Rusty Fix, my true and loyal friend 199?-April 30, 2009

by Kenneth E. Fix
(Smyrna TN and Juneau Alaska)

Rusty on April 12, 2009 last picture

Rusty on April 12, 2009 last picture

My best buddy in the world. Rusty was adopted by my wife Colleen and me from East Tennessee Doberman Rescue in February of 2000. He had been found as a stray walking along the highway. East Tennessee Doberman Rescue allowed us to adopt him in February of 2000. My wife and I were looking for a companion for our doberman Penny who was 2 years old at that time.

Rusty may have been abused as a pup and young dog. He flinched whenever anyone went to touch or pet him. It took weeks for him to warm to me and become my lifelong friend. He always wanted to be near me, and slept on a dog bed on the floor next to mine where I could reach him just before falling asleep.

Rusty had never learned to play. Things like fetch were foreign concepts to him.

He was such a part of me, I cannot explain it even now. In the fall of 2006, he ran full speed into a fence chasing something out of our backyard. He compressed a vertebra in his neck, and began having problems coordinating his legs when walking. Penny would run ahead of him when called back in our house, then run little circles around him in encouragement.

Rusty was getting progressively weaker. This winter, I had to help him when it got icy and snowy to get up and down 3 simple steps leading from our back deck into the yard. I dressed and went out with him, even in the middle of the night, to watch over him and make sure he got back inside safely.

I recently had to take a job in Juneau Alaska, which for the last 7 weeks have kept me apart from my wife, home and my dogs. I am returning in 3 weeks for a 2 1/2 week visit, but it was not to be soon enough. Rusty died suddenly the evening of April 30th, at the base of the steps I often helped him get up and down. My wife let him out after dinner, which he didn't keep down and threw up on the carpet. When called, he didn't come in. She found him at the base of the stairs unable to get up and breathing shallow.

On her cell phone with me, she put me on speaker and we both encouraged Rusty to get up, but it was already too late. I think he heard me talking to him, and I know I told him I loved him. By the time my wife got him inside and I was able to see him on a webcam, my best friend was gone.

He was cremated on Friday May 1st. I now have a box of ashes and a certificate that I've seen on webcam just today. I feel bad that I had to leave everything I loved behind to stay employed so my wife and I can survive.

I wonder if my dogs feel I deserted them. They only know I left them. They don't know why. I hoped to see my dogs every four months or so, as I could arrange it, but I will at least see Penny soon. I know in my heart that God chose this time for Rusty to return to him. I feel upset, angry, hurt, and defeated because I wasn't there and couldn't do anything but see him lifeless at the end.

If anyone has similar experience, please leave a response, because I am haunted by what I had to do just to make a living and survive in this world. I will always feel that I let Rusty down, and abandoned him in the last few weeks of his life. I understand all things end, and things usually end badly or they wouldn't end at all. Last, I do believe in a heaven and a God who created all. But my heaven will be no heaven at all if there no dogs there. The unconditional love they give must truly come from God, following his example as their own.

May God hold you safe and loved, my dear friend, until the time when I pray we will be together forever. I Love You Rusty!

Sincerely, Kenneth E. Fix of Smyrna TN, age 49, now temporarily in Juneau Alaska (see picture of Rusty taken Easter Sunday 2009)

Comments for Rusty Fix, my true and loyal friend 199?-April 30, 2009

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To Kenneth, Owner of Precious Rusty
by: Pier


I was so touched by your memorial and sadness over the loss of Rusty. I know that you and your family loved him an awful lot. And I especially can identify with your feelings of guilt over losing Rusty.

I lost Margo, a mixed Lab/Retriever, and such a little misfit of a girl, who no one in this world could/or would tolerate but me. It was fairly recent, in December 2008.

Like you, I still go back and try to pinpoint what I missed. What could I have done differently? How much more could I dip into our savings, and basically get the same answer from our vet. Margo was aging and would eventually leave my family soon.

