Rusty arrived at Acadiana Animal Aid on January 30th, and to no ones surprise he found an amazing adopter almost immediately that same day! He was set to join our Colorado transport the following next week to be with them but sadly, Rusty tested positive for heartworms. 

Our heartworm treatment protocol takes roughly 6 to 8 weeks to complete, but Rusty’s family vowed to wait for him. Most dogs get to be with their families while undergoing treatment but Rusty sadly could not. While typically, we avoid adopting heartworm positive dogs out in Colorado because of the extended stay in our care, Rusty’s adopters were chosen prior to us knowing his heartworm status. It was an error on our part that we didn’t feel meant the adopters should suffer. So, Rusty had a family, and even though they were over a thousand miles away we were going to do whatever we could to unite them.

Introducing foster mom extraordinaire: Crystal! Crystal and her family have been avid supporters of AAA ever since they adopted Chaco (the most perfect boy in the world) from us several years ago. We matched her with Rusty in hopes of giving his Colorado family some peace of mind. 

Chaco & Rusty

Foster homes help in more ways than one, and for Rusty that showed. It not only helped set him up for success in a home, but it gave us all the information possible to provide to the adopters so that they knew what to expect. It also made heartworm treatment ten times easier on him, as some dogs feel way more relaxed in a home environment, which is a key requirement during treatment. We knew Rusty was going to be in our care for a minimum of almost 2 months and if not for Crystal, he would have taken up a kennel space which instead could be used for an at risk dog needing our help. Thus, Crystal saved countless lives through her commitment to fostering Rusty!

Towards the end of Rusty’s treatment and our plans of a transport, COVID-19 came barreling in the way. Our operations quickly began to change as we grappled with all that was at stake. Our transport program was shut down due to such high risks and we had no way of getting Rusty to his home. 

Rusty’s adopters, through all of it, were more than understanding. Still, they did not back out from him and knew that he remained safe and in good hands. Crystal and her family were providing the utmost care for Rusty and treating him like their own, without ever a complaint that the foster period was lasting much longer than anticipated. 

On May 9th, Rusty had been in our care for exactly 100 days! For those 100 days he always had a family. In fact, luckier than most, he had TWO families that loved him. On his 100th day Brittney and Cory drove some 15 hours or more to Shreveport, LA to finally meet their dog. Crystal went above and beyond when she offered to drive Rusty the other 3 hours in order to help unite them. 

And that meeting sparked more joy than ever, making the last 3 months of waiting completely worth it! Rusty now had a canine brother named Ollie, the two practically twins, and thanks to Chaco, Rusty knew exactly how to behave with his new best friend. 

We at Acadiana Animal Aid are dedicated to every single adoption, but more importantly we could never achieved this without fosters like Crystal. Below is a sweet message from Rusty’s new mom:

Just getting back in the swing of things after a long road trip to LA. Rusty is settling in well here in Colorado! I just want to thank each and everyone of you who cared for and showed him love while he was with the shelter. Of course an extremely special thank you to Crystal Marie for showing Rusty that Love is still out there for him. I don’t know how you do what you do, but I can’t thank you enough.

– Brittney

While COVID-19 has helped shelters promote the need for fosters, that need does not disappear with the end of the infectious disease. After COVID-19, dogs like Rusty will still need our help. Pledge to become a foster and continue to foster for as long as there are dogs unnecessarily sitting in kennels at the shelter. For Rusty, and every dog who is waiting for their family. 

Thank you Crystal, Brittney and Cory for this inspirational adoption journey!