Rusty James, retired police officer and chronic dog rescuer

Back in the days when Rusty James was in the police force, he enjoyed answering animal-related calls. James has a soft spot for all animals, especially dogs.

For almost a decade, he and his (soon to be ex) wife, Caprice James, have rescued dogs – mostly Boxer breeds – from abusive homes, puppy factories and abandoned buildings, including stray dogs stuck in dangerously hot or cold temperatures. .

They posted books on the coffee table with pictures of their rescue dogs. They have probably rescued and transported countless dogs and adopted up to 20. They usually take in old dogs to give them a good home for the years that remain to them.

Often times people call him when they need someone to save a dog. He has strong relationships with several animal organizations and services, including the Independence Animal Hospital and the Amos Family Pet Crematory.

A native of Kansas City, Kansas, James graduated in 1974 from Turner High and is now retired after 30 years in law enforcement. He spent 24 years of his career with the Lenexa Police Department. Most of his professional experience is in law enforcement and road safety.

Apart from rescue dogs, he enjoys target practice and hunting. He lives in Shawnee with his friend and roommate Rob Sanderson, a retired officer from the Lenexa Police Department, rescue dogs Charlie and Paco, and cats Marco and McKenzie.

I believe things happen for a reason.

After a while, Caprice wanted a dog, so she found Abby in Animal Haven. She said I want you to look at this dog, so I went downstairs and looked at the dog, and I said, Caprice, this dog is a mess. We both work, we don’t have time for a dog like that, this dog is going to require a lot of work, we are going to find the right dog. She said, yeah you’re probably right.

The next day she adopted her and we had no problem with her. He was the perfect dog.

And then Great Plains called us about another dog. So we went to get Winston, and we think he was one of Abby’s puppies – Abby was a puppy mill dog – and Winston was a great dog, he was like the perfect dog.

Then we found Ruth. Ruth was an older dog at Great Plains in Independence, and we went to pick her up. At that time, I was addicted. It’s not like I have a choice; we adopted dogs (laughs).

And then, Caprice wanted a puppy, so we had Grace, and she was a great dog. And Maggie ran past us on a freeway, so we picked her up, took her, picked her up, nobody claimed her so we got her.

She was messy, she wasn’t that big. And we’ve worked with Woofs here in Merriam, Shelly has always taken care of the dogs we’ve had by grooming and cleaning them. Because these dogs are such a mess.

I will miss a lot of dogs…. Then we got a call again from Great Plains about a dog coming in from Emporia that had been confiscated by police on warrant, weighed 35 pounds, had tumors on him, he had never been treated, he was a Boxer, about 12 years old. His name is Reno. So I went to get him.

When they did the operation to sterilize him and remove the tumors, he cut up an 11-inch dinosaur that was in his stomach. The dog ate all he could to stay alive. I brought him to a good weight, he must be around 75 pounds.

I took Reno to Emporia for animal control so they could see the dog they had taken, because I would talk to them every now and then, and they said normally a dog that comes like that, they would shoot him because he was in such poor physical condition, but they said in his eyes that there was so much life.

We had it about nine months and apparently had a brain tumor and lost it.

James has published a few coffee table books featuring his family’s rescue dogs.

When my stepson got married, we boarded the dogs in Odessa. We came back to get them and Surelee was there. I said to the lady who owns it, that it is a great dog. I don’t know the case, but the owner was paying for her to live at the boarding school. And I said we’ll take the dog.

I had Surelee until last year, and she passed away last July, she had a seizure. This is not unusual with the Boxers.

I had been dogless for about two weeks, and as soon as they found out you didn’t have a dog, at least with me, they started calling me. They sent me information about a blind and deaf Boxer who was in Missouri, 10 years old, the owner couldn’t care for her anymore.

A week later they said they hadn’t found a home for this dog her name was Pearl so I called the owner. She was disabled and had to move out, so I met her in Columbia, and took the dog, checked her. She loved being here, everyone knew her. I had her about four months and then she died. She also had a seizure.

So I was dogless for, oh, about a month, and a friend that I went to school with in Turner that I hadn’t seen since I graduated, she had this picture of it. dog in a field in Carroll County, Missouri. He had wandered into a farm the day my father died, January 28 of this year.

I said it was 10 degrees outside, he’s not an outdoor dog, he’s a boxer. I was just going to take her to the rescue, because I could find her a home. I just didn’t think I was ready for another dog, and went to get him.

Charlie is named after James’ father, a former police chief.

There was no way I was going to get rid of him, he was the perfect dog, and I named him after my father, Charlie.

Another big part of the story is that my dad was a police chief in Arkansas, and the kids on the farm I got him from – that was before I even told them about anything. either when I was picking it up – the owner said well I don’t know what you want to call him, but my kids want to call him chef.

It’s like it’s weird; how is this thing going? My father was a chef and I had already decided to give it my father’s name. And like Pearl, Pearl came to me when I needed her the most, at the start of the divorce case. And I lost Surelee at the same time. Someone is watching me. Someone’s taking care of me.

Charlie was the perfect dog. He is very sociable, he gets along with everyone. He loves to drive the truck. He was just an exceptional companion. He gets along with my cats. This is the kind of dog you want to have. You can see his temper, like that, and that’s exactly how he was when I got him.

People ask me all the time, how do you do that, because you know you’re gonna lose them? I only take older dogs, I do not keep young dogs.

I don’t know what their life was like before, but I know how it will end. They will be very well taken care of, they will live the good life.

I cook for this dog. He eats well. He’s my mate. I try to take her wherever I can.

Along with the dogs I have had that I have lost, I have a shelf at home literally of their urns, all of their ashes. I bring them here to the Amos family funeral home, they cremate them for me, I keep them.

These are some of the most worthy animals I’ve ever seen, and I’ll make sure this is how it ends.

Rescue animals are the best. They know they have been saved. They can tell.

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