Brenda VanTussenbroek

Brenda VanTussenbroek manages Rusty’s Resale Boutique in Anthem. The store benefits Rusty’s Angels Sanctuary, a senior dog rescue in New River.

Filled with lamps, clothing and jewelry, Rusty’s Resale Boutique is a treasure in Anthem—not only because of its goods but the cause as well. 

The nonconsignment thrift store benefits New River’s Rusty’s Angels Sanctuary, which focuses on adopting out senior dogs ages 10 and older. It also sells small furniture, houseware, home décor, artwork and books. Open since October 2019, the store normally relies on the public to donate items. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, the community really came through. 

“The donations are amazing,” said the boutique’s manager, Brenda VanTussenbroek. “I don’t shop anywhere else. We have name brands here. The community has really come together to help us. 

“A lot of it goes out of the front door because we just put really nice stuff out there. The stuff we can’t use, we pay it forward to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. They come twice a week and pick up the clothing. We actually get paid by the pound for it. None of it goes into the trash.”

A few of the volunteers work with the homeless, so if a backpack or suitcase is donated and Rusty’s Resale Boutique can’t use it, the staff donates it.

The thrift store brings in an average of $2,000 per week for the sanctuary. The Sunday Funday and Putts 4 Pups each brought in $20,000, which allowed the sanctuary to pay $20,000 on the land loan for the new 5-acre parcel next door. 

Founding President Emilee Spear and her volunteers do all they can to adopt out senior dogs. 

“If they are nonadoptable, they live the rest of their lives out at the sanctuary,” VanTussenbroek said. “It’s like they’re in a hospice or nursing home-type atmosphere. It’s quite an amazing place.”

VanTussenbroek became interested in helping Rusty’s through her small business that provides dog houses. She met Spear at an event and introduced herself. VanTussenbroek was hesitant at first about volunteering, although she previously aided a no-kill shelter. 

“I was on the edge because I would be attached to the senior dogs,” said VanTussenbroek, who has six dogs. “Well, once you go out there, it’s amazing. It is truly heaven on earth out there with the pups.”