In March, I wrote a column about Tripod, our 14-year-old, three-legged dog. Originally, she wasn’t supposed to have been ours at all, but some things are just meant to be.
I found her in Banning Park as a four-month-old red-brown puppy with a broken left hind leg. We weren’t looking to adopt a dog just then and vowed to find her a good home. Before we began the search for an adopter, however, we took her to our veterinarian to see if there was a chance to save the injured leg. Unfortunately, it was beyond repair, but, if it was amputated, she stood every chance of living a normal life with just three legs. Amputation required a canine orthopedic surgeon, at a cost of $1,500.
Finding someone willing to take on a dog with such a hefty price tag was impossible. The alternatives were: 1.) Turn her in to the county shelter, virtually assuring she’d be euthanized, or 2.) Adopt her ourselves. Obviously, she was just meant to be ours, and for 14 great years Tripod was the belle of both our home and our print shop. Sadly, in July, we had to let Tripod go after her spinal cord became compromised.
I recount this story because history has repeated itself. After we lost Tripod, our friend Camilla Townsend asked her good friend, artist Stan Hicks, to do a watercolor painting of Tripod that we could hang in the shop for all her “fans” to see. The painting (which is outstanding) was unveiled during September’s First Thursday Art Walk at fINdings art gallery. Since Stan specializes in paintings of dogs, the show was also billed as a fundraiser for a local dog rescue service called Doggies 911 Rescue. In order to entice people to donate to that organization, Marilyn Vittone, one of the partners in Doggies 911 Rescue, brought an adoptable rescued puppy to the event: a five-month-old red-brown puppy with a fractured left hind leg in a cast.
She knew nothing of our history with Tripod, and to have chosen to bring that particular puppy from the scores of dogs in her care was, to us, like déjà vu all over again. The message couldn’t have been clearer: We were there to adopt this puppy… some things are just meant to be.
We named the puppy Alfie, but before he could come home with us, he had to spend two weeks at South Shores Pet Clinic until his cast was removed. During that time, we visited him often and got to know and really admire Marilyn, her partner, Masumi Hara, and Dr. Mark Weimer at South Shores. Doggies 911 Rescue’s motto is “No dog left behind,” and they specialize in homeless dogs with special needs that make them unadoptable. They rescue animals from shelters all over Southern California. With their personal funds, and with some limited outside donations, they fix whatever problems a dog may have before finding it a good home. For example, one night, while we were visiting Alfie, they brought in a small puppy for emergency surgery to remove nuts, bolts and metal scraps from his intestinal tract, which he had ingested while homeless and wandering the streets. He’ll be fine and will get a good home.
Even though Dr. Weimer and staff donate many of their services, Doggies 911 nonetheless accumulates huge medical bills. They’re constantly in need of donations. Please stop by and meet them and their adoptable dogs, Saturday mornings at Petco on Western Ave., or go to their website: www.doggies911rescue.org. You might find a new best friend that was just meant to be yours, or by donating, make it possible for someone else to find theirs. spt
Herb Zimmer owns PriorityOne Printing in downtown San Pedro.