During Rusty’s time with us, he has made more progress than we initially thought would be possible. While interaction with other dogs and acting as his leaders during the first few weeks benefited him a great deal, he continued to come out of his shell slowly but surely.
As trust towards us and comfort in his surroundings developed, Rusty went from being a hesitant puppy to a bold dog who is full of joy.
Rusty is still shy around new people and objects, and he hasn’t gotten over his fear of municipal trash bin and plastic bags.
Nonetheless, he doesn’t hesitate to let us know when he wants something. He’s very clear about what he likes and dislikes.
When it comes time to train with treats, he’s an attentive student- though perhaps a little too enthusiastic at times!
But most of all, Rusty just has a joyful way about him.
He loves to cuddle when he’s calm enough.
He enjoys pouncing on tennis balls like a cat.
He runs straight into the lake and jumps around or swims away from shore when I tell him to go swimming.
He runs- when called, while playing tag, or for no reason other than the love of running.
He bounces through the kudzu like an oversize rabbit on a great adventure.
When we try to pet him on the top of his head, he rearranges himself until he’s being scratched under his chin or behind his ears.
If he hasn’t recently blown his coat (he’s only blown it once in 7 1/2 months), he’ll raise his tail straight into the air when he’s really happy and it will billow out like a flag.
Within four months of coming home with us, he started going up to some dog park and beach regulars to sniff their hands. By late spring, he was letting some people pet him for short periods.
On a trip North last month, he made some great breakthroughs when he was willing to be close with my family, doled out some high fives and kisses, and asked for chin scratches. While he never did get to the point of willingly approaching my dad without barking, Rusty’s facial expressions indicated that he really did want to be buddies but just wasn’t ready yet.