‘They love you unconditionally’; Bombers’ John Rush on his unbreakable bond with his shelter dog, Bone

John Rush and his dog, Bone, are a photogenic duo. .
John Rush and his dog, Bone, are a photogenic duo. . John Rush/Twitter

John Rush doesn’t see a lot of action on the field with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

In two seasons in Blue and Gold, the Niagara Falls, Ontario native has recorded seven special teams tackles.

But the 25-year-old is returning to Winnipeg, signing a two-year extension Friday, the latest development in what has been a busy offseason.

Rush’s social media feed has been very popular since he adopted a shelter dog named Bonne Homme (Bone for short) after the season ended.

“He’s a great dog, I adopted him from a shelter in Hamilton a little over a month ago now,” Rush said on the CJOB Sports Show Friday.

“He got abandoned for being too big. The craziest part is, he’s only 11 months and he’s still growing. He’s got another 40 pounds to gain still.”

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Bone is a Great Pyrenees pup, and Rush is head-over-heels in love with him.

“He’s a great dog. He’s calm. We’re putting him through training right now to be a hospital dog. We’re going to go visit hospitals in Toronto and Winnipeg, which is amazing. He’s just an all-around great dog and I’m really happy to have him.”

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Rush and Bone will be heading out on an RV tour of Canadian shelters later this year, with Bone serving as a therapy dog for other dogs.

Around the house, Bone runs the show. He takes up most of the space on Rush’s king-sized bed. But dogs have always taken up a lot of space in Rush’s heart.

“I adopted my first dog when I was nine. Dogs have been my best friend. They have this youthful enthusiasm to them about life. They’re always so happy about everything. If you’re excited, they’re excited. If you’re sad, they’re right there to support you,” Rush explained.

“They love you unconditionally. I think a lot of people tend to lose that enthusiasm and that caring and loving for each other in life. I love how dogs represent that.”

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Rush pointed to how his life has been enriched by dogs as the reason he advocates for and volunteers at shelters. As for training Bone to be a hospital dog, Rush said that wasn’t a tough decision.

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“He’s so good with everyone, he loves meeting new people, especially kids. He goes up and licks their face,” Rush explained.

“When I was nine, there was nothing more I wanted to be around than dogs, so I figured if I could train him to go to these hospitals, it could help brighten these kids’ days.”

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Rush also made the decision at the start of 2018 to become a vegan, which he admitted was tough at first but now, he feels better than ever.

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“Plenty of people ask me how I get enough protein, how I do it, steak is so delicious. I get it, it’s not like I just forgot how good it tastes. It’s just crazy how much better my body feels being vegan and living this lifestyle.”

But just because there isn’t any meat on the table doesn’t mean Bone isn’t still prowling for scraps.

“He loves cruising the counters, seeing if he can pull anything off, and he’s basically as tall as it, too. He’s at surface level, just looking right at it.”