Goodbye Rusty Boy

September 20, 2018 at 10:16 AM 18 comments

Bear with me with this particular article. It’s about one of our beloved pets. His name was Rusty and he was born June 3, 2012. We brought him into our home about seventeen weeks after he was born, from a local pet shop. Rusty and I bonded almost right away and that bond remained. If you’re not a pet lover, you may not be able to connect with this article.

My son and I chose him because he had a precocious and inquisitive nature. He was friendly and liked to play. We brought him home and introduced him to our other cats. As with this type of situation it took several weeks for things to gel. Everyone had to find their place in the pecking order so to speak.

Rusty was a real treasure in many ways. It took a long time for us to truly understand his personality and his particular wants/needs. We learned that he hated being inside unless he was sleeping. We really didn’t know what to do because it was not uncommon for him to wake us up at about 4:00 am daily to be let outside. I finally realized we needed to allow the back door to stand ajar so that Rusty could come and go as he pleased whenever he wanted to do so. We had a security/storm door with a cat door in it just outside the inside main door. We could keep the storm door securely locked, but with the inside door ajar, Rusty would be able to come and go without having to wake us. He could get out into the covered patio and through that door that also had a cat door in it. Chances were limited that a wild animal would find their way into our home, especially considering that our backyard was fenced in with a chain link fence.

Once Rusty had trained us to understand that he needed to come and go as he wished, life became far more settled. We live in the country on several acres on a dirt road, so we thought things were relatively safe for him. We thought he would stay well away from that road because there were plenty of woods near and behind our home that he could explore and we knew he was afraid of cars. The problem is that cats will go wherever their nose and curiosity lead them. It’s probably good we did not know all the places he went and all the trouble he could’ve gotten himself into.

It was a bit worrying for me when we did go away (even when we had someone house sit for us to care for our pets). Looking back, I did not realize how much worrying I had been doing actually; how much of my heart Rusty had taken up. I now realize that I did not really look forward to going on vacations or short trips because part of my heart was always back at home, centered mainly on Rusty. The other cats (and our chickens), were not nearly as worrying. They didn’t really like going outside that much. Rusty seemed to believe that he was in charge of patrolling the area and keeping things safe for us.

Rusty would often follow wherever his curiosity would take him. He enjoyed searching things out, whether they were lizards, birds, frogs, or what have you. These became “gifts” to us and were often brought in the house where they would be released. We developed quite a skill for trapping animals he brought in and removing them to the outside.

He was so attached to us (and we to him), that he did not like it when we left even if it was just for the day. He’d “meow” as we left and be waiting for us outside when we returned home. Didn’t matter if we had simply gone to the store or had gone to a theatrical production, bringing us home late at night. He’d always be there when we arrived.

Even though there were wild animals in the area – foxes, armadillos, skunks, bobcats, coyotes and a variety of deadly snakes – as well as plenty of dogs that owners allowed to roam, we generally felt that Rusty was smart enough to stay away. We knew he was afraid of vehicles so that made us believe he would also stay away from the road. But really, who knew since we didn’t see him for hours each day? He would sometimes go into the woods and be gone for quite some time, always eventually returning home, but often from a different direction.

Yesterday morning was different. Normally, when we get up, Rusty will come in from outside to see us. We normally feed him and the other cats some wet cat food as well, which they all gobble up. He’d jump up and lie right next to us or on our legs as we did our daily devotional Bible reading. Rusty would then “knead” with his tongue sticking out. He was a real lover boy; just really enjoyed being around us and we him.

After rising yesterday morning, I didn’t see Rusty like normal. My wife told me that he had been up and had eaten wet food, then went out, presumably on his “rounds.” I didn’t think too much of it because there were days when we wouldn’t see him right away but eventually he’d be along.

