My Friend Rusty


Twelve years ago I found my dog Rusty at the Petsmart in Altamonte Springs, Florida. It was a Saturday afternoon in May, and the humane organization Pet Rescue By Judy was holding an adoption event.

When I walked into the building, there were a row of crates with dogs barking and jumping nervously. However, there was one little guy who kept his cool and remained comfortable laying down. That was Rusty.

My mom–who was visiting from Colombia–kept telling me, “That’s the one. Look at him, he is so good!” Our last dog had rocked our lives. He was the cutest Beagle, but a menace. He chewed on every shoe, furniture, TV remote, lipstick, and door knob if ever left alone. For that reason, my mom was worried that I would end up choosing another destroyer.

So, I followed my mom’s advice and asked one of the volunteers if I could walk Rusty. He was just 10 months old and didn’t weight more than 15 pounds, but he walked with confidence. Typical Napoleon complex. From that moment on, Rusty and I were inseparable.

I lived alone in an apartment on the first floor, and I was terrified of the darkness. I had moved to the United States the previous year, leaving everybody I knew and loved back home. Therefore, Rusty became my family and my guardian.

As the years went by, I got married, became a mother and through it all, Rusty stood by my side. Every night, he slept under my baby’s crib or by his door as he grew up. It really seemed like he was on duty 24/7, always vigilant protecting the family.

But last Saturday, his heart gave up and my husband and I had to make the decision to end his pain. We held him until his last breath.

Later that afternoon our neighbors, who are also our veterinarians, brought us flowers and a card with the most beautiful message: “That last act of friendship was the most caring thing you could have done for your companion.

I know Rusty was a dog, but like the card says, the bond we had was a friendship in the purest sense. Dogs see us all the time and regardless of our flaws, they still love us, unconditionally.

Now that he is gone, I am going through the memories everyday. Today, I remembered that he was the reason I created this blog and started to write again two years ago.

I leave you my first post, Chase with a Broom:

Yesterday, while I was rushing out the door for a doctor’s appointment, my Shiba Inu/Terrier mix named Rusty, decided to battle my command, “Go in the crate“. Instead of going in peacefully as he usually does–I’m lying, he always fights me!–he decided to give me crap and ran around the dinning room table.

In a split second, I lost my cool and ran to the garage to get the broom. I chased his little a-hole for two or three minutes around the table until I stopped and flipped him off. He stared at me like saying, “You are lucky I don’t have hands, woman!“

I put the broom back in the garage, and when I came back in to set the alarm, guess who was inside his crate? I closed the little gate and told him, “Bye baby” and headed to the car. When I got in, I saw my little man in the back seat playing with one of his Rescue Bots. Thank God he didn’t hear or see anything. I have a lifetime to screw him up. 

Now, I learned two valuable lessons from Rusty. First, no matter how crazy we behave in front of the people we love, there is always a chance for forgiveness if we are willing to eat our pride. And second, I am going to try the broom with my husband and my son. Who knows, they might clean up after themselves on their own. 

Until we meet again, my sweet boy Rusty.

Thank you for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

This column was sponsored by Zellner Insurance Agency. Many things in life don’t have insurance. For everything else call Zellner (888) 208-8119



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