Lennie asks whose fault is it?

Published 7:36 pm Thursday, March 6, 2014

Editor’s note: The North Carolina Press Association awarded Lennie Rizzo’s Special Cases column titled “Whose fault is it?” first place in the state competition for serious columns.
Bulletin publisher Betty Ramsey enthusiastically accepted this and other awards Thursday, Feb. 27 in Raleigh, N.C.

Last Friday at the vets’ office I was asked to come and look at a dog. The owners were asked if I could look at the dog and they said okay.
I gazed at this 5-month-old Boxer and began shaking with anger, pity and frustration.
What I saw before me was a young Boxer covered with demodex mange.
His body was full of scabs and sores and his paws were all bloody and swollen to twice the normal size. He couldn’t even figure out how to lie down without discomfort and pain. I don’t know how to process the kind of thinking that would allow such a thing to happen.
I received the phone number and called the owners, offering to pay all expenses for whatever it took to make him whole and happy again, if they would turn him over to me.
I was told the Boxer contracted the mange while they were on a three-day trip and a friend was watching him.
I was also told the vets had given them antibiotics and his condition occurred rapidly.
Keeping my calm I said, “If you love him at all, please let me have him, I promise he’ll have the best life possible.”
“I’ll ask my wife,” I was told by the gentleman, “and I’ll let you know tomorrow.”
There was nothing I could do then but pray, which I did with all my might.
My wife had asked me the day before why I was crying in church. All I could think of was that this poor boy doesn’t know any better, he thinks that this is how life is supposed to be. He’s very sweet and will attempt the Boxer wiggle for the least bit of attention, but this is not because of its owners, it is in spite of them. There ought to be laws against such things happening and if there are, let’s find a way to enforce them better.
No matter what the circumstances, this puppy should have been cared for sooner, but all I heard were excuses.
“He’s an outside dog,” whatever the heck that means.
I think of two people in charge of watching a puppy, and somehow it escapes and falls into a pool. The two people stand there and argue about whose fault it was while the puppy drowns. If you think that’s a bit harsh, welcome to my world.
On Monday evening, I received a call from the Boxer’s owners. They were going to pay for his medicine and care for him at home, and they would pick him up on Tuesday.
I was also told that a new shelter was being built for him.
There wasn’t anything I could do, so I asked if I could visit him in a few weeks to see how he’s doing.
“No problem,” I was told, “come any time.”
On Tuesday morning, I went to visit and pray for him because I couldn’t make my usual promise that all will be alright. I learned at that time that his owners were offended that I had interfered on how they should care for their dog.
Isn’t that typical?
I hope that someone who has authority reads this and makes a visit themselves or with me. I also hope I’m made the fool and the dog in question becomes a happy and healthy companion in his owners’ hands.
Thanks for listening.

This photo shows the boxer’s paws and other body parts bleeding from sores caused by mange. (photo by Lennie Rizzo)

This photo shows the boxer’s paws and other body parts bleeding from sores caused by mange. (photo by Lennie Rizzo)

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