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.