Rudy, my handsome tri-color field English Setter, was helped to the Bridge on December 4, 2009. Admittedly, it’s taken me awhile to write of Rudy’s passing because it still makes me cry that he is not here with us. I miss him so very much and, oh, how I miss that perpetual smile of his. He was such a good mama’s boy!
I don’t know how old Rudy (aka Rudolph Valentino) was because he came to me as a “rescue dog” on Valentine’s Day 2007; but he wasn’t a young lad. You can read how the events of Rudy’s rescue unfolded on his page in my website. Though I was simply to be the rescue conduit for Rudy’s re-homing, he stole our hearts and we all knew he was where he needed to be. He had found his forever home.
When Rudy came to us, we could tell that he’d surely been a scrapper. He had a pretty “crusty” attitude toward the girls, Abbott and Liesel. But, before long, he warmed to them and they soon became 3 peas in a pod. He received every thing and every bit of care that the “show” girls did. He was even so proud to get bathed and groomed like the girls every week – he’d prance around and steal kisses from everyone! As for the girls, he also became their guardian, and mine; making sure that everyone was “approved” to be near us.
Almost 2 years ago, he became a surrogate daddy to Fleetwood. He was so good and gentle with this new little bundle of incredible energy and ever so tolerant! But, even then, Rudy was beginning to realize the effects and discomfort of severe dysplasia. I’d had him x-rayed when I rescued him, to identify any injuries that needed attention; he was diagnosed with advanced H&E dysplasia. And, as time progressed and Fleetwood grew, Rudy was noticeably having a harder and harder time maneuvering with the young boy.
Last June, along came the Solstice litter. Rudy never was the best buddy to Abbott that he was with Liesel – I guess they just felt a certain kinship for their blue spots. When the Abbott whelped the Solstice litter… I, admittedly, was especially leery of letting Rudy anywhere near Abbott and the babies. They had their own entire whelping room. But, a few times I found him sleeping just outside the whelping box. Of course, I sent him out of their room. Well, then, if he couldn’t be in the room, he was determined to sleep in the hall outside the door. He didn’t seem to have any interest in smelling them or touching them, but he was quietly determined to be near. I realized that he was guarding them.
The Solstice pups grew to venture out and it became inevitable that Rudy would have access to the new little ones. Adding to that, Dante arrived; just 3 weeks older than the Solstice pups!! I was worried that Rudy’s “crusty” days would return but, thankfully, my worries were for naught.
Dearest Rudy was immediately the best, most awesome surrogate great-grandpa! The youngsters worked Rudy over for sure! Rudy taught them. Rudy played with them and he put up with anything that they wanted to do to him. He would run with them (on his good days) or just stand still and balance while letting them have their pesky ways with him – his tail wagging with joy all the while! He would snuggle with them, under his favorite tree, while they pulled on his ears and dozed together. Rudy always seemed to prefer to sleep with the pups around him.
Over the past year, Rudy had an increasing frequency of lumps and bumps and incredible abscesses. Some abscesses were not at all responsive to antibiotics and required surgery. And, the dysplasia was making it impossible for him to stand or sit up for any length of time. In turn, bathing him was becoming quite a challenge and, of course, he could not get in and out of any vehicle on his own; his weighing in at 65+ lbs. limited how much lifting and maneuvering I could do for him. I was so afraid I would drop him.
At the beginning on this month, with yet another draining abscess, along with an increasing lack of mobility, I knew Rudy’s health was in rapid decline.
When Rudolph Valentino – The Stealer Of Kisses - came to me that Valentine’s Day, I had been wishing for a tricolor male. My wish came true… I was blessed with The Most Handsome Tricolor Male English Setter On The Planet! Though I knew not was his background was, I knew that he responded to LOVE and CARING and gave the same in return. He was a joy and now, once again, he is experiencing the joy of running free, like the Champ that I’ve no doubt he once was… and finding all his birds! [Enjoy, my sweet smiling boy! Enjoy.]