Thursday, January 3, 2013


Rustle's story is one with a happy ending. It might not seem like it at first, because he went over the Rainbow Bridge in August of 2011. But he had such an amazing life with his furever family that he, and his family, epitomize what love can come from a rescue dog.

When his mom, Kaye, found him at the Hillside SPCA in Pottsville, PA, in January 2006, he was a terrified and cowering shell of a dog. He had been used as a breeder dog and "punished" quite often. Through the patience and love of Kaye, her daughter Kelsey, and the rest of his family,  he slowly came into his own.

Rustle became a genuine part of the family. He went with them on hikes, car rides, and for dishes of vanilla ice cream from the local ice cream parlor in the summer-his favorite.  Kaye says he was "such an absolute joy – so devoted, so loving, and so well-behaved."

And when Rustle was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, they did what most of us would do for family, sought as much help as was available.  Instead of accepting the diagnosis of 1-3 months to live, they began taking Rustle to a holistic veterinarian,  who proscribed herbs and vitamins in addition to his mainstream meds, and a special cancer diet that had to be home-cooked.  

Their reward for going to all that trouble for him was two more high quality years of Rustle's life!  He responded well and made all the hard work worth it. 

Here was a gorgeous full-bred Australian Shepherd, languishing in a shelter. He was terrified of everything. The perfect family showed up for Rustle, and took a chance on a dog many people would have passed on. That's why this is a story with a happy ending. Kaye and her family changed Rustle's life, and he changed theirs. That's the point of all of our meaningful relationships in life, isn't it? 

After Rustle passed, his family made a generous donation to the Hillside SPCA in his memory. I know this because there is a plaque the shelter made up for Rustle hanging in their adoption room. I saw it when I got Wiley.  Rustle's family didn't have him for as long as they wanted to, and none of us get our pets for as long as we wish we did.  So all we can do is be good to them and grateful for each moment.   This is a magnet Kaye gave me; I have it hanging on my door so I see it every day when I get home.

Well. . . have you?  If not, what are you waiting for?  Go ahead, you won't regret it.


How has your rescue dog changed your life?  Share your story.

1 comment:

  1. Tears were streaming down my face as I struggled to get through this wonderful posting by Mara, but what awesome memories it brought back to me.
    Rustle was an absolute joy to my family...not just to me as I was so connected to him and found comfort in him, but to my daughter Kelsey who was so very attached to him and who leaned on him as her stronghold during her own illness, and to my son Wes who doted on him so very much, and even to my husband Dale who took him for rides in his truck.
    As our holistic vet would always say, "Rustle is a handsome gentleman" - he was so beautiful inside and out - so loving and gentle to the core. It is hard to imagine how his prior owner could have been so cruel to him.
    We did everything we could to give him a special forever home and to give him quality of life his last few years. Some thought my cooking for him an all natural cancer diet or my giving to him herbs and vitamins was extreme, but to those of us who are "dog people," you can appreciate to what extent you will go for your family. Rustle was truly an important part of our family, and he can never be replaced.
    Although we did not want to replace Rustle, we did rescue another dog after Rustle's passing. We wanted to open our hearts and home to another abused dog who was on the verge of being euthanized, and we hope Rustle is happy that we saved another poor soul like him.
    As Mara has encouraged you - make sure you hug you dog today, because sadly, as with Rustle, you just never know when that "last day" will be.
    Thank you, Mara, for sharing the story of our beloved Rustle, as it was an incredible journey we had with him, and thank you for being such a compassionate person and a friend to God's furry creatures.
    I recently found a new magnet which I placed on my car that reads, True Love Is In The Eyes Of A Rescued Dog." Hopefully, this site will encourage others to rescue and find that true love.
    - Kaye and family