At about 8:15, one of our neighbors came by and said we needed to see something. As we walked out toward the road, he said our cat, Rusty, had been hit by a car. As we got to the end of our driveway, I looked and there he was, sprawled out on his side. He’d almost made it across the road to the safety of our home but was struck down by a vehicle, which apparently rolled over his head. It was obviously a smaller vehicle because the damage did not appear severe. Nonetheless, he was dead. When I picked him up, he was still warm so it could not have happened much before that time.

As I gently picked him up I also realized that his death had probably been instantaneous, fortunately. My wife and I were deeply saddened about Rusty’s death as anyone who has ever had any pet in their home would understand. Rusty was just over six years old when he was struck down.

It tends to numb you a bit; the death of a beloved pet. They’re there one day and gone the next. It’s frustrating in so many ways because that pet had been part of daily life and now they were simply gone, nothing but memories. No chance to say goodbye, no last chance to interact. They’re just gone. The other pets don’t understand what’s happened. Their furry friend is gone and won’t be back and they cannot understand that.

As I went through the difficult day yesterday wondering why Rusty was taken now, eventually the thought came to me that God was in control. There was purpose in His will even for Rusty’s death.

Two days ago, the day before Rusty died, I recall experiencing an overwhelming sense of feeling trapped. That feeling had been solidly there for some time and had been growing. I felt increasingly like I could not leave our home. It wasn’t necessarily agoraphobia. I didn’t mind being out, but my heart was always pulling me back home. It was frustrating and somewhat debilitating.

As I mowed our back lawn, I called out to God telling Him that He and only He could actually help me through this. What could I do? At that point, I did not understand what had caused it but I knew I was powerless to change my attitude or character. In fact, that is clearly His job. My job was to submit to Him in all things so that He can do what He wants to do in and through me (Romans 8:7; Ephesians 5:21; James 4:7, etc.).

I realized because of how I felt, it was very difficult to go away from home and feel “free” to really enjoy things whether it’s family or just a vacation. It was only after Rusty’s death did I realize that the bond that he and I had was very strong and because of it, I felt very responsible for him and his well-being, even when I could not be with him 100% of the time and could not control his life even when I was there. The worry was always there.

When we were away, part of me remained at the house because of Rusty. Where was he? Was he safe? Was he okay? Did a dog chase him up a tree? Is a rattler coiled ready to attack? Is he getting into it with a possum or raccoon? Is he stuck in a hole that he thought would be fun to explore?

As my wife and I went through the day yesterday, a thought dawned that made sense. The thought was that Rusty, because our bond was so strong, literally kept me “house bound.” I was never truly free to go away and be in that moment away from home. Part of my mind/heart was always back home, wondering, worrying, fretting. It was not good at all.

I voiced my thought to my wife. I told her that very likely, one main reason God took Rusty was due to how I had prayed the day before. My heart’s cry to God had been real. It was a cry for help. It was an effort on my part to call God to do what could be done to remove the feelings of being trapped. Little did I know that God, in His wisdom and counsel, would remove the cat I dearly loved, a cat who seemed to understand me quite well and me him.

I realized that even though Rusty was gone, my heart, though saddened, was actually now freed up from worrying about him. There was no further need to worry about Rusty anymore. I knew again how much God loved me and how willing He was to do a hard thing (to me), because of the growth that could result from it.

I went to bed last night grieving for Rusty. We will no longer hear him make his unique sound whenever he jumps onto or off of something. We will never hear him “meow” in only the way he can. He will never drink us in with his look. I will never be able to pick him and he will never jump up onto my lap and knead.

God could have done this any number of ways. We believed that Rusty would be the first of our cats to go simply because of the way he chose to live. Being outdoors was his life and even there, I could see that look of boredom on his face at times, which prompted him to push himself to find something to satiate that boredom. It drove his curiosity and eventually killed him.

Because of all the things that could have killed Rusty, God blessed us with the knowledge that Rusty was likely killed instantly and right in front of our home. We didn’t have to experience the additional pain of not knowing. He was not attacked and carried off by a coyote, fox or bobcat. He did not fall into a hole from which he could not extricate himself. He didn’t just wander off. He was instantly killed mercifully by the tire of a vehicle as he tried to run home to his safe place. When we got to Rusty, he was still warm.

