Special Cases: Summing up what it’s all about

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, March 30, 2017

Over the past two years, 2015 and 2016, a little over $150,000 has been spent to help Lennie’s kids. Most of it went for major cases, as well as many smaller cases that only I (and those helped) know of. Also, I’ve often assisted other rescues and will continue to do so as long as I can.

The main reason I had so much to give was because of a $100,000 endowment from a dear lady that I still miss till this day, Bettye Logan. Bettye would often summon me for a chat on how my kids were doing. More often than not I’d leave with a $1,000 check for my kids.

Once during the Animal Fair, three or four years ago, I was selling tickets to my up and coming gala, when I was approached by Bertie Thayer who was then on the Foothills Humane Society board. 

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“Lennie, Bettye Logan wants to see you.” 

“Okay, Bertie, I’ll be there in a bit,” I replied. 

“No, Lennie, she wants to see you now.” Laughing, I folded my flyers and tickets into a manila folder and headed to the main house. When I entered, Bettye stood up from her entourage and shouted for all to hear, “There he is, Lennie Rizzo, the best man in all of Polk County.” 

Very little leaves me speechless, but Bettye was capable of it. This lady humbled me in such a way that few people could.

Those who have received thank you letters from me for donations to my kids know that I always sign off, “Your humble servant.” This began because of Bettye. You see, Bettye was once the vice president of NBC News in New York. Bettye was at the vanguard of powerful women in the business world. She was instrumental in the hiring of Barbara Walters. This feisty little lady looked up to me and I could never fully express the combination of pride and humility it instilled in me.

My major case fund is now running a bit low. Before I go on, please be aware, Bettye left $100,000, I’ve spent over $150,000, and it is all of you that keep my funds alive.

Within the last month these are some of the Upstate cases I’ve handled: Rebel, a Boxer mix, $2,430.32. June Carter, a pit-bull, $2,612.96.

I am currently working on a beautiful Shepherd, Dax, who is owned by an autistic boy. Doctor Joe Picone and I helped him get the dog and now he may have a problem I can’t pronounce. As you can imagine the boy is devastated, for as Tommy Maiolo from the Ark pronounced, it may be life threatening.

I called Tommy and asked if the Upstate Veterinarian Specialists could help. 

“Good idea, Lennie.”

“Would you please call and set up an appointment, doc, I’ll see that Dax gets there. You could explain your diagnosis better than I, and tell them Dax is one of Lennie’s kids, they’ll take it from there.” 

“Will do, my friend,” Tommy replied. “How are you doing?” he went on. 

“I’m fine doc, better than I deserve.” We both laughed and signed off.

Later that afternoon I received a call from Dr. Keith Allen, who took care of June Carter, the pit, and Rebel, the Boxer mix, along with countless others of my kids. 

“Wow doc, you already got the message about Dax.” 

“No Lennie, I’m in Memphis for my son’s graduation. I called on a different matter.” 

“What can I do for you, Keith?”

“I had a beautiful Mastiff named Hank and I fixed his broken leg about six months ago. Hank broke his leg again and this time it cannot be repaired. The owners can’t afford anything else and want help to put him down.” 

I gulped, “Is this dog viable?” 

“Just the question I knew you’d ask, Lennie. We could take his leg and he’d do just fine. He’s a beautiful boy. Can your funds cover that?” 

“I’ll take care of Hank from my personal fund if you’ll see that he gets what he needs and just send me the bill.” 

“You’re the best, Lennie.” 

This is another person who humbles me. Dr. Allen with the magic hands who has put together dozens of my beautiful kids and has saved thousands of dollars for my fund. I’m still waiting on what’s going on with Dax but two days ago I received a call from Dr. Keith Allen. 

“Lennie, we’ve taken Hank’s leg and the operation went beautifully. I’ve given you all the discounts I could and I contacted a rescue I’m familiar with. As we speak, Hank is already in a new and loving home.” 

“You have made my day doc, bless you.” 

“Bless you too, Len.” 

We both laughed, grateful that we both met and became friends.

I know things will work out; I have God on my side, although I’m foolish enough to question Him now and then. 

I also have all of you, the angels He sends me to give me strength and hope through your prayers and support. Today I will sign off as I do in my thank you letters.

Thanks so much for listening.

Your humble servant,

Leonard Rizzo