04 September, 2016

Losing Our Dog Rusty

 Years ago, when I started the blog, I had been stymied for a blog name until my good friend, Pencil Girl, suggested Running With Rocket.

Rocket, our first Lab,  suffered from wanderlust - we were always running after him. My mind is always going a mile a minute, and the name seemed to fit my eclectic creativity. Not to mention the alliteration.

Rocket passed away a few years ago.  Rusty was given to us and for a while, we were a two dog family. They were very different yellow labrador retrievers. Rocket being so smart - he could learn new tricks, dress up, go visit his doggy friends - smart enough to look at that ball you just threw and roll his eyes.
Rusty, by comparison, was quite stupid, with only two thoughts in his brain: Fetch and Eating - in that order.

Rusty lived to fetch, but unfortunately he developed arthritis in his joints and he had to learn not to fetch. This was a pretty big blow to him and it took a few years. As he got older - around 9 yrs, he finally stopped being a high-energy puppy and started learning some tricks.

He learned to roll over but he couldn't do it both ways. He could only do it right to left, not left to right. His legs would flail and he'd get frustrated. Such a funny dog.

 Rocket and Rusty hung out together. The other great thing about Rusty was he wanted to stay home. He would go touring with Rocket, but an hour later he would come dashing home as if to say, "I don't know where Rocket was going, but I had to come home."

This is the picture I sent to have painted. I use this photo as my google id photo too.
The artist  is Sandra Spencer. Sandra is the sister of my friend in Kyoto.


 The Standard Poodle, Faux Pas, a couple of houses away, has 'rich' parents who splurge on these chuck-it balls. We're more of a used tennis ball type of doggie family. Anyway - Rusty would 'borrow' these and bring them home for extended vacations. Until the neighbor would stroll by and pick up three or four of them to take back home.  Rusty loved his Chuck -It, a molded plastic arm that will throw a tennis ball a long ways.

 This girl. Misses him terribly. I took this photo just before she headed off to Central America for a five month discovery journey a few years back. Now she is in Alaska.

 The last couple of years, Rusty developed Pancreatitis - the doggie version of diabetes. He's get into something outside (cat food, compost, etc)  and then he would be in stomach distress. We switched up his food to a non-fat one and he managed to almost get to 15 years old (October).

This is the longest I've ever had a large dog live. My other two suffered from seizures and we put them down around 11 years old. I had high hopes Rusty would die naturally but that last week, you could tell it was inevitable and why put him through the pain.

He suffered a huge pancreatic attack and lost the use of his limbs and stopped eating. Three days later, he stopped drinking water. We carried him outside on a board but he couldn't stand and he wasn't recovering like he did last February, when we thought we were losing him.

Up until that last week, he managed to get around. His muscles in his hind legs were atrophying, especially his left hind leg. He would pull himself up and wander behind us in our indoor/outdoor pursuits. You could always tell if he was having pancreatic attacks if he struggled more than usual to pull himself up.

I took this photo in August, when we had pulled the Stearman outside the hangar to have more room inside to work on the project Piper J-5 airplane.

He liked eating raspberries and cherry tomatoes but not posing for photos.

My son took the top photo above when we were out taking photos of him for his graduation. Even though his hind legs didn't always work for him, he was such a people dog, wanting to be with us, even though we walked a fair piece to get photos with a tree background.

He always had to have his toys nearby just in case he could fetch. In his latter years, we would just roll it a few feet to put less strain on his shoulders and joints.

He died August 25th, 2016, nearly five years after Rocket passed. It is very sad here and it took me a while to figure out some of the emotions. This is the last bit of my children's childhood passing away. Both of my kids have lived away from home since they were 18 but a common thread in our conversations would be about the dogs. It has been very emotional here losing this last link.

I keep expecting Rusty to find me in the garden, or ask for a drink of water as I am watering my plants. Or stick his nose in the bathroom door (just like my kids); "why are you in there and I am out here?"

I don't know if we will get another pet. I am thinking about a parakeet/budgie bird. That way if hubs and I want to go away for a few days, we can carry the bird to the pet-sitting neighbor and just go. Right now, I can't imagine not having another dog, but hubs is another question.

Dogs make life worth living.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss of your fur kid. I worry what we'll do when we lose our buddy. What kind of dog would you get if you get another one? The smaller the breed the longer they live. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    1. I'm a big dog personality.Probably a golden.

  2. I'm sorry about Rusty - I'm sure he and Rocket are living it up @ The Rainbow Bridge with all of our much loved furbabies. This post is an awesome way to share and remember him!

    When we lost our kitty 3 years ago we decided we wouldn't get another -- we were getting ready to be empty nesters and wanted to be able to pick up and go whenever we wanted. I miss having a kitty, but I get to play with and love on the neighbour doggies - it's not the same as having a kitty in the house, but it's pretty good (especially when Leia the shih tzu see's me and comes running for kisses!) :)

  3. HI Kathy-simply..I'm so very sorry for your loss. Praying for healing of your hearts....xo

  4. I'm so sorry. Rusty was a great dog.

  5. It is hard to lose a dog. I am sorry. We put one of a pair we had down because of cancer, and now we are in the same situation, the other one is 14 year olds and her days are numbered. We are fostering a dog now for our son, and using this opportunity to see if we want another dog. We two want to travel, and it would be hard if we got another one. Sigh...

  6. Each one makes a place in our lives and in our hearts. The hardest part about having a dog is saying goodbye. We've rescued all our companions. I do hope you'll find it in your heart to love again. There are so many that need a good loving home. Hugs

  7. It's so sad when they leave us. I'm sorry for your loss.

  8. Rusty will be fondly remembered here, and in all your hearts. Pets add so much laughter and life to our homes. I know he will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, dear Rusty.

  9. We've never had a dog: over the years we've had 7 cats, 4 budgies, a lizard, a rabbit, a hedgehog (!) and assorted little rodents and goldfish. We also had 2 lovebirds (himself got them for me) and they did what comes naturally ... We had three clutches and ended up with 14!!! We told ourselves that pets are a good way for the children to learn about death, but we've been just as upset each time we've lost one! I'm sorry to hear about Rusty, but thoroughly enjoyed hearring about their lives

  10. What a thoughtful post about Rusty. Im sorry for your loss and hope you are beginning to get used to his absence. I love the painting your friend did of the dogs - it is wonderful!


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