We buried Rusty underneath the small windmill in one of our front gardens. It was a place he liked to hang out when my wife weeded and worked on that flower garden. There were times when we would work in the vegetable garden where he would simply lay down and watch us as well…until something in the distance caught his attention that he needed to check out.

Rusty was a one in a million. But God knew Rusty had too much of my heart and the key to being free from that unlikely “tyranny” was to remove Rusty. God did it in a way that brought death instantly to Rusty and allowed us to take his body, wrap it and bury it. He wasn’t eaten by God’s clean-up crew. He wasn’t mangled beyond recognition. Rusty died as he lived, with vigor and purpose.

Folks, if you are holding something too close to your heart, it may be that you will become bound by it. If that happens, because God loves you, He may choose to remove whatever it is that holds your heart to that degree and He has every right to do so.

Though I went to bed grieving over Rusty, I also fell asleep praising His holy Name because His ways are best. I praised Him that He allowed Rusty to die quickly, likely painlessly. I praised Him that He took Rusty in front of our home and not miles away. I praised Him because Rusty didn’t just wander off never to be seen again. I praised Him because He answers prayer.

With Rusty’s death, God has begun freeing me from the tyranny of feeling house bound. I did not realize how bad it had become. Now I understand.

To those who may think this is a big mountain out of nothing, I would ask that you reserve your comments for someone else. For people who have and love pets, it is a very difficult thing to lose them. They become part of the family. They are not “livestock.” These animals interact with us and we with them. They enrich our lives. People who do not have pets simply cannot fully appreciate the benefits of having one.

It is amazing to me how God works at times. He always does what is best for us even when it causes us pain. We all suffer to some degree and we do so because of sin in the world and the resultant curse that God placed over the Creation because of the sin that entered this world through the willful rebellion of our first parents. It is that sin that passes to each of us that has created death (Romans 5:12-21).

While death is the last enemy that God will destroy (1 Corinthians 5:26), it is a mixed blessing for us because of our sin nature. Without death, we would never pass from this life to eternity. We would never have our sin nature surgically removed from us. Without death, we would not understand our need for eternal life.

In the meantime, we deal with the repercussions of sin on and in this world. Few of those repercussions ever feel that good at all. In fact, they often bring us to tears.

Rusty is gone. Only his memories live and the few videos we have of him. In life, Rusty was an intelligent force to be reckoned with and his death has freed me from feeling so trapped and house bound. As much as I miss Rusty and grieve for him in his absence, I now realize how much freer my heart can be.

We must walk where God would have us walk. We must empty our hearts of the things that have too big a grasp on us. Whether it’s a pet, social media, TV, a hobby, or even a person, we must learn to put everything into proper perspective. We must also learn to allow God to work in our lives for our betterment and for His glory. We must. There are too many things in this world that can and often succeed in pulling our attention from God. Sometimes, because of it, God has to perform drastic and even painful surgery on us. Let Him.

May His Name be praised forever!

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, eternity, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , , .

Daniel Chapter 11, Part 1 Daniel 11, Part 2

18 Comments

  • 1. Dale' Darnell  |  September 25, 2018 at 11:09 AM

    Sooo sorry about Rusty….. I am praying for you🙏💞…. Sometimes we don’t understand why God does things….we must have Faith no matter what….💝
    A couple of years ago….the Lord took my Horse ( who was like my big dog) I actually birthed him…he heard my voice before he heard his own mother’s.
    We had 21 wonderful years of training and love ….he was my endurance partner for 15 years. I could be jogging down a trail and he would never leave my side. And I would never be holding his reins.

    I was developing some knee issues…at that time I did not know how severe it was going to be for the next 2 years

    God had a different plan…He knew that it was going to be impossible to take care of my horse the way that I normally would.
    So one Sunday evening we had a terrible thunderstorm….lightning all around.

