I heard some pretty sad news today. A doggie friend of mine out in cyberspace went to doggie heaven on Saturday. I was never fortunate enough to meet Rusty in person, but my mom and the people in his life were pals back in a place in time called high school. She remembers her time spent with him fondly, as I understand he shared my belief in joy, from the ground up.
His people have been showered with love and prayers on all sorts of social media today, and I find myself reflective of not only the blessing of life, but the blessing of the people (and pets) in it. I do enjoy my routines, but I can’t help but notice that sometimes the familiar scenery starts to lose its color. The characters don’t change much from day to day. One day blurs into another and it becomes all-too-easy to forget to pause to appreciate the tulips sprouting from the grass or the person who takes the time to pet you at the dog park.
Just as people funerals are meant to be a celebration of life, I pause today to remember Rusty in the way I know he would want to be remembered. Reading all the comments from his loved ones on Facebook this afternoon, I realized people and dogs alike need at least one Rusty in their lives. Every now and then, we need someone to help us through those tough moments.
I met my Rusty my first night at the Oshkosh Humane Society, and his is a legacy I will never forget. I had one of my darkest hours that night, to the point that I resigned to thinking it might be my last. Then I met my 15-year-old golden retriever neighbor Rusty and I didn’t know it then, but he would change my life forever in a single night. On this awful night when I had given up, Rusty reminded me that sometimes we get pushed on our backs to force us to look up and see some sunshine.
Like my Rusty, I’m certain the other Rusty in my life wouldn’t have wanted us to mourn his loss, but rather to carry on, as in the words of a popular song I just can’t get out of my head recently.
“If you’re lost and alone, or you’re sinking like a stone, carry on,” sings Nate Ruess of Fun. “May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground, carry on.” Best of all, the song reminds and encourages us all to be shining stars, or (as I see it through the lenses of my reflective day) to be a Rusty in someone’s life.
So today I pause in honor of the Rusty’s in my life to be conscious of my surroundings. I find myself thinking about my path in life, appreciating everyone who has carried me through my difficult times. I stop to find a way to carry on, to bring light to someone having a dark day, to be the Rusty someone needs to carry them through. Rest in peace, dear Rusty. You will not be forgotten.