The Story of Rusty: Discarded “trash” to therapy dog
by Lillian Degroof (Mar 26 2017)
Rusty’s life began in a backyard somewhere in Bakersfield. His puppyhood wasn’t easy, escaping death on different occasions. Due to improper nutrition while he was in utero, he was born underdeveloped with various health challenges. The first humans in his life saw his “deformed” leg due to rickets, prompting them to dump him on the streets. The Humane Society in Bakersfield found him and took him back to the shelter. They put him on the euthanizing list because they, too, felt nobody was going to want to adopt a dog with a deformity.
The day before he was going to be put to sleep, he caught the eye of Julia Mildenberger from SC Cats. That’s when his life made a change for the better. Julia and her team took Rusty to the vet and proceeded to provide proper nutrition and a soft cast to help fix his leg. They fostered him, tried to socialize him, and exposed him to various situations.
Each week, Rusty went to adoption events. He got to meet a lot of nice people. Then one day, a couple saw Rusty and fell in love with him. They didn’t realize what a stubborn, curious, destructive, yet fun loving, gentle spirited fur-child they adopted. On several occasions, the couple would return home to find the lid of a trashcan around his neck or a mangled stuffed animal or pillow with the stuffing generously spread throughout the home. On walks, he would see a small white dog and think it too was a stuffed animal. Lunging at dogs and apologizing to various owners became a regular occurrence.
The couple was at a loss in what to do until…… they attended Wiggle Waggle Walk. From a distance, they saw several bully breeds sitting on boxes not reacting to any of the dogs that walked by them. This was the most amazing sight the couple had ever seen. From that point on, Rusty became a member of LARPBO. Through LARPBO, Rusty and his humans learned proper engagement techniques, basic obedience, and eventually more advanced commands. He earned his CGC and CGCA title and a therapy dog certification.
Although Rusty will always have health issues due to his rough beginning, he is living the best life imaginable filled with dogs, cats, and humans that love him.
Meet LARPBO Dogs & Peeps
These stories illustrates LARPBO’s part in keeping dogs home and out of shelters AND guiding owners to help dogs reach their potential. Please help us continue making a difference in the community. Click here to donate to our Shelter Intervention & Prevention Program so that we can continue our mission.
- Bodhi: Better than a Doodle!
- Cali: It’s All About Cali!
- Cathy & Isaac: A Note to LARPBO
- Dexter: There’s No Stopping Dexter
- Frannie: How Did this Happen?
- Grace: An Addict, a Pit Bull and Grace
- Hope: Where there is Hope
- Houston: From a Dog No One Wanted to Therapy Dog
- Jane, Moses & Andie: A Human-K9 Pack
- JJ: Capturing the Heart of a First Time Pit Bull Owner
- Lacy: What’s in a Name
- Lisa: LARPBO and My Journey
- Lynwood: The Chick Magnet
- Miles Woo: So You Think My Dog is Good?
- Ollie: LARPBO Dog Becomes Therapy Dog
- Rusty: Discarded “trash” to therapy dog
- Samson: Samson is Family
- Tito: LARPBO Speak!
- Wesley: Following Wesley