This is my dog, Rusty. He’s a Golden Retriever, and one heck of a good dog. He’s everything “man’s best friend” should be: lovable, loyal, friendly, and big enough to take care of anyone who tries to mess with my family. He’s quick to let me know when someone comes too close to the house, and I love that.
We got him from my brother-in-law (no, not Scott). He found him in the country where they are building a house. Evidently, someone had dumped the poor guy out there and left him for dead. Why, I have no idea. Anyway, they asked us if we wanted him, and we said “absolutely!” You see, until Rusty, I had not had a dog since I was 10 (but that’s a whole nother blog).
My childhood dog was OLD when we got her. She pretty much just ate and slept and pooped. She’d lay beside you for hours, content just to be with you. Do you see where this is going? Fast-forward to 2007, and 80 lbs. of pure energy. Rusty is ready to romp, no matter the time of day or temperature. My morning routine has become known as “Five Minutes with Rusty.” It’s by far the most high-energy part of my day, and folks, my day includes a 10 month old baby girl. This dog could power Los Angeles for a week, if they could harness his power.
Here is a brief synopsis of “Five Minutes with Rusty”:
I get dressed in a pair of very think coveralls. (Picture the suit the guy wears that trains police dogs to attack). I grab a couple of doggie treats and a bowl of food. I quietly try to sneak out to the pen. Rusty, having heard me come out of the house, has been standing guard, waiting in eager anticipation for me to appear. Upon seeing me, he launches himself at the fence (see above photo). I still can’t believe he hasn’t figured out that he can get over the fence, if he really wanted to. Anyway, I unlock the gate (it has to be locked with a padlock, because he’ll open it otherwise. Each morning, the lock has been jiggled enough to spin it. I swear he’ll get it open one day), and I step into the pen, blocking his attempted “between the legs to freedom” dash. If I manage to stay upright, and still have all the food in the container, I’ll attempt to get it into his bowl. This rarely happens. Usually, either myself, the food, or both end up on the ground, having been the victim of an 80 lb. missle launched at Mach 10.
After I get up, it’s on. I’m 6 feet tall, and Russ can put his paws on my shoulders. We do a little ballroom dancing, puncutated with my futile attempts to get him to stop jumping. No matter what I do, be it walking into his jump to throw him back, moving out of the way as he soars by, wrestling him to the ground, all of this peppered with “No Rusty!” He just gets up for more. I try to use the “stay” command, complete with the “stop sign” hand, all to no avail. He just tries to nip at my hands. The only thing he’ll obey is when I say “sit!” And that’s just because he thinks he’ll get a treat! I get more cardio from Five Mintues with Rusty than from running 5 miles. I’m trying to get him settled down so he won’t maul Amanda and Caroline when they’re outside. Amanda even conceded to letting him come in the house some, IF I can get him to simmer down. Big if.
Good ol’ Russ thinks it’s a game, this “no jumping Rusty!” thing we do each morning. Why, you ask? Well, since you asked so nicely, I’ll tell you. My father-in-law came clean tonight. You see, he has been keeping Rusty for us the past few months until we sold our house and moved down here. He said he has been letting Rusty jump and bite on him since he got him. It’s just like how he is with the grandkids: he gets to spoil them, we have to deal with the consequences. That’s fair, in some parallel universe.
Oh, and did I mention that he’s a boy? Yeah, you know what that means: it’s business time if he can grab a hold of you. Russ, do you hear that sound? I think I hear scissors in your future!