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In Loving Memory of Dusty



We met Dusty at the annual Georgia Society of Orthotists and Prosthetists educational meeting. She was there with Russ Hornfisher who works for Becker Orthopedic and was an exhibitor and presenter at the meeting. Russ and his wife, Bonnie, had three golden retrievers, and they were fostering Dusty.

Much of her story is missing, but this is the best account we have been able to put together. Dusty was neglected by her original owners in Ohio. She and another dog, thought to be from her litter, were left without attention in their yard. A neighbor complained about their condition and Animal Control issued a warning to correct the situation to the owners.

When Animal Control returned 30 days later, conditions had worsened. Something had got wrapped around Dusty’s right front leg and it was severely injured. She couldn’t put any weight on it. She had heart worms, intestinal worms, and was missing lots of hair. Animal Control took both dogs and the owners did some time in jail. The golden retriever rescue society took over the rehab for Dusty. Because she couldn’t put weight on it, they tried physical therapy in the water, but the leg was so weakened that it broke and it had to be amputated.

After the surgery, the rescue society contacted Russ and Bonnie because of their other regularly fostered dogs within their “pack.” Dusty spent the first week in their garage because she was so weak that she could only take a couple steps before lying down and resting. The veterinarian thought that she was a lost cause and that she may not survive. However, Dusty gradually got stronger and healthier.

After a couple failed adoption attempts, Russ decided he would keep her. So he and Bonnie adopted her themselves. We didn’t know this story at the time we met her. The conference was about one year after her surgery. Dusty was over her heart worms and intestinal worms, her coat had grown back in, and she was a great dog.

We took drove up to Knoxville to visit Dusty at their home. Russ and Bonnie were planning a trip for a long weekend so we arranged to have a visit and Dusty stayed at our home during the trip. She never left. We completed the adoption paperwork and she was our “therapy dog” since 2009.