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My Dog Rusty

My Dog Rusty(1948)


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While campaigning for the office of mayor of Lawtonville, Hugh Mitchell is distracted by the activities of his young son Danny, who has been telling lies. Danny, a lover of animals who hopes to be a veterinarian when he grows up, runs an amateur dog and cat hospital at his house. With his dog Rusty always at his side, Danny shows off his skills to Dr. Antonia "Toni" Cordell, a new veterinarian in town, and she is so impressed by his devotion that she hires him as her assistant. One day, while helping Toni with mail chores, Danny secretly inserts handbills for his father's election campaign into envelopes containing the announcement of the doctor's arrival in town. When Mayor Fulderwilder, the incumbent in the race, visits Toni to welcome her to Lawtonville, he sees the handbills and accuses both Toni and Danny of using unfair campaign tactics. While a newspaper article about Danny's tactic ignites an election scandal, Toni focuses her attention on the many residents of Lawtonville who have suddenly become stricken with a mysterious illness. Toni eventually comes to suspect that the source of the epidemic is the town's tainted water supply, and to prove this, she collects water samples from the home of every one of her patients. Assigned to keep watch over the water-filled test tubes while Toni is called away, Danny accidentally spills the samples, and then tries to cover up the mishap by filling the test tubes with water from Stinkey Rooney's Duck Pond. When Toni returns to examine the water samples, she is shocked to discover that the water is far more contaminated than she imagined. An immediate health warning is issued as a result, and the residents of Lawtonville are urged to boil their drinking water. A short time later, the townspeople, believing that Mayor Fulderwilder has neglected the health emergency, organize a campaign to remove him from office. Things look bad for the mayor until his campaign manager, Rodney Pyle, discovers that the water came not from the city's water supply, but from Rooney's filthy pond. A second water test is ordered, and the results prove that Lawtonville's water is safe. Fearing his lie will be discovered, Danny runs away from home, and Rusty follows him. He is soon forced to turn back, however, when Rusty is bitten by a snake and requires medical attention. Danny returns home and is surprised when his parents do not scold him. His guilty conscience torments him, however, and he eventually makes a public confession and apology. Although Hugh loses the election, he is satisfied with the knowledge that his son has learned a valuable lesson.