How do you begin to write about your best friend. The friend that unconditionally was there for you during the good times and the bad times? Today I will share with you the story of my 2nd best friend. I thought that after I lost my first best friend that grew up with me, that I would never find anyone like her, but I did.
When Chris and Kayla were each 7 and 3, they wanted a dog to call their own. We had decided that we would adopt one. We registered with Just Puppies and got the call that we had a new doggie waiting for us for Christmas. Two weeks later they called to say that we were not getting the dog, because he was not up to par for them to bring home. We were devastated. Then we got the call, a litter was born 12/9/98 and there was a dog for us. They said we can pick him up once they turned 8 weeks. We counted the weeks. On Valentines’s day 1999, we got to go and pick out our new member of the family. We drove there and immediately connected with all the dogs, but this one looked up at us and we knew he was the one! Chris wanted to name him Rusty. So home came Rusty with us. The car ride was interesting, He peed on mommy!
Rusty grew up with the kids and was the third child I never had. The kids would put him in there little tykes car as the passenger, up and down the slide, running in the yard and trips to the park. It was so funny to see the kids in the neighborhood chasing him around the house when he would be getting a bath and he would hide behind the tree as Mommy would laugh at the site of a lathered up dog not wanting a bath.
As the kids grew, Chris played soccer and off we would go to play soccer with Rusty. He practiced in our yard with Chris and would grab the ball. He loved to run. Whenever he would go to soccer games, he would go and if the ball would come to him, he would grab the ball not knowing that this was a game. A few times he would cause fowls because he would jet out on the field to play with the kids thinking it was like he did at home with Chris.
I won’t forget the year we had three hurricanes and how Rusty and the kids and I all huddled in the bedroom to await the storm and pass through it. He stayed right beside us and would nudge everyone to let us know he was there . That summer being our first year in our new home, the kids would go to grandma’s house and so did Rusty. Grandma would joke and say when did I become the dog sitter ? When it was time to go back to school, I got the kids in the car and had left the trunk open to get back packs in and closed the door. As I pulled away I saw some blankets moving in the trunk of the truck and thought what is that and got a whiff of doggy smell and stopped the car and sure enough, Rusty snuck in the truck thinking he was going somewhere . Rusty has been show and tell for both kids at school.
When we first moved to the new home, I remember the fire alarm going off by accident and chirping that there was carbon monoxide poisoning. Wow I called the non emergency fire department and got two ambulance, two fire tricks and the Firechief over. The fireman ready with an axe , we all were wondering what was happening. Glad they all came out for a non emergency. Well come to find out , ants were on the fire alarm from being in storage when they built our house. I had about 10 fireman at my house and my neighbor at the time a few houses away came to check out what was happening. She managed to tell the firefighters , “oh by the way she is single, ” and they all lined up to give Mr. Rusty a pat on the head ending with a walk on the fire truck and a few extra smiles and requests to call them again if I needed anything, lol!
That year Chris went to school at the boychoir school in NJ and he sure missed Rusty, they both moped for awhile. The day that Chris came for his first visit, I don’t know who was going to pee first Rusty or Chris from excitement. The sheer joy in both their eyes!
Christmas was always a special time of year around our house for the kids and Rusty! Rusty always waited for something from Santa He was the first one to get his toys and bones. Rusty was a good dog so Santa was extra special to him.
Then came a new friend for Rusty to the House, it was Marcus. He wondered about Marcus I imagine, but took on to him quite well. Marcus learned to love Rusty as he was part of the family. I remember when Marcus and I were getting married that we did some engagement pictures with Rusty and trying to fit a tuxedo on him for the picture. It was a funny site!!
That year, we had another new member to the family, Daisy a basset hound. Rusty was probably in shock, but being the good-natured dog that he was, he accepted her . They became the best of friends, even when Daisy got herself in trouble. It got to the point where they were inseparable. He let her have his toys and shared his bed with her because although they each had theirs, Daisy preferred to be with Rusty.
A few years later, came a new bouncing baby boy Kaleb! Kaleb was very sick, so many people came over to the house to take care of Kaleb . They all met Rusty and got to love on him as well as Daisy. But Rusty was always the faithful one staying close by to take care of Kaleb. It got hard for him in the last few years to run after a ball of energy like Kaleb, but Rusty always kept a watchful eye for him. Kaleb respected him and although he played with Daisy since she can run around, he lined up his trains in front of Rusty and told him stories. Rusty, bless his heart would look on and wag his tail. Up until the other day, Rusty still watched out for Kaleb. I heard him barking and wondered what is all the barking about, it was Kaleb in the hallway, he got a hold of the toothpaste and thought it would be a good idea to clean my furniture with it. Rusty was barking because he could not walk over to him to correct him for what he was doing( Smart Dog!!)
I remember two years ago being very sick with a flu bug, and not being able to sleep in my bed and sleeping in front of the fireplace which Rusty loved and he just laid at my side leaving only to eat and do his business. He was old faithful. So it is no wonder when he started getting weak, unable to walk that we became hospice for him. Initially we got him a harness to lift his back legs but it did not work. Marcus started to carry him to go out and do his business. Then it got to the point where he was unable to stand. So we fixed his bed out in the living room with changing towels several times per day to do his business inside. Yes it was stinky and yes it was work for Marcus to clean up, but we kept him comfortable. He was not in pain, he still wagged his tail and looked at us with a look of appreciation. We took care of him …
On 6/7/15 at 9:35pm our family’s best friend passed away ….I fed him his last bites of food and knew when I looked in his eyes that he was not going to be very long with us….we had thought about putting him to sleep because we knew that the time was coming. But I prayed and said Lord, please take him on his own, I can’t bear to end my furry friend’s life….The Lord answered my prayer tonight…we had hoped that he would stay another few days to celebrate Daisy, the Bassett hounds’ 9th birthday tomorrow, but he hung as long as he could …I was so glad that he waited till I came home from a wedding rehearsal that I had today …I heard him bark several times today as he always did when he had done his business so he can get changed….
I thank Marcus for being the major caregiver for Rusty. If there was an award for a humanitarian for a dog caretaker, he would get it. He carried Rusty outside to feed him for several weeks, he showered him weekly, he fed him and comforted him after his ear surgery sleeping on the couch to keep Rusty company. He truly gave him hospice care and kept him comfortable in his last few weeks…
I miss my friend Rusty but I know he is at peace , together with Birdie my first dog and Suzie my Dad’s dog…
Rusty Rest in peace gone but never forgotten….I am so glad for the beautiful photos taken By Sivan Photography , that photo that I waited for 7 years to take when I knew my family was complete and she captured it! And all the years that Bruce Johnson from KBJ photography took of our family with our faithful Rusty in it!
We want to thank Rusty’s dog sitters throughout the years Melissa, Francine, Ashytyn, Christine and Maria and grandma and grandpa of course…
Dec 9, 1998-June 7, 2015 16.5 years of love and friendship….