Heroes for our heroes

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, May 4, 2017

This past Sunday, Elaine and I were invited to the annual Animal Fair benefiting the Foothills Humane Society. I’m invited each year and many of the people who attend will be at my gala on May 21. Some of my kids were there also, which always warms my heart.

It was a thrilling evening for me for so many reasons. Some of my kids won prizes in the photo contest; many others approached me and thanked me for helping their pets, who were also one of my kids.

FHS also presented me with the inaugural Lennie Rizzo Award, for love of animals, and a bronze statue of one of my beloved Boxers. All this brought me to tears but it wasn’t the highlight of my evening.

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  The rescue organizations that will be featured at my gala are: FHS shelter; Po’Kitties; Paws, Prayers and Promises; Pet Tender Angels; Forever Dream Senior Dog Sanctuary; and Service Dogs for Veterans. Each one is worthy of all the help that Lennie’s Fund can muster and I always do what I can when called upon.

Tim, Darla and Bill

At the Animal Fair I had the honor of sitting with Bill Brightman of Service Dogs for Veterans. I love his title: Veterans Advocate. Also at our table were two veterans and two marvelous service dogs, Cooper and Darla. Many people aren’t aware that our country loses 22 veterans each day due to PTSD. The service dogs help save lives.

Cooper, a beautiful Doberman, was with his soldier who was a sergeant and 16 year vet who served many tours of duty. Our sergeant now works for Lowe’s and has been on TV with Cooper who literally saved his life.

Darla, a 2½-year-old lab mix had been with a soldier but it didn’t work out because the soldier just wasn’t ready. Now Darla needed to be retrained with another soldier. At our table Darla was sitting by another veteran named Tim. I asked Tim if Darla was his service dog. He answered me saying, “I have the honor and the privilege of taking her home with me tonight for the very first time.” I can’t tell you how hard it was for me to hold back the tears for I had been watching Darla all evening, being attentive to every move Tim had made.

I would trade every award, every accolade, and every prayer if I could help just one more of these canine heroes for our troubled veteran heroes.

What a wonderful gift God has given us, I wish I could teach the whole human race not to waste it.

Thanks for listening.