A story about an eternal teenager ! (pics to follow)

We’re going home on Sunday via Kent, not you would think anything unusual about that except that home is North Devon, our Saturday night venue was Rotherham and Kent is not exactly on a direct route between the two!
We had lost our much loved black Labrador, Max, a few days before and we had been discussing whether to look for another dog via the South West Labrador rescue from whence Max had arrived or look for a Vizsla as our remaining dog, Hugo, was a Vizsla who we had bought almost by accident as a three month old puppy; but that is another story. John, my husband had not been at all keen on owning a different breed of dog but over the years had become besotted with Hugo and the breed in general. The phone call I received in the office was from John who had contacted Vizsla Rescue, had spoken to Claire and found that there was a nine month old Vizsla requiring homing. Enter Rusty, we were told later that both Rusty and Hugo shared the same ancestry, it felt that it was meant to be.
We arrived at Claire’s where Rusty was waiting for us in the kitchen, he became so excited that he proceeded to wee all over the kitchen floor, something that he continued to do for a couple of years whenever he became over-excited. It was love at first sight and after the formalities Rusty leapt into our car, made himself comfortable on the back seat, and off we went home. Rusty travelled well in the car but throughout the journey his whole body was quivering, something that still happens whenever he is waiting in expectancy for something, especially food. Rusty can out-Labrador any Labrador when it comes to his enthusiasm for any type of food, and I mean any type – not every dog considers worming tablets to be a treat!
On arrival home Rusty and Hugo made friends amid a torrent of wee from Rusty that flooded the kitchen floor. Hugo considered himself to be ‘top dog’ but having been used to having a companion was happy to take Rusty under his wing and within a few days they were happily playing together, with Hugo, being a superior being, firmly in charge. The ‘weeing’ improved and most of the furniture survived with only the odd tooth mark to show the arrival of a new resident.
Rusty came to us complete with lots of toys, and three double sided A4 sheets of notes about his likes, dislikes, behaviours and previous regime. His original owners had obviously loved him dearly but had not realised that a cute puppy would grow in such a few months into a large, energetic, excitably and extremely strong, bouncy and over affectionate dog. He had had some training and was indeed generally very obedient, would come to call and whistle, sit and leave on command, shake paws, ‘twist’ for treats, and only occasionally become selectively deaf.
Rusty loves walking free in our fields and has great pleasure in attempting to catch the seagulls and rooks that abound there. He could be quite concerned if he thought that he had lost sight of us and on one memorable occasion I had a call from John saying he had lost Rusty in our maize fields. I was worried as some of our fields lie along a main road and those gates were open – I rapidly moved along to the first gate and called and whistled to no avail, so then progressed to the second field and much to my relief after a short while heard a howl in response to my whistling. After a series of whistling and howling a very relieved Rusty appeared at the gate, strangely enough that seemed to have given him confidence that he could manage a maize crop, despite it being 8ft high, as from there on in he has happily disappeared into maize crops and reappeared with impunity.
Despite living on the estuary we do not often go to the sea, and Rusty is not that fussed; he will swim but relatively reluctantly and prefers to search the beach for interesting and usually extremely unpleasant smells. Smells tho’ are his forte and any ‘desirable’ scent is fair game for him to revel in, he’s always rather put out to discover that this type of adventure will inevitably lead to a bath.
Rusty loves people, adores being fussed and considers that the settee is made just for him and his chosen human, he receives and gives love and affection in equal proportions. His love of company extends to other dogs and our current tiny black Labrador (sort of rescue) suffers his attentions with a certain amount of equanimity. He adores playing with her, noisily – mouth around neck is a favourite trick – but he also cleans her all over in an extremely loving way. They often lie together, happily curled up on the settee periodically vying for a position closest to me, or to be precise on top of me (great on cold winter evenings). Rusty has a great line in thumping his head down on top of my lap top ensuring an interesting result in what I am typing; he’s helping me at this moment!
We have had the odd health scare, eating some of John’s pills soon after he had come to live with us was one; we were at that time less aware of his ability to reach almost every work surface, he was considerably larger than Hugo. All was well after a night’s stay at the vet for both dogs, but somewhat worrying. Another issue arose when suddenly one day I found Rusty having a short fit, he came out of it fine but the second time it happened he had a full examination by the vet. It still happens from time to time but rarely and vet says that it is nothing to worry about as long as the frequency does not increase; it hasn’t so when it does occur I just gently stroke him and keep with him until he is fully recovered.
Rusty has several ‘passions’, food is of course one of the foremost, all food, he whines when I am preparing vegetables and have not given him any, it can sound quite pitiful – a bit like ‘Oliver’ asking “is there any more”. I thought once that it was only olives and celery leaves that he would not eat but recently, having found an empty dish that should have contained olives, I realise now that his dislike is restricted to celery leaves. Tissues, ah tissues, there is not a tissue in the house safe however well hidden in a handbag it may be that his keen sense of smell will not suss out and thereupon it will be devoured with alacrity; well it does keep the house tidy and does an amazing amount for tissue sales. Small furry animals are another passion, he spends hours staring at our hypericum and buried in our jasmine bushes willing the resident mouse to emerge, said mouse being far too canny only makes dashes for freedom when Rusty’s back is turned.
This beautiful, fun dog, who will jump a 3 foot fence with a line that is reminiscent and the envy of any grade A show jumper has a passion for heat. The Rayburn is the obvious spot for him together with the other dogs in the house, so the shout of ‘out’ is a regular cry when I am attempting to cook a meal; he has developed good line of forcing his way in between me and the Rayburn with great deliberation. His other favourite, when we have a good summer, is to lie flat out in the sun, luxuriating in its heat, and then retreating to the shade or the coolness of our cob house. Rusty’s hate of rain is palpable however and he will only grudgingly go into the garden to relieve himself, for the shortest time and as close to the door as he can possibly get..
Living with Rusty is fun, sometimes a challenge but always rewarding for he has personality in buckets full, intelligence, boundless energy and love for all, the one thing to say is that it is certainly never dull!
Ro Day
August 2014

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