Rusty Strong: Rusty's Redemption

Rusty's Redemption

Odie’s Place Rescue has saved over 60 animals in under two years, with zero state funding. We have encountered dogs with many physical ailments including tumors, blindness, and other conditions associated with advanced age. But we’ve never encountered a dog like Rusty. The very first thing you notice in Rusty's presence is his glowing smile. Rusty is a 31-pound, male, seven-year-old Dachshund/American Foxhound Mix with a very unique story that is causing animal lovers to become #RustyStrong.

The sad part of this story is that this is not the first time Rusty has been saved. Rusty lived through Hurricane Sandy in New York, and thankfully was found by a family as a stray when he was 3 years old and a perfectly healthy dog. A 3-year-old handsome Dachshund mix is a very attractive pet, and he was adopted by a growing family.

The family eventually grew to four children and Rusty was very compatible with them, being gentle with infants and as young children alike. Rusty also got along well with the family cat and dog, and any neighborhood dogs he encountered on walks   He was described as the “perfect dog.”  

But, according to the family, things took a tragic turn when Rusty began losing feeling and mobility in his back legs about two months ago.  Soon, Rusty also lost the ability to control his bladder and bowel movements. This perfect dog was dealt some very bad cards. Already tightly bonded to his big family, Rusty now needed extra care from them to move around and to change his “doggy diapers.” Rusty suddenly became a full time commitment, as he was partially paralyzed.


Unfortunately the family decided that that they could not maintain this new commitment to Rusty, considering they had four children plus a handicapped dog requiring special care. The two disappointments we have at Odie’s Place Rescue is that 1) the family only brought Rusty to a mobile vet for a cortisone shot which didn’t work and 2) they made the decision to surrender Rusty on June 27 to a large high kill shelter, Manhattan ACC. Perhaps the family had a very challenging financial situation, and could not find local resources in NYC to help them, or could not cope; we just don’t know.

After Rusty was left at the NYC shelter and examined, he was quickly deemed "Rescue Only" due to his physical ailments, with the expectation that any rescue taking him would be fully willing to meet his special needs. On the next day, June 28, the shelter sent an email appeal out to all their approved rescues (which includes Odie’s Place Rescue) pleading for one of them to “pull” (reserve and take in) Rusty.  That same evening he was placed on the dreaded NYC “At-Risk” list.  What this means is that rescues had from about 6 PM that evening, through noon the next day (6/29), to reserve him.  If not reserved, he would most likely be euthanized by the shelter that afternoon. Time was running out.


Odie’s Place Rescue stepped up after a 3-month hiatus from doing any intakes and decided to save Rusty and welcome him to our All Star Team. Rusty arrived this past Monday night and was brought to Warren Animal Hospital for X-Rays and a neurological exam. After multiple tests, which included testing Rusty's sensation in his back toes (where he showed some movement) the results suggested that Rusty suffered damage to his vertebrae, which is causing disruptive pressure on his spinal cord. Rusty now needs an MRI to determine the extent of damage, and to see if surgery may be feasible to help restore the functionality of his rear legs and give him back control of his bladder and bowel movements. How this injury occurred will forever be a mystery (the shelter never provides the prior owner’s identity to rescues) but our mission is very clear. Odie’s Place Rescue will do whatever we can to restore Rusty’s functionality and find him the best forever home.

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Odie’s Place

PO Box 87125

Dartmouth MA 02748