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

Three weeks after his surgery, a beagle who had both of his eyes removed was reunited with his forever family.

Rusty suffered from Posterior Lens luxation. This is a condition where the support ligaments of his lenses weaken and cause them to move out of their normal position and fall backwards 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). He was left with no eyes and his eyelids sewed up.

Humane Animal Rescue Pittsburgh

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.

He was a blind senior dog, and rescuers were concerned about his future and finding a family. He was saved by Darrell Chulack, his family and his friends.

“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 to me and began to lick my fingers. His tail was wagging. He actually melted my heart.”

A light brown beagle named Rusty
Humane Animal Rescue Pittsburgh

Rusty was getting ready to go for his evening walk when Darrell, his family, came to visit. He said that he was overcome with emotion when he saw Rusty in his kennel.

Darrell sat down on the ground with Rusty and Rusty for 15 mins when the dog entered the room with him. The sweet pup stayed close to his side.

Darrell officially adopted 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 with the Chulack family
Humane Animal Rescue Pittsburgh

“Rusty came from one of our biggest partners, Humane Society of Parkersburg,” Frennier said. Rusty came to them as an unwanted stray. Although Rusty was loved by the staff, after spending about a month at HSP there was no interest from anyone to adopt him. Their staff felt Rusty might have a better opportunity to find a new family through HARP.”

Initial concerns were raised about how a blind canine would handle the trip in unfamiliar surroundings. Surprisingly Rusty did well. He was the last to be taken out of the vehicle and carried into shelter.

The humane society believed Rusty had been blind all his life due to the way he behaved. Although staff and volunteers were instructed not to startle him, Rusty was very comfortable with all who he met.

Slowly, Rusty was allowed to take longer walks around the shelter. The volunteers began to take Rusty to a nearby dog park. After several visits, the volunteer noticed that Rusty was having an interaction with a small dog at the pal.

Rusty standing over his new dog bed
Humane Animal Rescue Pittsburgh

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 was opposite with the blind dog.

“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. The Chulack family adopted Rusty in just three weeks.

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

Rusty has a bed that he uses for most of the night, and for a large portion 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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