Our 9 year old sons dog was killed after being deliberately knocked by a car, and our son was fretting and finding it very hard to cope with the loss of his loved friend.
We decided he needed another dog to help him overcome his unhappiness, so my husband and son paid a visit to the local animal refuge.
My instructions to them were - "No little puppies and no dogs that will grow big."
They arrived home with Rusty, a German Shepherd/Labrador cross who had feet nearly the size of a dinner plate.
I was informed that we were lucky that only Rusty came home with them, as he had a sister, and they were contemplating taking both animals, but decided that Mum would not be too happy if they arrived home with two dogs instead of just one.
It has always been our policy that animals are not to sleep on the beds, but when my husband went to check on our son before retiring that first night, Rusty was asleep on the end of the bed, and growlingly showed he was not impressed with my husband making sure the bedding was covering our son.
Rusty settled into our home straight away and seemed to know that he had been lucky to have been rescued,though there was never any mistaking whose dog he was. He and our son were inseparable - Rusty even attended B.M.X. race meetings with us and instinctively knew when his human was about to race.
Of course, with his heritage and feet the size that they were, there was no way that Rusty would ever fit my stipulation of a "dog that will not grow big." Grow big he did, both in size and nature. I had never before been acquainted with a dog who had such a loving nature and personality.
One of his favourite things was to pull any item of my clothing that he could reach off the line. Nothing was ever torn, and everything could be located in a neat pile at the side of the house. No body else's clothing would do, only mine.
In the later part of 1991, we noticed that Rusty was having difficulty toileting. We contacted friends who bred dogs and were told to give him laxatives, but nothing helped, so a visit to the vet was arranged to assist him.
My husband took him to the vet, and arranged to pick him up that afternoon or next morning, but had barely gotten home when the vet phoned and advised that he could do nothing for Rusty as his whole pelvic area and bowels were riddled with cancer.
Rusty was groggy from the medication and injection he had been given for the anticipated operation when we reached the vet surgery to say our goodbyes, but was still able to lick my husbands hand, as if to say - "I know this is for the best, goodbye."
Our vet, who had treated Rusty since his arrival at our home, was very close to tears when he had to administer the final injection.
It was several years after we lost Rusty, before another 4 legged family member entered our household.
Specifically: Buried in back yard of home.
Created by: Muriel Butler
Record added: Jun 19, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 38540341
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