Rufio (fka Sparky)

Hi there,

It’s been many years since I adopted Rufio (his name before was Sparky) from Muttville back in October of 2014 when he was already 10 years old, and I am very sad to say he unfortunately passed away this past October 1st of 2021. I would have contacted and shared his story sooner, but I’ve been very depressed for months grieving his loss. In January of 2021 his vet found a tumor on his spleen and gave him only about 3 months, but I made sure we tried every treatment and medication we could (outside of surgery due to his old age and anesthesia being a high risk for fatality) and did everything I could to make him more comfortable. He ended up living almost a full year since the diagnosis and was a very happy and sweet boy up until the end at the ripe old age of 17.

Rufio (fka Sparky)

I just wanted to share a bit of his story to encourage more people to adopt senior dogs! I’ve been living in Los Angeles for 7 years now, so I’m no longer local, but I’d love to help show how amazing it can be to care for one of the senior dogs you help find forever homes.

Here’s his story:

Back in 2014, I was looking to adopt a dog and came across Sparky at Muttsville. He was a sweet, yet very timid, underweight little black Pomeranian with a white sock and an unmistakable crooked lower canine tooth that stuck out so adorably, he later became known by this signature snaggle tooth! Unfortunately I could tell he had been severely abused and had a hard life before he came to Muttville as he had some immediate health concerns and very cautious, fearful demeanor most of the time. My family would rescue greyhounds from the track when I was a kid, so I knew one of the first and best things to do for an abused dog is to give them a new name so they can leave all of the negativity associated with their old one in the past. I had so much love for this sweet boy, so I adopted him and that’s how Sparky became my Rufio.

I’ve worked from home for a decade, so since the moment I brought him home we spent every day together and I gave him all the love, care and attention he had been missing. It took a long time, lots of gentle training and positive reinforcement, but eventually Rufio’s fear melted away and he became a calm, confident little bear just happy to have a loving home and endless love and affection from me and anyone he would meet. He traveled with me to different events and conventions for my work as an influencer, but he was always the star of the show. People would send me fan art of him and he even had his adorable snaggletooth face on some t-shirts! But most importantly, he was my best friend and always there to love me unconditionally as I loved him.

Rufio was still spritely despite getting on in years, so I rescued another dog so he could have a companion. And this time it was a little white and brown female Pomeranian Puppy I named Ravioli. Rufio was gentle and sweet to her from the day they met, I was so glad this new dog could have such an amazing older brother to learn from as Rufio’s personality was just so special and kind. The three of us spent just about every day together for the next 3 years, we went to more events and they didn’t meet a single person who didn’t immediately fall in love with the both of them. When the pandemic started, we didn’t get to go out nearly as much so Rufio became less active.

He was already a very chill dog and a little lazy just being the old boy that he was, but the extended time indoors seemed to finally let his age catch up with him. It was heartbreaking in the beginning of 2021 learning Rufio had a tumor and surgery was too high a risk for him at his age, so We did everything we could to treat him otherwise and make him comfortable. He started struggling to walk and eat, but was still just the sweetest and happiest boy who seemed grateful to just be alive and loved up until his final moments. He ended up far exceeding the life expectancy the vet gave him, and he let me know when he was ready to go while still being a sweet angel.

He finally passed at the ripe old age of 17 on October 1st of 2021 in my arms at home surrounded by loved ones after a day full of treats, cuddles and pets. He has been greatly missed every day since he passed, and even still now months later in May of 2022 – when Ravioli and I come home from a walk, she still immediately sniffs around for him and checks the big fluffy dog bed they would share. I know she always loved him as much as I do.

I am so thankful to Muttsville for the opportunity to give such a sweet little senior dog that had clearly been through hardship a forever home and show him all the love and care he was missing for the remainder of his life. He was so special and changed my life for the better and I’m forever grateful to have known him for the time that I did. Ravioli and I both still need time to heal and grieve, but when we’re ready to share our love again I know it will be to another amazing senior dog who deserves a second chance at a loving and forever home.

This last pic is the last photo of him before the mobile vet came to our home and helped him pass. He couldn’t walk and was relieving himself while just lying there in a blanket on my lap, struggling to take full breaths, but he still showed me love and affection as I held him, gave him kisses and treats and cuddled him up until his very last moments. He was good boy, the best boy.

Thank you for bringing him into my life.

Nati Casanova

Rufio (fka Sparky)
Rufio (fka Sparky)
Rufio (fka Sparky)
Rufio (fka Sparky)
Rufio (fka Sparky)
Rufio (fka Sparky)
Rufio (fka Sparky)
Rufio (fka Sparky)

6/14/22

Are you the proud parent of Muttville dog? Send us your story! Include three of your favorite photos and send it to success_stories@muttville.org with the subject line 'Success Story'.