The 5th kid… Vol 21
Rusty, our 3 year old Aussie, has transformed our lives…in a furry sort of way. Lori helped us pick him out of the litter, even though she was nearly too weak to take the ride out to kennel from hospice. We were glad she made it. It was one of the last things we did together as a family. She was able to take one more trip back to the kennel on the day we picked him up…and that included one last stop to see the house she loved and lived in for nearly 19 years before she went back the Shepards home for the final time. She passed away June 12th, 2010.
I looked for weeks for a kennel within a reasonable distance..and then again for one that had puppies coming. Why an Aussie? I don’t know…just a whim really. We all liked the coloring but heard stories that Aussie’s would try to herd us. As an overwhelmed dad…that sounded pretty good. At least I would know where the kids were…out in a pasture somewhere running around with the dog keeping them from getting out, or getting away 🙂 Well…it didn’t quite work out that way…but better in a lot of other ways.
We picked up Lori at Shepard’s Home and headed out for the 45 mile ride down to the Finger Lakes to pick up Rusty. He was just over 8 weeks old and we were all excited and nervous to bring him home. The kids were thrilled that mom could come with us.
The dog was my idea…I thought it was a good one. However, I had tried it earlier with a rambunctious goldendoodle we named Owen. The timing was wrong. Lori was still at home and not doing well. Owen just loved to chew on her long robe…while she was wearing it. There was tripping and shouting and crying. It was a fiasco. Brendan and I ended up driving the puppy back to western Ohio at great expense… and we had to give up our deposit. But Rusty was different. By this time Lori was in hospice at Shepard’s Home to get the care she needed, so acclamating Rusty to the house routine was a little easier. We would bring Rusty by Shepard’s Home occasionally so Lori could see him and see how happy the kids were with him. I have to believe that gave her some comfort.
Aussie’s are very smart. Rusty house trained in no time with only one accident ever. Becky Rene, a friend from church and owner of Woof2Hoof canine training, helped with Rusty’s initial training and socialization. Thankfully (I guess…) he never had those strong herding tendencies…He just loved everybody. And everybody loved him…we still do. He is as much a part of the family as we all are. He just sheds more…is cheaper to feed…and doesn’t ask for money.
Kathy visited the house a few times before we were married last Octoboer…Rusty loved this gal. Rusty’s first moves were to lick her ears…we all think it’s a sign of affection…and she was immediately adopted into Rusty’s inner circle. To this day, Rusty is never far from Kathy when she’s in the house.
In a huge way, Rusty helped bridge the loss of Lori to trying to do life without her…Rusty was always there and he loved us all. We could count on Rusty always being in a good mood and happy to see us. He does have his little quirks…he won’t go into the basement… but maybe that’s because we gave him his first bath in the utility sink down there…) and, he does like to dig…our back yard looks like we’ve been under a mortar attack…but we couldn’t imagine life without him.
I believe with all my heart that the Lord prompted our decision to get Rusty. I’d like to take credit for it.. but I can’t. He knew what we needed. I have never been an animal person…until now. God knew what we needed to make our horrible tragedy… bearable…even healing. Rusty has helped do that.
Take a look back over your life. Maybe you never lost a wife and mother like we did…(maybe you did…) Maybe it was a dad or grandparent. Maybe it was a divorce or the loss of a job. I bet there has been some hard thing in your life that you didn’t think you could get through. How did God uniquely show himself faithful to you. How did he show how much he loved you? Please take a minute to comment…I’d love to read your story.
Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.