Rusty the three-legged pup paid a visit to the Animal Welfare League on his way to New York where he summers with his new parents, Phil and Teresa Jacobus. But life wasn’t always so idyllic for Rusty.
Formerly known as Xander, this 3-month- old chocolate lab, his brother Xavier and sister Xena were abandoned along the road in Deep Creek. They were picked up by Animal Control and brought to the Animal Welfare League.
While Xavier and Xena appeared healthy and were quickly ad- opted, little Xander had a leg injury and was walking on, what for humans, would be his ankle.
He was taken to a local veterinarian who took x-rays that revealed a severe injury to his entire right rear leg. The bones from his hip to his toes had been crushed and had started to heal without any treatment. Fearing amputa tion was the only course of action the local vet referred Xander to a specialist in Sarasota.
AWL staff and Animal Control officers took off their work hats and got together as private citizens to help this puppy. Brenda Wright, supervisor of the Animal Wel- fare League’s Intake building, got on the phone with lo- cal animal lovers and known “Softies” to get financial help for Xander. The specialist reduced his fee and Brenda’s band of angels donated the remainder of the, still substantial, fee to make him well. An Animal Control Officer spent her days off ferrying the little pup back and forth to Sarasota.
Two days after surgery he was up and running. He seemed unaware that he was missing the leg. There was a slight learning curve; wagging his tail exuberantly without falling over, but he soon mastered the technique. He was sent to a foster home where he completed his recovery in the lap of luxury. Nothing was to good or too much work for little Xander. When he had fully recovered, he was brought back to the shelter and placed for adoption.
Xander’s story was chronicled on a Deep Creek neighborhood website and was being closely followed by Phil and Teresa Jacobus. Phil was, himself, recovering from surgery. The couple had decided not to get another dog after their beloved yellow lab passed. That gradually changed as they followed Xander’s progress on the website and he captured their hearts. They decided that if Phil was fully recovered when Xander became avail- able, they would adopt him.
According to Teresa, their first meeting with Xander/Rusty was “love at first lick”. “We are the lucky ones to get to adopt him. He’s such a great companion. He loves to ride in the truck and we’re happy for that because we spend our summers in New York.” Teresa said. “I wish you could see how he “smiles”. Everyone just loves it” “We are so fortunate to be Rusty’s adoptive family.”
Rusty spends his days chasing squirrels on the Jacobus’s large rural property and is always up for a ride in the truck. He has much to smile about.
From a hard start to being the apple of his family’s eye, this abandoned puppy is clearly the lucky one.