    Well…. The Lord took my Pumpkin that night with a lightning bolt….He felt no pain😪😔🙏🐎…..It broke my heart 💔

    But looking back now…I understand that God knew…

    Always Trust in our Lord….He knows what is best for us!!!

    Praise God !!! 💒🙏🤗💝

    • 2. modres  |  September 25, 2018 at 11:11 AM

      Thanks so much for sharing, Dale! I have to believe Rusty is in cat heaven. We benefit so much from animals in God’s Creation.😎

  • 3. David Moody  |  September 21, 2018 at 10:13 AM

    I understand, brother. I have a fur baby at home myself.

    • 4. modres  |  September 21, 2018 at 10:23 AM

      Thanks you, David. Our lives are often more enriched because of them.

  • 5. Charles Huss  |  September 20, 2018 at 5:18 PM

    I am so sorry for your loss. That is a terrible way to find your boy. We lost a cat too this year that was born in 2012 as well. Our Puck had a urinary blockage. We brought him to the vet who gave us a treatment plan and said he would have to stay there overnight. An hour later they called and said his heart stopped and they were doing CPR. He didn’t make it. I can’t help but think they were too slow in starting his treatment.

    • 6. modres  |  September 20, 2018 at 5:23 PM

      Hi Charles, I recall you had an orange tabby. I knew you could relate. It’s always difficult losing a pet. Time heals but they’re never forgotten.

      • 7. Charles Huss  |  September 20, 2018 at 5:50 PM

        Yes, I can relate and I feel so bad for you. Our orange tabby, Chris, is still with us, fortunately. Our Puck was a black cat.

      • 8. modres  |  September 20, 2018 at 5:53 PM

        I’m glad Chris is still with you. We had another orange tabby who lived to be 22.

      • 9. Charles Huss  |  September 20, 2018 at 7:10 PM

        Wow. That is old. Hopefully Chris will come close to that.

      • 10. modres  |  September 20, 2018 at 7:23 PM

        Here’s hoping👍🏼

  • 11. Scholar of Decline (@infocyde)  |  September 20, 2018 at 1:44 PM

    I am sorry for your loss. It is always hard when they go.

    • 12. modres  |  September 20, 2018 at 2:14 PM

      It is, yes. Thank you.

  • 13. 2trickpony  |  September 20, 2018 at 12:25 PM

    Very sorry for your loss. I still pray that somehow God has made previsions that we will see are beloved pets in heaven.
    Kurt

    • 14. modres  |  September 20, 2018 at 12:46 PM

      Wouldn’t that be awesome?😎

  • 15. Maranatha Today  |  September 20, 2018 at 11:19 AM

    Sorry for your loss. You are right in what you wrote and I pray others will understand that things can become ‘idols’ without them realising and that is wrong. Thanks for being so candid. Blessings.

    • 16. modres  |  September 20, 2018 at 12:45 PM

      Thank you.

  • 17. Glenn E. Chatfield  |  September 20, 2018 at 10:51 AM

    I fully understand about the loss of a very beloved pet, especially when they seem to have been a special gift from the Lord — that “one in a million” pet.

    We’ve had 11 cats in the 42+ years we’ve been married (with the oldest living 22 years), but #9, our Autumn Grace, was the one we lost last year (which led us to pick up #10 and 11).

    Autumn was the hardest one of all to lose because she was indeed that “one in a million” who was a gift to us from God when she was six weeks old. Her personality was unlike any cat we ever had and she was a very loving pet. At 14 years, 10 months old, she got a bowel obstruction with serious complications and we had to let her go. We still miss her so very much — she left a very, very big hole in this house!

    Nine years ago my wife wrote an article about Autumn and how we got her; it was a testimony about prayer which she used to encourage other believers. You and your readers may find it encouraging:
    https://fromthepiperswife.blogspot.com/2009/11/gods-kind-mercies-christmas-tree-lights_28.html

    • 18. modres  |  September 20, 2018 at 12:50 PM

      Thanks so much, Glenn. I will read your wife’s article.


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