No one knew his story. Rusty came to GBR as a starving stray, yet he had clearly been someone’s long time pet. Rusty had impeccable house manners and readily followed commands. GBR got him cleaned up, treated, and fed, adding more than 20 pounds to get his weight back to normal. After 3 months in foster care, Rusty had blossomed into a tall, handsome boy with a dark coat and beautiful long feathers. This sweet old guy (12+ years?) had some significant health problems—laryngeal paralysis and hind leg neuropathy—but he didn’t let these issues keep him from enjoying life. Rusty had a funny rolling, bow-legged gait, and would easily get short of breath, but he loved to walk our daily one mile “sniff and stroll” circuit.
Rusty had some interesting personality quirks. He would take a long look at his water dish before sneaking up on it for a drink. Although he quickly mastered the dog door concept and had no trouble getting through, Rusty remained very suspicious of dog doors and he could sit next to one for minutes before deciding to go in or out. Rusty also distrusted any food dish that wasn’t human held. Just touch the bowl and he would eat, move your finger away and he would stop. Although Rusty wasn’t one of those smiley, bouncy, Velcro goldens, he liked to be near people. He would frequently sidle up for loves and would give you his paw and puppy dog eyes to ask for a treat. Rusty’s quiet charm quickly endeared him to our office staff. Even our golden girl, Gracie, graciously conceded her only-child status to her new brother.
We lost our Rusty just as we were getting to know him. One morning, Rusty awoke late and stumbled going down the stairs. By noon he didn’t move much from his favorite spot on the rug. He wouldn’t eat dinner and by bedtime he was struggling to walk. The next morning Rusty refused to drink and couldn’t stand, even with assistance. The Dove Lewis Emergency vet did an ultrasound exam and discovered our poor boy had fluid in the pericardial sac around his heart.
Rusty was diagnosed with cardiac hemangiosarcoma, a form of cancer that affects the blood vessels and eventually causes bleeding in the pericardial sac, making it impossible for the heart to pump effectively. The condition is asymptomatic until the vessels burst and bleeding occurs. The vet explained hemangiosarcomas are a common form of cancer in older goldens. They can present in the skin (treatable) or in the spleen (semi-treatable), but there is no effective cure for the disorder when it’s in the heart. We were told that treatment—a long needle into the heart sac, repeated every time the blood reaccumulated—was painful and would only prolong his suffering. It was a heartbreaking decision for us to make for this sweet boy who just entered our lives, but euthanasia was the only humane option. We said a poignant goodbye to Rusty less than 3 weeks after adoption. We are so grateful this former street dog got to have a happy 3 months with his GBR foster family, and we feel blessed by the few short weeks he spent with us.
Hey everybody! I am Rusty (#2872). My foster mom says I’m a really easy guy to live with. I’m housetrained; I like the company of other dogs but I’d be fine alone; and I don’t get into any trouble. For my new home, I really want to have some grass because I love to roll around on it, especially in the morning when it’s wet. Even on our morning walks sometimes I’ll roll around on the neighbor’s grass. It feels so good.
I like to go for walks, but I’m not real fast and I like to stop and sniff everything. My foster mom says walks are good because they help me build up some muscle. I also like to lay in the planters in the shade and take a naps. I really enjoy being outside during the day but I like to be indoors at night and I sleep right through until morning. I don’t need much, just a home where somebody will love and care for me.
Rusty’s foster mom: Rusty was found as a stray in WA and ended up at the humane society. Sweet, gentle, well-behaved Rusty is guessed to be about 12 years old. He was skin and bones when he was found so has enjoyed his four meals a day while gaining some much needed weight. Rusty just needs a soft place to land where he can get lots of love and attention.
Rusty was adopted October 1, 2017