Rusty Up for Adoption: You’ll ‘Love, Love, Love This Sweet Boy’

4 min read

After more than 10 years spent outside 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in isolation, everyone would reserve the right to be a little rust But when PETA’s Community Animal Project (CAP) was finally entrusted with the care of this longtime favorite of field workers, he quickly proved that he had no qualms about enjoying “retirement bliss.”

The first time a colleague of mine met Rusty, he noticed that he was “chained in a pen.” During that visit, the field agent urged Rusty’s owner to let PETA give the sweet Labrador mix a chance at adoption to a safe home where he would be showered with love and affection. But she refused—and it wouldn’t be the last time. My CAP colleagues and I spent nearly a decade visiting Rusty, making sure he had fresh water to drink during the sweltering summer and an insulating straw bed during the frigid winter. Whenever we took notes about our visits, we couldn’t help but point out how cheerful and enthusiastic the aging dog always seemed, as I detailed in the note below from my first meeting with him:

“(Rusty) is still so nice.”

“Sweet” and other adorable adjectives are all over Rusty’s case sheet, like in this note from my colleague Hollie…

“My God, Rusty is a wonderful little guy.”

…or these mini love letters from Ashley, another PETA field worker:

“I love, I love, I love this sweet boy.”
“As sweet as ever.”
“This boy is adorable as ever and (PETA’s senior vice president of cruelty investigations, Daphna Nachminovitch) is now a member of (Rusty’s) fan club.”

But our posts about Rusty weren’t always jovial, like this one from Ashley, written after a visit on a terribly hot July day:

“(Rusty) was so hot that he was lying in the hole he had dug under his (doghouse).”

But the field workers took a cue from Rusty: He didn’t give up, and neither did we. Our shared courage paid off. One day last month, Chris, the first PETA field worker to meet Rusty, got the life-changing call we’d all hoped for, and he wrote:

“(Rusty’s owner) said she didn’t want (Rusty) to suffer or be exposed to the heat anymore.”

After a dozen dangerously hot summers, Rusty’s owner finally took a page from OUR book, as Chris noted:

“(Rusty’s owner) called me to ask that we pick up (the dog) and return him.”

Chris wasted no time getting Rusty back, and the now adoptable dog wasted no time making up for lost time.

“Rusty is free! (And he is enjoying) his retirement. ”

Although Rusty is about 12 years old, the finally free dog is still quite feisty and alert, his foster family reports. But like any older man, he also enjoys a good nap on the couch. Like most of the dogs my colleagues and I visit, Rusty has heartworm disease, for which he is currently receiving treatment, courtesy of PETA. After more than a decade of being deprived of the good life every dog ​​deserves, Rusty is not thrilled about spending his final years with feline friends. He would be happier enjoying the undivided attention of a loving family for the rest of his life.

Will you be the one who “loves, loves, loves that sweet boy” too?

E-mail (protected email) to learn more.