Monday, July 25, 2016
FARMINGTON HILLS MI - MARIE CLARK, 89, CRIED FOR DAYS AFTER HER BELOVED SHIH TZU "DOLLY" WAS FATALLY MAULED BY A GERMAN SHEPHERD...THEN HER FAMILY HELPED HER FIND "ROMEO" WHO NEEDED HER AS MUCH AS SHE NEEDED HIM!
What was one of the worst weeks in 89-year-old Marie Clark’s life was turned around Sunday – thanks to a fluffy little guy named Romeo. Romeo, an 8-year-old Maltese, is helping to ease the devastation Clark suffered after witnessing her beloved Shih Tzu, Dolly, violently attacked by a German shepherd July 18.
As first reported in the Farmington Observer, the German shepherd had leapt from a pickup truck and went after Dolly while she and Clark were walking by, outside their home.
“I never saw it coming – he just pounced right on Dolly... I can still hear his growling in my ear,” she said. The German Shepherd repeatedly bit and shook Dolly, eventually letting go after Clark started screaming and a couple neighbors rushed over to help.
The larger dog had been left in the truck for hours, Clark said, while its owner was painting inside a house across the street from her . “I don’t blame the dog. I blame the owner,” she said. “That dog was hot and angry, and he took it out on my little Dolly. It was such a stupid thing, and it took such happiness from my life.”
Clark was knocked down by the larger dog, and ended up scraped and bruised. But Dolly was so severely injured – a broken back and pelvis, torn apart internal organs – that Clark had to make the agonizing decision to have her veterinarian euthanize her. “They didn’t think Dolly would make it through the surgery, but even if she did she would never walk again,” Clark explained, as her eyes welled with tears.
Heartbroken and traumatized, Clark said she cried for days. “This was such an empty house, I was just so lonely,” she said. After all, Clark had brought Dolly home when she was just six weeks old – about nine years ago – soon after she was widowed and needed some company. It hadn’t taken long for Clark and Dolly to establish a routine of “four walks a day” around the neighborhood.“Everyone around here knew Dolly. Everyone loved her,” she said.
After the attack, Clark realized the best remedy was to get another tail-wagging friend as soon as possible. Yet it couldn’t be just any dog. She wanted one “somewhat like Dolly, though a bit different, too.” Her four daughters were determined to make that happen, scouring the Internet for pups that needed a new home.
After looking online at photos of “about 50 dogs,” Clark was shown a picture of Romeo. And she was hooked. “I just saw his face and said ‘that’s it,’”
Clark said. Sunday, she and her daughter went to Livonia to pick up Romeo – his owner was having a baby and moving into a new home, but Romeo wasn’t part of the plan. Apparently, though, he was part of another plan – to bring love and happiness to someone who was hurting badly. “I was so mad at God for what happened to Dolly...I guess God sent me Romeo to make up for it,” Clark said, softly stroking her new friend as he nestled in her lap.
Romeo, she said, is perfect. "My daughters and son thought he’d keep me awake the first night, crying for his previous family. But no. He slept with me just like Dolly did, right on my back. He follows me around, he can do tricks – he’s quite a character,” Clark said, grinning.
The owner of the German shepherd, a 57-year-old Harrison Township man, was issued a misdemeanor ticket for a civil infraction – failing to confine a dog, said Farmington Hills Police Chief Chuck Nebus. “That’s our only and highest tool (for this type of case),” he explained.Remedies from the city’s Animal Review Board that can be imposed on owners of dogs deemed dangerous – training, registration, liability insurance and more – can’t be imposed on people who don’t live in Farmington Hills, Nebus said. “We’ve verified this with the city attorney, the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control,” he said. “We have no authority for a higher penalty.”
However, Nebus noted, the city’s prosecuting attorney may ask for court-ordered repayment of Clark’s veterinary bill – which totaled some $3,000. Should that prove successful, Clark said she’s going to donate a portion to an animal rescue group.
“I was so sad last week, and I can still cry over Dolly, even though I have Romeo,” she said. “But it’s getting better. This is very good for me. He's such a joy."