A case of déjà vu

Published 8:00 am Friday, January 27, 2023

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After being on this mission for so many years, oftentimes cases will be similar to others in the past. Reminders are frequent, especially of cases that I deem super special.


Around a dozen years ago I was introduced to Cosmo, a large Mastiff mix. Cosmo was a giant teddy bear that loved people to a fault. His regal beauty was breathtaking, but his stature could be intimidating to those who did not know him. At that time Cosmo was owned by a young lady in her mid-20s. Cosmo would be let out to do his business and often would visit many neighbors before making his way home. Cosmo was the neighborhood dog and everyone loved him, it was considered a badge of honor if he visited your home.

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Life has a way to take unexpected turns. One of the neighbors moved away and their home was purchased by an older lady that was deathly afraid of Cosmo. Animal Control was called. The young lady who owned Cosmo contacted me to see if I could help her with her dilemma. I helped pay for a fence that was built for Cosmo because another incident would have meant a huge fine and Cosmo may have been taken away.


Cosmo would have none of it; after some time he dug his way out and went to visit all his friends. Now the young lady had to make a tough choice. She couldn’t afford the fine and feared her beloved Cosmo would be put down.  


First, I spoke with Animal Control and had them eschew the fine. Then, I brought him to Dogwood Farm where my good friend Josh held him. I had him registered at the shelter but he was in my care. It took around a month but I found another young lady who was a perfect match for my beautiful, gentle giant. More on Cosmo later.


A call came in last week about Rogue, a 6-year-old female American Staffordshire bulldog or as is commonly known, an Am-Staff. Matthew, Rogue’s owner, told me that she was the neighborhood dog and all the neighbors loved her.  Though Rogue was half the size of Cosmo the scenario was similar and of course, brought him to mind.


The call came to me because Rogue had come home with a deep laceration on her chest and a huge fold of skin was hanging off.  It was believed Rogue probably caught herself in barbed wire.  


“Take Rogue to Landrum Vet and tell them she is one of Lennie’s Kids. Pay what you can,” I explained. “And I will handle the rest.”  


I called Landrum Vet and Rogue was already there, winning the hearts of all the staff and doctors. I went to visit and found her in a cage with a large bandage wrapped around her chest. When I asked for a prognosis, Dr. Raines told me, “She’ll be fine. We’ll operate tomorrow and patch her up. It will take a while to heal but she should be as good as new.”


I later went back over to visit Rogue, “How are you doing pretty lady?” I said. Her tail kept thumping and her mouth was agape in a lopsided grin. I kept hearing from voices all around me, “She is so sweet Mr. Rizzo, thank you for helping her.”  I gave Rogue a kiss and got one in return before leaving.


Currently, Rogue is home mending and I once again have been blessed by meeting another beautiful soul.


Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Cosmo.


It was about a year later when I ran into the young lady who adopted Cosmo. “Mr. Rizzo I cannot tell you how much I love him. He’s the best dog that ever was. I have one problem,” she explained. “What do I do about him jumping on the couch?” 


I smiled and answered, “When the couch gets ruined, get another one.”


Thanks for listening.


Rogue, a 6-year-old female American Staffordshire bulldog recently helped by Lennie’s Kids.


Leonard Rizzo is the founder of Lennie’s Kids, a nonprofit organization that helps sick and injured animals in the Foothills, promotes animal welfare and works to find homes for pets.