just not having a lot of pinky-up-when-you-drink-your-tea kind of social interaction. What he lacks in sophistication, he easily makes up for in friendliness, though.

When walking him, don't expect a lot of calm and tranquility on a quick jaunt to the mailbox and back. Rusty is definitely a dog of action, and he needs a couple of minutes of quality exercise to shake out his inner puppy before he can settle into a groove. If you don't feel like jogging, he's fine with that; he'll simply run around in circles like a carousel animal until he gets winded, and just a tad dizzy. After that, it's chocks away and he's your number one wingman.

If the first thing you notice about Rusty is his joie de vivre, the second will probably be all of his diplomas from the School of Hard Knocks. His face is peppered with scars and grey hair. There are scuffs on his eye, mouth and elbow that tell of a possible skidding halt on concrete or asphalt. His swaggering gait has a hint of a limp to it (which might be related to the skinned-up elbow). At one point, a child petting him said, "I don't think he likes that dog over there. It sounds like he's growling." Putting my head down close to his, I noticed that instead of growling, he was laughing - and likely, an earlier broken nose had given him a peculiar, gravelly pant.

Reading back through this entry, I feel like I've done Rusty such injustice - I've pointed out every flaw and quirk that would make the faint of heart... well, faint. But the right person will see the character and history in every grey hair and every scar. And they'll know how to smooth off the rough bits, laugh at the pratfalls, and burnish the larger-than-life qualities that make Rusty absolutely shine.

UPDATE (Aug. 4): Things keep getting more frustrating at the shelter. There's construction on the street just outside (you can even see it in the top photo), so no one is really coming in to look at dogs or cats. Seems like the only people driving the extra couple of blocks to get there are doing so to drop off more animals they don't want.

Rescue groups have come, and come again - pulling what animals they can to place in "no kill" shelters and foster homes. But they're full. And the shelter is full. And every time I see Rusty's smiling face as he asks for just one more walk outside, just a few more minutes of palling around... My heart breaks a little bit more.

UPDATE (August 8): Rusty was picked up yesterday by a rescue group! I'm not sure which one yet, but I'll try to follow-up if I can find out more.


Addie said...

yeah, the construction does make it difficult to get there.
Hope this old guy gets adopted or rescued tomorrow!

Tajana and Almir said...

I am pulling for good ole' Rusty to find a good home. He seems to have so much love to give and energy to share. I intend for him to find a good home and NOT be euthanized. He is a little angel.

Shelter Diaries said...

These past two weeks have been really hard - Rusty is just one of at least four dogs currently on the "urgent list" who all have very distinct and charming personalities. I know that nowhere does it say "The universe has to be fair," but I wish it would just cut us a break every now and then.

Even if Rusty doesn't make it, I'll consider myself lucky to have been a part of his life. He's seemed so happy over the past few days, it's made me realize that no matter how hopeless or heartbreaking working with these guys can be, it's always 100% worth it.

ironcheftoni said...

One of your readers sent a note to Larry Powell to make a plea for Rusty on his blog and he linked to you. It's followed by many rescue groups. I'm glad that he was pulled out of the shelter in time.

Toni :)