A dog’s journey, the story of Esso

Published 3:47 pm Friday, April 17, 2020

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By Leonard Rizzo


All dog owners and lovers have gone through the same thing I’ve often gone through. The sadness of the lose of a beloved pet, especially those we’ve rescued and have given all their love and trust over to us.

As new animals come into our lives, (for we need this as much as they need us) we constantly witness traits and characteristics of an animal gone by. We’ll accidentally call our newest animal by an animal that has passed on name. In my case sometimes, seven or eight years ago, as far back as 25 years.

There is a wonderful set of movies entitled, “A dog’s journey” and so far, I’ve seen two, hopefully more will come. It is about a single dog that keeps being reincarnated into different breed and new circumstances but his spirit remains the same. The concept is so well done and expressed, it is a must see for all dog lovers.

Esso came into my care around 8 months ago through a collaboration I have with a fellow rescuer, Bobbi Shannon. Esso is a chocolate lab about 9 years old; you wouldn’t know he was a chocolate lab when we first saw him. Esso spent the first 9 years of his life in a dark, damp garage with hardly any interaction or socializing. He was emaciated and hairless and covered with yeast and skin infections. He was full of parasites; the most serious was that he was heart worm positive. He was frantic, mouthy, rude and food crazy. He had literally gone insane from confinement and lack of interaction. I can’t tell you how often I have wept for this poor soul. When I first met him, I made him a promise, “Whatever it takes I will do to give you your life back.”

Esso spent his first two months beginning his heartworm treatments and mending his other ailments. Every new thing left him dazed and confused but he would slowly react to kindness from his handlers. After a while the chocolate lab began to emerge, but his psychological problems were far from healed.

Six months ago, I turned him over to Kayla Parrish and her first evaluation was, “He’s a mess.” I handled all his need, special food, meds, boarding and training but Kayla did the work. Kayla constantly kept me apprised of his progress, but he had a long way to go.

Last year Eric Shue lost his lab and has been mourning him ever since. Eric saw the post of Esso’s story and contacted me. I gave him Kayla’s number and he contacted her. I told Kayla, “I trust your judgment to know if Eric is right for Esso.”

Last Saturday, Esso went home with Eric and I had the honor to give him and kiss and send him off. Eric promised me that Esso would never want for anything especially love. As for Esso, my boy is reliving the puppy hood he never had as he continues on a dog’s journey.

Thanks for listening.