We got home Rufus July 1, 1990 when he was about 6 months to a year old. Rufus had been abandon and abused. He was very lucky to meet my step dad, Glen. My stepdad had seen him at the lake that he often went to. He saw that the dog was in very poor shape and decided that he would take him home. Rufus was so skinny and sick that he could hardly stand up. He got him home quite late and went in to tell my mother that he got her a puppy and she better come and see. She went out on the deck, took one look at Rufus and said "That ain't no dang, puppy! And we ain't keeping him!". She was also worried that the dog would try and hurt our cats. She didn't need to worry about that! Rufus loved cats! That week I was at my grandmothers and didn't actually see Rufus for a little while. When I got home Rufus was tied up so that he could go in and out of the garage. I saw him and just fell in love. It wasn't long until one night I convinced my mother that Rufus should spend the night in my room. Rufus slept on the bed with me that night and he never, ever spent the night outside again. He became a house dog. After a few weeks my mother would FREAK if someone forgot him outside to long. She soon loved him as much as we all did.
Poor Rufus had been so abused that if you raised your hand towards him he would lay on the ground and pee. And for some reason women were the worst. He was terrified of my mother. If you even just raised your voice a bit he would nearly have a heart attack. It took him a long, long time to get over that.
My mother used to get us to go down to the store and get her milk and stuff. We would take the wagon and walk Rufus. One day we got the bright idea to tie the wagon to his collar and get him to pull it. He could pull it just fine with nothing in it, but if you put in weight he would choke. For a few weeks we used a homeade rope harness. The I got some money and went to a pet store and bought him a real dog harness. It was red leather with yellow felt inside. I thought it was beautiful. Then we would tie him to the wagon and lead him with someone in it. He thought this was just great. We would take turns riding and leading. One day my little sister was in the wagon and he saw another dog and bolted. I can still clearly see Amanda in the wagon screaming at the top of her lungs arms waving as he tore across a field. It was so funny. Still makes me smile. Suddenly my sister Shannon and I had a light bulb moment! Maybe he could pull the wagon without someone leading him! And what do you know? He did! Soon he was pulling us all over town. We would get him so worked up that he would run full speed for blocks at a time. It was a great way to travel in out little town. In the winter he would pull the sleigh too! He soon learned "YAAA!" and "Whoa!". I could scream "YAA YAA YAA!" And he would just take off like a bullet and tear down the street. I would yell whoa and he would stop. But there was a problem! He would stop and the wagon or sleigh would keep going! The wagon or sleigh would hit him in the legs. He very quickly learned that if he ran off the side of the road and onto the sidewalk the wagon would hit the curb and stop. Or the sleigh would hit a snowbank and stop. We broke off many many wagon tires doing that. My stepdad was always there to put an old lawn mower tire on for us. He even put on a spare so we could get it changed if we were far from home. Rufus never did learn left and right. He just went where he wanted. Didn't bother us any cause most of the time we didn't have any idea where we wanted to go anyway. Rufus spent most of him younger years pulling my best friends and I around. We added it up once and figured that he had no problem pulling 250lbs of kids!
Another awsome thing that Rufus could do was understand english. He knew pretty much everything a dog would ever need to know plus more. He could find anyone if you asked him too. People quit playing hide'n'go'seek with me because Rufus knew everyones name and would find them for me as I asked him to. Once my sister ran away from home and I asked him to find Shannon and he tracked her across town and led me to a house where she was hiding. If you said to Rufus "Where's the bird?" He would look up into the sky. If you asked him to "Get the bug!" He would eat an ant. If you asked him "Who's there?" he would run to the door and if you said "Other door!" He would run to the back door. He knew the differnce between a gerbil and a rabbit, the couch and the chair, and the backseat of the car and the front seat.
Rufus could also shake a paw and if he gave you his left you could say "No, other paw!" and he would hand you his right. He would also high five you and he could also jump up and high ten you. Rufus could also play dead, sit and stay. We tried forever to get him to roll over, but he just didn't get it. He loved to come to school with us for show'n'tell and put on a show for everyone.
Another thing that Rufus loved to do was go for a run. My step dad would drive out to the country and let him out on a back road. Then he would drive and Rufus would run beside. Rufus just loved to race the car, the faster you went the faster he would run. He always stayed beside the car. There was no danger of hitting him. Often when we went for a drive on any back road Rufus would think he was getting to go and start whining. We would often ask our stepdad if we could go and take Rufus for a run. It wasn't long before he understood the word run and would get excited. We felt bad when we couldn't go and Rufus would have gotten all excited for nothing. So we started spelling it out R-U-N. It wasn't long before he figured that out too! He was SO smart.
There are so many more wonderful thing about Rufus. I could just type forever. I can never type enough to cover it all. He was just so special.
Rufus passed away March 10, 2003. He will be forever missed.