April 22nd 2008 12:07 pm
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In 1996 I lost my beloved dog Boogart due to kidney failure. Four months after his death, I opened up my heart to the possibility of adopting another dog. I decided to visit a local animal shelter. When I arrived at the shelter I was told I could not view the dogs without an appointment. The woman at the shelter asked me what type of dog I was looking for and I told her I was open to all breeds, but I was partial to Cocker Spaniels. She told me there were no Cocker Spaniels at her shelter so she gave me the phone number of the Cocker Spaniel Rescue Mission. The Cocker Spaniel Rescue Mission put me in touch with four families who were in need of finding new homes for their dogs. So, for the next four weekends, I traveled around the state of NJ meeting the dogs. Much to my dismay, I did not feel a connection with any of the dogs. I decided I probably wasn't ready for a new dog and that was why I didn't click with the dogs I met.
A few weeks later I received a call from the woman who worked at the Cocker Spaniel Rescue Mission. She told me about a young family in Southern NJ who recently had a baby and were finding it difficult to care for their new baby and their two year old Cocker Spaniel named Rusty. I decided to take a drive and meet Rusty. When I arrived at their front door Rusty greeted me with a (clean) diaper in his mouth. Once inside the house, he smothered my face with kisses and then jumped up in the bay window to sun himself. He was such a clown! I knew in my heart of hearts Rusty was meant to be with me. The next week we made arrangements for Rusty to begin his new life with me.
Rusty is probably the sweetest dog I've ever met. He never met a person he didn't like. He greets everyone as though they are his long, lost best friend. Rusty especially loves children. He formed a very special bond with my niece. They have grown up together. I remember my niece crawling around the floor pulling Rusty by his leash and he patiently following behind her. To this day, whenever my niece has a sleepover, Rusty sleeps by her side almost as if he was guarding her. (The picture above is of my niece and Rusty)
Rusty has been by my side during the good times and the bad times. I will never forget the way he licked away my tears when my father passed away. He was by my side when I had to relocate for work and didn't know anyone . Yet, I never felt lonely because my best friend was with me.
I will never forget the countless times Rusty has made me laugh. For example, when he learned how to open the bottom kitchen cabinets with his paws and pulled out a 17lb. bag of dog food by his teeth. Or the time he chased after the Fed Ex truck because he knew the driver carried dog treats. Or the time Rusty pulled out a $20.00 bill from my friend's purse. To this day, my friend swears I trained Rusty to do that trick. Or the time he pulled my under garment from my laundry basket and dropped it off the balcony. Needless to say, I was quite embarrassed having to pluck my bra out of my neighbor's tree. The number of times Rusty has made me laugh or brought a smile to my face are too numerouse to write.
Rusty has been with me for 12 years and he will be 14 on May 1st. During the last few years his health has deteriorated and he has slowed down considerably. In 2004 his Vets were almost certain Rusty had nasal cancer. I prepared myself for the worst case scenerio but, much to my suprise, Rusty proved his Vets wrong. A rhinoscopy proved there was no cancer. Rusty had developed severe environmental allergies. He's spent most of his senior years sneezing but at least he is cancer free. A little over of a year ago Rusty developed a very bad cough. I took him from doctor to doctor to doctor, but no one seemed to be able to help him. Last September Rusty developed a very serious case of pneumonia and was hospitalized for five days. The prognosis was not good and, once again, his Vet tried to prepare me for the worst case scenerio. Just when I thought I was going to have to say good bye to my best friend, Rusty made a comeback. Rusty's nickname then became " The Comeback Kid"
I don't kow what the future holds or how much time we have left together, but I do know one thing. I couldn't have asked for a better BEST FRIEND.
Please rescue or adopt. Your BEST FRIEND is waiting for you.
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What a wonderful thing to have so many wonderful mem .ories