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Family adopts senior dog who had both eyes removed and gives him a new lease on life

A beagle who had both his eyes removed finally found his forever family three weeks after his surgery.

Rusty had Posterior Lens Luxation, a condition in which the support ligaments of his lens weaken, causing them to dislocate from their normal position and fall backward into the eye.

The dog’s eyes were starting to painfully bulge, so Rusty underwent a double enucleation surgery on October 4 at the Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh (HARP). The procedure left him with no eyeballs and with his eyelids stitched up.

Michele Frennier, HARP’s marketing director, said they felt the operation was the best to do before putting up Rusty for adoption. This way, potential adopters won’t need to worry about facing this surgery in the future.

With him being a blind senior dog at 9 years old, the rescue was concerned about his future and whether he would find a family. Thankfully, Darrell Chulack and his family found him.

“My daughter Kristen had seen Rusty on Facebook and kept telling me to adopt him,” he said. “I went down to the Humane Society after two weeks of her nagging me and visited Rusty. He came over and started licking my fingers and his tail was wagging. He actually melted my heart.”

Rusty was getting ready for his evening walk when Darrell and his family came to visit. He said he had tears in his when he saw him in his kennel.

When the dog came into the room with him and his daughter, Darrell got down on the floor and lay there with Rusty for 15 minutes. The affectionate pup never left his side.

Darrell ended up officially adopting Rusty.

“The reason I adopted Rusty was he already had enough pain and grief in his life,” he said. “Rusty was a senior dog with a disability and my heart would not let me leave him there so I adopted him right there. My family and I gave Rusty a new lease of life.”

Rusty had no success in being adopted in the past and came to HARP through the Operation Petsburgh program, which transports at-risk animals from areas where resources are limited to HARP’s shelters.

“Rusty came from one of our biggest partners, Humane Society of Parkersburg,” Frennier said. Rusty had come to them as a stray. The staff adored him, but after about a month at HSP, there was no interest from the public to adopt him. Their staff felt Rusty might have a better opportunity to find a new family through HARP.”

At first, there were concerns about how a blind dog would take to the trip, being in an unfamiliar environment with other dogs. Surprisingly, Rusty did very well. He was the last dog to be taken off the vehicle and carried into the shelter.

Because of how Rusty behaved, the humane society was convinced he had been blind for most of his life. Staff and volunteers were instructed to approach him carefully to not startle him, but the dog was very comfortable with everyone he encountered.

Slowly, they allowed Rusty to have longer walks around the shelter. Then, one of their volunteers started bringing him to a nearby park. After several visits, the volunteer noted an interaction Rusty had with another small dog at the pal.

The dog’s owner shared that his pet had always been eager to meet other dogs but became fearful and jumped away. However, his interaction with the blind dog was the opposite.

“They sniffed around each other and Rusty’s calmness and gentle demeanor put the other dog at ease. After this interaction, the volunteer noted that a home with another dog might be a good adoption for Rusty,” said Frennier.

After Rusty’s surgery, the shelter expected it would take him a while to get adopted. But thankfully, the Chulack family took him in just three weeks after his operation!

In the Chulacks’ home, Rusty has gained two chihuahua siblings named Bella and Chalupa and a cat named Tarzan.

Rusty has his own bed that he sleeps in most of the night and a good part of the day. He loves getting treats and gets excited when the Chulacks’ grandkids come to visit.

Rusty’s family promised that “even if he only has one more year, we’ll make it a great one.”

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