I have been going through some boxes of pictures and other stuff and came across a book. This book was done in 1988 by Helen Wilson, president of Pet Haven, a rescue group in Nampa ID. I had submitted this story written by my mom. And I wanted it to be published in this book to honor her. It was originally published in a Chicago, IL paper. This is a true story of something that happened to me and a doctor that had the foresight to tell my parents to get me a puppy so I wouldn't be afraid of dogs. Well you all know the outcome of that. So I hope you enjoy this little story.
PICKED BY 'HEART', SAVED BY 'LOVE' THAT'S RUSTY
by Mrs. R. R. Smith
Rusty wasn't chosen like most pets are. Usually when people buy a puppy they look around at a number of dogs, decide what kind and what color they want and finally choose one that fits that description. But Rusty was chosen with a little girl's hands and heart! You see - her eyes were swollen shut!
It all started in April, 1958 when Rhonda Rae was four years old. We had promised her a puppy for Easter and then, several days before, she was attacked by a large dog and bitten on the face, head and arm.
She had many stitches across the forehead and pressure bandages to control the swelling but still the eyes were swollen shut She looked so tiny and so pathetic. One of the days when we were at the hospital to have the pressure bandage loosened I happened to mention to the doctor, "And to think we were going to get her a dog!" "Why not?" he answered. "It would be the wisest thing you could do."
Her daddy and I looked at each other and realized what , must do. A half-hour later, with Rhonda snuggled snuggled between us we set out to find a dog. At the Anti-Cruelty society we were told they did not place puppies in homes with small children. Then on to one pet shop after the other.
The day before Easter there wasn't much left in the way of pets. Finally we found a shop with two tiny puppies in the window! Rhonda groped her way blindly toward the sound of yelping and the sales lady placed the little furry ball in her arms..Her Her fingers caressed the soft fur and when the puppy licked her cheek, she smiled. We knew she had chosen this little mongrel with her heart!
In the weeks that followed Rusty and Rhonda became inseparable, so it was with heavy hearts we told her he must go away for a little while. She was going into Children's Memorial Hospital for plastic surgery and there would be no one to look after him during the day when we were with her. We took him to a farm in Wisconsin where we felt it would be safe for him to run around until she recuperated.
The operation went fine and it was with happy hearts we set out six weeks later to pick up Rusty. We were met with sad faces and even sadder news. Rusty had been shot by hunters and although the people felt he should be put out of his misery they had waited until we arrived. Rhonda clasped her dog in her arms and with tears running down her cheeks sobbed, "He'll be all right, Daddy, cause I love him."
We brought him back to Chicago and x-rays showed he had many pellets in his head and body. One eye was almost destroyed! Even the vet felt there was no hope for him without surgery. But we had no more money and so we took him home - to die.
But Rusty didn't die! Somehow he survived. And we like to think a little girl's love pulled him through. He's blind in one eye and is so gun-shy he almost dies every Fourth of July but we love him no less for his infirmity. He is the gentlest, quietest dog on the block - loved by everyone - but loved most by a little girl who chose him with her heart!
PS Rusty passed away on Nov. 8, 1976, he was 18 yrs old