CHARLESTON, W.Va. - There was no Merry Christmas for Rusty, but shelter officials are still hoping for a Happy New Year.
Rusty is a senior citizen dog that was abandoned by his owner - not what most people consider the perfect new pet. So he's still waiting for a loving retirement home.
"He's in very good health," said Donna Clark, Kanawha Charleston Humane Association director. "His adoption is paid for. But it's hard. No one has inquired about Rusty."
The Labrador mix arrived at the shelter Oct. 22. The person who brought him in said the dog had been wandering in the city. At some point, Rusty must have been loved - he had on a flea collar - but abandoned.
"He needs to go to a retirement home," Clark said. "He needs out of jail."
A slight peppering of gray fur around his muzzle and back are the only signs Rusty isn't a puppy. Tail wagging a mile a minute, the energetic dog greeted a Daily Mail reporter with an inquisitive sniff and without any barking.
Rusty does not have distemper - the scourge that caused shelter employees to appeal to the public to adopt dogs quickly. And while they guess his age by the tartar on his teeth, his actual age is uncertain.
More than 70 dogs found homes over the last few weeks. But not Rusty.
"He's fine. He's been vaccinated twice," Clark said. "He's healthy and there's nothing wrong with him. So we'll wait for that home. He had to have had a family at one time."
Rusty needs an owner who is willing to work with him on his food aggression and he would probably be happiest in a single-pet household.
Four other healthy dogs are also up for adoption - Abe, Rocky, Odie and Moss. Two more are quarantined and being treated with antibiotics.
Clark said the time after the holidays is hard for the shelter even in the best of circumstances.
"It's slowed down very much," she said. "Yesterday wasn't good at all. It's usually slow this time of year. The holidays are over, the kids are going back to school."