Lauren Rizzo: Close to My Heart

Bella Doberman Maggie

Maggie's Story

In the fall of 2007, our family pet of 10 years, Auggie, died. Our family had grown up with him, and an empty house was not an option. My parents decided to adopt a red Doberman because they had had one before I was born that acted as their temporary child until the real thing (me) came along. Shortly before Auggie died, we adopted Maggie (the red Dobie in the pink Way-Farers). She had been discovered on I-95 one stormy night by a Rollins College student and was sent to the Florida Doberman Rescue. It is believed that she escaped from a puppy mill, and when we took her into our possession, she was covered in small scabs and slightly malnourished. Without Maggie, our family would have had a terrible time working through Auggie’s death, and who knows how much worse her condition would have been. We’ve now had her for two years, and she’s like the third child

Bella’s Story

In the fall of 2008, I was walking to class while talking on the phone with my mother. She had been surfing craigslist, and had found an ad for a free Doberman. The Doberman was a female with a docked tail and a urinary tract infection and was being given away because the “owner” could not care for her any longer due to expenses. I told my mom that I thought it was a terrible idea and that this dog was clearly caught up in some sort of scam we should stay far away from. By the time I left my class two hours later, I had a voicemail, and the Rizzo family had a new dog.

After feeling an instant connection with the severely malnourished and abused dog, my dad decided to name her Bella Rose. She quickly became a member of the family and became Maggie’s sister and best friend. However, little did we know the extent of her illnesses. What was originally deemed a UTI by the previous owner had turned out to be early stages of kidney failure. Bella had to be put on special diets and slept constantly, and though she initially began to put on weight and gain some energy, in June 2009, she took a severe nose dive.

Bella was put down before the end of June in order to end her suffering. After a bit of investigating, we discovered that Bella had definitely been a part of a puppy mill while only a puppy herself (her age was approximately 1.5 years). She had been starved and kept in soiled and confined quarters which led to her illnesses and poor quality of life. Her tail had been improperly docked, exposing some of the tailbone.

While Bella was unable to overcome her troubles, our family finds solace in the fact that we were able to let her know she was loved before she departed this earth. In the photo above on the far left, I treated Bella to some Whipped Cream days before her death, and the middle photo is of “The Girls” and myself for Christmas 2008. Bella will be missed, but our family continues to support FDR and other rescued animals. We even have a new addition, Charley, and we continue to remember Bella with great fondeness.