Affairs of the heart

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, June 23, 2016



Forgive me for missing last week’s column. Elaine and I have been busy with doctors, but know this, my kids never get cheated.

I’ve often said that all my decisions may not always be the proper ones, but I follow my heart and my instincts.

Sasha is an 8-year-old English bulldog whose love of life and people are infectious. She greets everyone with her whole body wiggling with excitement; it would take a hard heart not to smile around her. Sasha developed a tumor on her mammary gland and was having trouble walking.

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The sweetest young couple with three young children, another dog and some rescued Po’Kitties called me. “Mr. Rizzo, could you please help us? Sash means the world to us and our children.”

Helping these people and sweet Sasha was a no brainer for me; I only prayed that I could make things better.

The next day we went in to Landrum Vet and met with Dr. Lara. I have a pretty good connection with all the neighborhood vets but I especially like Dr. Lara, she seems to take helping one of my kids personally. No offense to all you other vets; I’m sure you all feel the same way, but Dr. Lara wears her heart on her sleeve.

X-rays were taken for Sasha and blood tests were done on her tumor. We learned that Sasha has dysplasia in both hips and arthritis in her spine. We set an appointment to have her and their other dog spayed on Thursday, two days hence.

As we speak, all dogs have been spayed. Sasha is doing fine on some pain and anti- inflammatory pills, and a new diet. Best of all, her tumor was benign, so with care and the love I know this family has for her, she will give them many more years of joy.

Lani called me about Angel, a Beagle mix at Foothills Humane Society. Angel is a male 6-year-old that had won the hearts of the entire FHS staff, especially Bulldog Lani.

Angel had a problem that I’ve seen one time before but couldn’t save the animal. Angel had two holes in his upper palate in his mouth. The problem was that his mouth was constantly filling with fluids and infections were setting in along with a myriad of other problems.

The solution was to mend it if possible, or euthanasia. The procedure called for specialists. It was expensive and couldn’t be guaranteed, and the decision was mine since Lennie’s fund would handle it.

Once again, the decision was a no brainer for me. “Let’s try it Lani, whoever gets him over to Upstate Specialists, tell them Angel is one of Lennie’s Kids.”

Christine Taylor, our new shelter director and as far as I’m concerned, the best we’ve ever had, drove Angel to the specialists. Angel got through the first operation perfectly, but a second was needed.

During the second operation, Angel died of a heart attack. There wasn’t a dry eye at the shelter when the news of Angel’s demise arrived. The doctors at Upstate kept our bills to a minimum and took an extra $1,000 off the bill, apologizing because they couldn’t save one of Lennie’s Kids. Angel’s ashes are now spread over the FHS memory area.

I don’t always get a perfect result from the money I raise from all of you for my kids. I follow my heart and my instincts and I want everyone to know here and now, if I had it all to do over again, ten times out of ten, I would do the same.

You will never know how much I love you all.

Thanks for being there and thanks for listening.