I am so moved by your sadness and loss. Please take care and try to remember all of the wonderful times with Rusty.

by: Anonymous

You didn't fail him. You rescued him and brought him into your loving home where he was warm and no longer alone. You carried him when he was weak and loved him even more. You were with him in his last moments even though you were miles away. He knows what you did.

We have lost 4 very loved dogs in the past and it never gets easier. I will always have guilty feelings and wonder if there was more we could have done for each one.

My heart goes out to you.

Heartbeat of the Divine
by: Mirthmaven

The word for dog in Hebrew, Kelev, means "like a Heart."

A dog is like the tangible manifestation of the heartbeat of the Divine Unknown. That is why they love us so unconditionally.

And when they make their transition back into the non-physical, it is not a hard thing for them. They understand it better than we do and go most willingly. It's only our sadness and confusion about the unknown death that they can sense.

Remember, remember and remember again the good feelings you had with your dog. That was his job. Make his journey here a success by remembering what goodness he was, and be grateful to have had him as your teacher. From your letter, we can see you were a wonderful student.

by: Laynie's mom

I am in tears as I read your memorial to Rusty. It's been 6 months since my husband and I lost our Laynie Pooh dog. We both still miss her very much!

I sit here crying for your loss, my loss, and the loss of all the pets on this memorial page. I have come to know all their stories and am grateful to know that my Pooh dog is with so many loved pets. I feel just like you that heaven won't be heaven if my dogs are not waiting for me there.

The night before Laynie died, I gave her a kiss on the forehead (like always) and looked into her eyes and told her I loved her. The sadness in her eyes I will never forget as long as I live. She died early the next morning from heart failure. I got up early to check on her but I was too late. I will regret that forever.

My only consolation is she was with her siblings at home in her bed. My husband and I gave her the best life that we could. That is the best we can do.

My prayers are with you and your family.

Rusty & Rikki are together in Heaven
by: Sam & Shirley Lasley

Your sincere and loving comments about you dog Rusty reminded us so much of our own dog, Rikki who had to be put to sleep Dec. 10th 2008.

Our Rikki, like your Rusty, had been abused, and treated so badly. We got her at age 2 and she lived with us totally loved until age 18, when we had to put her to sleep. She was blind, deaf, and had other problems which the Vet couldn't cure.

The flinching part never went away. Rikki would still flinch after 16 years of love when you touched her and she didn't see your hand coming. Friends and neighbors couldn't even pet her without her flinching, even when she saw their hands.

The day that Rikki left us was the saddest of our lives even though, unlike you, we were with her when the needle was put in her leg and she collapsed in my arms. Right before that she had kissed me on the nose and then kissed Shirley on the nose as if to say, "goodbye for now and thanks."

Nothing we can say will make you feel any better. It has been over 4 months and we are still mourning her loss. May God help you get over your grief, and soon.

im so sorry for your loss
by: eva

I know how you feel. my best friend - my dog Cherry - died in February but I still can't get over it. The sad part is that I, just like you, was miles away from my dog. I couldn't even say goodbye to her and it breaks my heart.

My father told me that maybe my dog died when I was gone because she knew that seeing her pass away would kill me... and like always, she never wanted to do anything that would hurt me. Maybe Rusty felt the same way...

i miss my Cherry so much that even now, writing this, I'm in tears but I am sure that she is in Heaven now and that one day I will meet her again and we will have as much fun in the Paradise as we had back on Earth. Only then we will never be separated again... and the same will happen to you and Rusty.

True friendship never vanishes...

Be strong!

your friend rusty
by: tom

I am so sorry for your loss, I lost my Ned 6 weeks ago and I am still devastated. I am 55 and I wanted my boy to be with me for a few more years. He left me at 9 1/2 years young. We had so many more adventures to go on.

I feel bad because I feel he died because I had his teeth cleaned like I did every year. This time something happened and he got an infection. In 3 months my boy was gone.

Remember the good times Ken, listen for Rusty's bark in the wind and close your eyes and you will feel his fur before sleep. It takes time. I wish you well. You can see Ned's memorial if you would like.


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