The Internet Steps Up to Save a Very Small, Very Brave Dog
Ezio, a Yorkshire Terrier who lives in Texas, weighs only 11 pounds, but his courage and loyalty to his family belie his tiny size. That was proved beyond a doubt last week when a neighbor's dog broke through the Long family's plywood fence and came towards Shannon Griffith Long's 3-year-old grandchild, Gavin.
"The dog was 10 times the size of Ezio. This big giant dog, if it stands up, is as tall as me," Long told local TV station KHOU. "The dog is ferocious."
It was an obvious mismatch, but Ezio distracted the neighbor's dog in the attack long enough for Gavin to get inside the house. But the Yorkie, of course, didn't have a chance. Long said, "he picks Ezio by his neck and lifts him and shakes and shakes and shakes and throws him down."
Ezio lived -- barely -- but he may never walk again. It was considered a great victory when the family was able to post yesterday that the little dog was able to breathe on his own again. Among other things, the neighbor's dog crushed Ezio's trachea, broke his neck, tore muscles and ligaments, and damaged his spinal cord.
The initial costs just to keep Ezio alive were $5,000, but it's going to take a lot more to bring him back to full health -- or at least as close to that as is realistically possible.
"We don't have a lot of money. We have three kids and two grandkids," said Long. "My daughter emptied her bank account. My husband and I emptied our bank account. The doctor said, 'Well, you'll have to put him down.' I just can't do that. He saved Gavin's life, and I can't give up on his."
If there's one good thing to come out of this, it's that a lot of people have given a lot of support for Ezio and his family. The Longs established a page on GoFundMe to raise money for Ezio's medical expenses and possible legal expenses for a civil suit against the neighbor. As of this writing, people have donated $23,679 to the fundraiser, exceeding the original goal.
One of the bizarre qualities of the whole case is that unless Ezio dies -- which the Longs are doing everything in their power to avoid -- they have no legal recourse against the neighbor. The police have told Long that because no human was harmed and the dog survived, the most they can do is issue a citation.
Of course, that will leave a sour taste in anyone's mouth. It's an unpleasant twist of law that is not only unjust to Enzio and the Longs, but practically ensures that other people and animals are endangered. But at the same time, it's heartening to see not only the dedication of Ezio against such overwhelming odds, but the willingness of so many complete strangers to support him and his family. Our support and best wishes go out to the Longs.
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