King of the canine court
On Saturday, crowds of spectators gathered at Hops & Hounds to watch a new Fiesta King dressed in a regal red robe and a crown placed on his beautiful blonde head. No, we’re not talking about King San Antonio. This royal sovereign is of canine confession. “Rusty Ray”, a 7-year-old golden retriever rescue, was named King El Rey Fido XX and, if his wagging tail was any indication, he delighted in all the attention from his subjects. Rusty earned this honor by raising over $7,000 for the San Antonio Humane Society in just three short weeks.
“We started late, but I thought any money we could raise for the Humane Society would be great,” says Edith Henry, who adopted Rusty three years ago. “I cried when I found out he had won.”
The El Rey Fido fundraiser began in 2002 as a “wellness spin” on King El Rey Feo’s existing Fiesta title. Since then, it has morphed into an annual fundraising contest, raising tens of thousands of dollars to help the San Antonio Humane Society care for thousands of homeless dogs and cats in the area each year. It is an organization and a mission that Henry and his husband are committed to supporting. In addition to Rusty, the couple are parents to three other rescue dogs, one of which was from the San Antonio Humane Society.
“I’ve had a passion for animals since I was little,” says Henry, who works as a vet tech and says she believes all dogs deserve a second chance at life, regardless of breed, condition or their history. “My personal opinion is that rescues have more personality and character than herding dogs. They are so loyal and happy to have a forever home.
As for Rusty, he’s enjoying the royal treatment, with a full Fiesta social calendar that includes appearances on local TV shows, parades, events and plenty of photos.
“I loved every part of it, but I didn’t realize how super involved it was,” says Henry, who serves as the dog’s driver during his many engagements. “My favorite part is showing it off, and he loves all the attention. I think he thinks the shows are just for him.
When he’s not fulfilling his royal duties, Rusty can be found playing with his toys, swimming in Canyon Lake, hanging out with his furry siblings, and sleeping between his humans in their bed.
“He doesn’t understand personal space,” Henry laughs.
And although his fundraising efforts have earned him a royal title in the dog field, Henry says it’s Rusty’s personality that makes him a winner.
“He really is the nicest dog in the world,” she exclaims. “He didn’t meet a person or a dog he didn’t like.”
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