This is what it’s all about

Published 12:48 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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There is a family that is going through some very difficult times both physically and financially. It is a lot deeper than that, but for the family’s privacy and dignity, I will leave it at that.


A call came to me from Dr. Angel Mitchell at Bonnie Brae Veterinary Hospital. I have worked with Angel previously, she is a fine veterinarian and I count her as a dear friend.  

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“Lennie,” Angel said. “I hope you have enough funds for a major case.”  


“What’s up, doc?” I said laughing. 


“I have a 6-month-old Chihuahua that has a chicken bone lodged in his esophagus. It is a procedure that we aren’t equipped to do here. Little Toby will have to be sent to Upstate and the family doesn’t have a hundred dollars between them.”  


Angel went on to tell me all the family has been through and that they are really good people.  


“I can handle it,” I told her. “Upstate will work with me; I’ve done over 30 cases with them over the years. Just tell them to get Toby up there and tell them he is one of Lennie’s Kids. I’ll confirm it when they call me.”  


“You’re the best, Lennie,” Angel said.  


“You ain’t so bad yourself,” I said laughing.


After a whole bunch of confusion at 11:30 p.m., I had to wait till the next morning when Angel and I called Upstate. After the folks at Upstate apologized profusely, I was told Toby would be seen first thing that morning.  


Later on, I was contacted by the surgeon handling Toby’s case, and after apologizing once again he told me if they could remove the chicken bone manually without operating, the fee would be as low as $1,500 but if they needed to operate it may be as much as $4,000.  


“Do the best you can,” I said. “Just help the puppy.”  


“We will, Mr. Rizzo, and we’ll keep you updated,” the surgeon said.


As we speak, I’m awaiting the bill from Upstate, and Toby is home and doing fine. They managed to remove the bone manually.

The family still has many other problems to handle, but thank the Lord, Toby won’t be one of them. I have more than once seen where the love of a beloved pet has been the glue to hold a family together.


This my friends is what it’s all about.


As an aside, my dear friend Angel Mitchell donated $500 to help with Toby’s bill.


Thanks for listening.



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