After reading your article about Dogs who display the most loyalty, I just had to share the story of a German Shepherd named Rusty. First some quick back round as to how this beautiful dog came into my wives and my possession. I was previously married, and my ex (deceased) wife and I owned two loving German Shepherds. One male and one female. When we separated, I promised her that if anything ever happened to her I would take both dogs, as I know it would be next to impossible to place two full grown Shepherds into the same house, and as they had grown up together, them male was a year old when we purchased the female, and I would never have the heart to separate the two no matter what.
Anyway, upon her death, I arranged with my mother-in-law, to drive from Southern PA up to western Ma to pick them up.(Now one thing I have not mentioned is that at the time this all took place I already had two other dogs, both Boarder Collies. The male Shepherd was a very large dog for his breed. He weight 185 pounds and if he placed his front paws on your shoulder he could look directly into your eyes.
Of course my wives first words upon seeing him, “OH my god he is going to eat me”, and just the opposite was true, he was big teddy bear, once he got to know you and trust you. Over the course of a few months, and yes had the normal troubles of bringing another male into the house with a male who was already established into the house, but, knowing that dogs are pack animals and need an alpha (ME). For the most part it worked out fairly smoothly.
What I have not mentioned yet is that my wife was disabled. She had just lost her leg above the knee due to a blood clot. After about a month or so, He (Rusty) decided that his bed would be right next to my wife’s bed, which we had set up downstairs for her. When we got him he was approx. 8 years old, and was himself suffering from sever hip dysplasia, so could not walk up any stairs, and thus we built him his own ramp to use in the back yard.
As far as his devotion to her, all I can say is was breath taking. He would lay by her side on the floor for days without getting up to go outside or even eat, until she got into her wheelchair, whenever she had the strength to do so. Only after her getting into the chair and saying something to him about going outside, would he ever so slowly get up to go out, and then eat upon entering the house. This dog refused to leave her side when she was to sick to get out of bed. Understanding the amount of pain this dog was in, every time tried to get up, and yes we did what we could through our vet to make his life as comfortable as possible and give him the quality of life one could.
One day, someone who was visiting to give us an estimate on doing some work to make it easier on my wife to maintain some sort of dependence in the house, Rusty came straight off the floor, I would say approx. 4 1/2 feet to get onto the bed and stand over her, (front on one side of her, and back on the other). I don’t know how he was able to do this, knowing the pain it must have caused, but he moved faster then I have ever seen any dog move.
About 2 years after taking him in, we unfortunately found out he had the big “C”. He had developed a tumor on his liver, and we were able to keep him comfortable for about 8 more months before we finally had to put him down, It has been over 6 years now since then, and it brings us both to tears every time we think about it. Even when her could just barely maintain himself, and we knew it was very, very close to having to make that decision, He still some how found the will, to come to aid, when someone who was not suppose to be in the house, found their way in, and approached my wife.
To this day, I don’t think I have seen or ever will find a dog with the love, devotion and loyalty that this dog showed, even until his dying day