Special Cases: Love is in the air

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, May 11, 2017

Two and a half months ago, a litter of champion Shepherds was born on Dr. Joe Piccone’s farm. Joe, his wife Cathy, and Melissa, his dietitian, among other things, are ardent supporters of my cause.

In the litter was a pup that was named Forrest after Forrest Gump. Forrest’s right rear leg was malformed in such a way that the knee joint wouldn’t stay in place.

Tyler is a young boy who lives in Asheville with his mom, dad, two brothers and a sister. Tyler is autistic and had recently lost his therapy dog, I believe a Labadoodle. Through channels, Dr. Joe Piccone found out and offered Forrest as a therapy dog as soon as we fixed his leg. I was thrilled at the opportunity to make this happen and proud to add Forrest as one of Lennie’s kids.

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The family was all excited about receiving one of these beautiful Shepherd pups, especially Tyler. Joe and I went into action. Dr. Keith Allen was contacted at Upstate Veterinarian hospital and an appointment was made to see Forrest two Fridays ago. Keith has been a saving angel for my kids over the years and seeing him again pleased me greatly. Keith gave Forrest a thorough examination and explained to us the status of his leg. 

“It’s not just the knee,” Dr. Allen said, “it’s a degenerative thing that I’ve seen many times and sadly it cannot be fixed.” 

We learned that taking the leg would be the best option for Forrest. We’d have to wait a few months because Forrest was too young to go under anesthesia. When I asked for the bill for the examination, Keith said, “This one’s on me, Lennie, you just take care of yourself, we need you around here.” 

“Thanks, Keith, and right back at you,” I answered laughing.

Joe Piccone contacted Tyler’s family and explained that Forrest would have three legs. I went to visit Angel Mitchell at Bonnie Brae’s and she agreed to handle whatever medicine or shots Forrest may need in the future. I hadn’t seen Angel for a while and it was a good excuse to get a hug from this lovely lady.

For reasons other than the fact that Forrest would have three legs, Tyler’s family thought it wouldn’t be good for him. Dr. Joe, being true to his word, offered the family Dax, one of Forrest’s brothers, and they were thrilled. This would be a great expense, for now Joe would lose two puppies, but I’ve often said that Joe’s heart comes before his pocketbook. Lennie’s fund paid for Dax, and Dr. Joe asked some of his clients if they would help pay me back for Tyler’s pup.

Two weeks ago I met up with Tyler’s family at the Piccone farm. Dax and Forrest were running around play fighting with magnificent Vemo, their dad. All the children took turns holding the puppies, but when Tyler held Dax in his arms, I thought my heart would burst from joy of the moment.

I once wrote: “A smile is when your heart is filled with so much joy, it spills over to your lips.”

As I write this, Dax is on the job as Tyler’s companion and Dr. Joe offered free training. Forrest will be running around the Piccone farm for two more months before we take him back to Dr. Allen. Finding him a home will not be a problem, that is, if we can drag him away from Cathy.

Lennie’s fund will not have a problem paying for Forrest’s amputation because those donating for Tyler’s pup have paid the fee in full.

Thanks for listening.