Rusty, the beautiful friendly collie that greeted visitors for the past decade at Rusty's Discount Pet Center, died last week in his sleep.
He especially loved kids, and didn't seem to mind people calling him "Lassie" because he looked so much like the TV and movie dog.
Rusty was a Rough Coated Collie (also known as a Long Haired Collie) and would have turned 10 on Nov. 5.
According to the store owner Terry Wainscott, "Rusty passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 9, unexpectedly, in his sleep. He left behind so many wonderful memories in his short nine years here on Earth. Memories that will last me and his many adoring fans a lifetime."
At the store, in the corner near the entrance where Rusty always sat, there's a display now with a note from Wainscott, which reads: "Rusty touched the hearts of all who got the opportunity to meet him and to experience his amazing display of absolute and unconditional love for all. It was as if he were an angel sent from Heaven to shine as a Beacon of Pure Love."
Rusty is actually Rusty Jr. as far as the store's mascot. Before that, Rusty Dr. was a Sheltie (no relation), who was the dog that greeted customers when it opened in 1987 in Studio City. You'll be able to see Rusty Jr. and Rusty Sr. in all the promotions that continue on in the store. At the moment, employees say, there's no Rusty III. Not yet, anyway.
The last time Rusty was out in public was at the Ovarian Cancer Walk, with a whole team of supporters. (See photos and videos in the gallery above.) Barbara Krause of the Ovarian Cancer Walk organization, wrote in a memorial: "Wonderful Rusty…I am so happy that you were able to lead your team at September’s Ovarian Cancer Coalition Run/Walk and that an article about all of you was in the Studio City Patch. Rest in peace."
A star was named after Rusty, and there's a message board as well as a sky map of Rusty's star. Go to: https://stars.osr.org/rusty
Some of the messages include:
Rusty was such a beautiful and zen-like presence. He will be so missed at the store but nice to know his star will be shining above.
Posted by Jane
I love you Rusty and will miss seeing your big smile every time I come to shop and attend your wonderful fun functions. You are in my heart forever. Love you Rusty
Posted by Dawn
Rusty you will be greatly missed. My little pugs and I will me seeing you at the store especially during the holidays. God bless and rest in peace.
Posted by Melanie
Rusty, So Handsome you were, it brought a tear to my eye hearing of your passing. I lost my Lucky recently, probably about the same age and I hope the two of you will meet up. What beautiful friends you would make. Judie
Posted by Judie Mallen
I saw you just last week and you came over to allow me to pet you, which was always my pleasure. You were polite, sweet, and regal as always. You seemed so healthy. I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep from crying the next time I’m in the store and you’re not there. You will be sorely missed. Love, Paula
Posted by Paula Glickstein
At their usual Halloween Costume Contest (the 18th annual), there will be a Special Rusty Tribute. The festivities are on Friday, Oct. 26 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and prizes are $500, $250 and $125. There are raffles, free photos and gifts, food and more.
Adds Wainscott, "I will miss Rusty so very much. But I can now look to the Heavens and see him shining bright for all to see. Rusty touched the hearts and souls of so many here in the Valley. Now he can do the same for others around the world."
Please add your favorite photo of Rusty to the gallery above.