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
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)