Fozzie’s Food Bowl

The Fozzie Company is not just about shirts, hats, hoodies or bandanas to us.

It’s about the message.

Every time you make a purchase of any Fozzie Brand swag, we make a donation to a no-kill animal
shelter or a distressed dog in need.

Hi! My name is Dr. Michael Dusa, and I never even owned a dog until I was into my late 30’s.
It turned out that one day, a great patient of mine brought in a newspaper article to my clinic that
featured local dogs that were up for adoption.

I remember that there were many…40 or 50, and also the feeling of sadness that came over me looking
at all the pictures of them. Thinking back, I bet I could have made any of those homeless and lonely pups
a great dad and gave them a loving, safe home.

But one little one stuck out…I even remember his picture was in the upper left part of the article. The
biography for him read:

BOBBY-Reduced Fee-$5.00

Cockapoo

Age: 6 years old

Characteristics: Friendly, Affectionate, Loyal, Gentle, Smart

Color: Black with some white

Coat length: Long

House Trained: Yes

Health: Vaccinations up to date, neutered

Prefers a home: Gets along with other dogs

At the time, I was pretty much married to my practice. I was never married and had no children. It
seemed like a great time to at least get down to the animal shelter and meet little Bobby.

I called ahead to let them know of my interest, and when I entered the lobby there he was.

I saw darkness.

Bobby was energetic and seemed happy to see me: he was almost spastically jumping up and down and
yanking his leash trying to get to me and meet me….barking and squeeling joyfully.

Almost immediately, I realized maybe he just couldn’t wait to get out of that shelter.

His hair was matted, tangled, and overgrown in some areas almost touching the floor. This HAD to be
terribly painful for him.

I can’t say I recall how long he had been at the shelter-he was given up by the previous owner because a
new living arrangement disallowed dogs-but he was only 18 pounds!
He was 10 pounds (That’s 36%) below his best minimal healthy weight of 28 pounds!

Petting the eager and thankful little lad…I could palpate easily rib ridges, bony knobs and sharp
projections of spine.

He even had fleas and when I got him home…I found ticks!

Someone…somewhere…the people at the pound? His former owners?….Bobby was abused, neglected
and unloved.

Still, he did not seem to be broken and distrustful of humans…he sure wasn’t of me!

I paid $5.00, filled out the paperwork and Bobby was frantically electrified with happiness coming home
with me.

When I got him to our forever home, he was no longer Bobby.

I looked at him-“You are no Bobby. From this point on…you are Fozzie.”

Fozzie.

A great name.

Fun to say.

I can’t say it without either smiling or just feeling happy.

He looked like a little bear, and much more handsome one I got some weight on his bare bones, got him
cleaned up and healthy.

We had a GREAT life together for 16 years.

Almost anywhere I went, Fozzie would be with me. My clinic, the park, the gym-heck-anyone of any
consequence who knew me, knew who Fozzie was, too! He even lived with me in hotels for three
months when we were between homes (He often got room service).

When I had adopted him, I saw his pain. As I could with human patients through empathy, I FELT his
pain…the feelings of neglect and being unloved.

I wanted to always be sure I was giving him a life filled with light and joy and play.

I think I did.

In my years, I have learned that there is nothing like the love of a shelter dog.

Let me tell you something about shelter dogs that you may not know:

They KNOW.

When you adopt a shelter dog and improve their lot in this world, save them from years in a cage or
often what is an early death, they become OF you.

It is like they become part of you…of your flesh.

That may sound weird, but if you think on it, it will be less so.

There is another thing they know, sadly.


They know what it is to:

Have no toys.

Not have a soft, clean blanket to sleep on.

Eat only twice a week.

Peer into empty water bowls.

Fall victim to hard heels, balled up fists or even blunt objects.

Be chained to a tree in the rain, snow or heat.

Be homeless, alone, and subject to traffic death or attacked or even killed by vicious animals.

Look, not all people are bad.

In fact, despite what the news tells you…most people and things in this world are good.

People run into problems, such as financial difficulties, homelessness, other problems that can make it
impossible to be good parents to their pets.

And animal shelters…MOST have a hard time maintaining enough cash flow to fully stock their food
pantries. Many are perpetually month-to-month, week-to-week, or even day-to-day with being able to
feed and care for often swelling homeless animal populations….not to mention medical care!

You adopt your best-forever friend from a shelter, it will KNOW.

You will be the closest and most loved entity to that little one that you did save.

Until the end.

The end…..

Years passed for me and Fozzie and we enjoyed so many wonderful times and adventures. He even
traveled to no less than five different states with me!

We’d run and throw balls and play in fields. Walk through brooks and see fish and turtles, too!
In time, I’d throw balls and watch him run.

Later, I’d toss a ball, he’d just watch, with me.

Later still, we’d walk and he’d turn around for home, going only half the distance he once did.

I’d hear a “Thump” in the next room.

Fozzie’s cataracts ultimately stole away all of his vision.

He was near 20 years old now, you know.

His screech would pierce the night. I’d spring from bed and there he’d be sprawled, contorted into any
position that would ease painful bones and joints riddled by degeneration from 140 human years lived
but lived well with me.

I am a man who likes to think he knows a lot until the night that I did not.

And as it was in his beginning with me, so it was near the end.

His little 18 pounds-once-again-old brittle body writhing in my arms, I looked at my dear Denise through
tears and that awful hollow gut feeling that you no doubt know, I implored her:

“What do we do now?”

She stared at me.

“WHAT DO I DO NOW?!”

Neecie always knows and she never lies.

She barely whispered: “Yes…we have to take Fozzie to the vet now.”

At 3 a.m. we waited in the Jeep in The Veterinary hospital lot for our number to be called because of
lockdown business.

But Fozzie was entering darkness again and he sunk his teeth into my right hand because of the pain,
you know.

I felt none of it and was detached as though I were a third person watching it all.

Lock down nothing.

I had to get my boy inside.

I saw him for the last time with IV morphine running and all the other numbing agents so he just was not
there.

I never said goodbye.

I wish he could have left me in peace… and with more love….and that he knew I was there.

Of this, I was haunted.

Did he make it to the Rainbow Bridge?

The matter is unsettled as I feel Fozzie is still here…helping us in our Mission.

There are millions who do live who were like Fozzie. Too many still suffer now.

They are why I started The Fozzie Company.

You can be the Hero To A Hungry Dog In Need™.

We will Feed Them All™.

Picture of Michael Dusa

Michael Dusa

I devote my efforts to helping homeless shelter animals and no-kill shelters wherever the need was found.

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