JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — When it comes to bringing new life into the world or providing a second shot at one, Rita Fleming has done more than her fair share of work for humans and animals alike.
In her more than 30 years as an obstetrician, Fleming has delivered more than 7,000 babies. Before her husband passed away last year, the two adopted more dogs than Fleming can remember.
“We were married for 42 years, so that’s a lot of dogs,” she said. “Except for one dog my husband had when we were first married, we’ve always had rescue dogs. He was a counselor at Parkview for 29 years. If the kids he counseled were losing their homes or had to give away their pets, we got them.”
A newspaper article from February about the recovery process of two malnourished dogs in Greensburg prompted Fleming to spring to action once more.
Rosie G., a pregnant, 6-year-old blue nose pit bull, was one of those dogs. She and Hoss, a pit bull-bulldog mix, were discovered in below-freezing temperatures with limited mobility due to how tangled their leashes had become. The water in their bowls was frozen, and the dogs had not been fed in days.
After first reading the article about the dogs, Fleming was saddened by the circumstances in which they were found.
“It just broke my heart,” Fleming said. “I thought of her being out in that freezing weather and pregnant. I can just imagine how lonely and scared she was.”
The decision to act, however, was not immediate.
Fleming said she added the newspaper to her recycling pile once she was finished with it. When she arrived home from dropping the papers off, she found the story about the dogs had somehow slipped out.
“I read the article in the paper, and I thought ‘boy, I hope somebody adopts that dog,'” Fleming said. “I came home, and that paper had fallen out of the pile. I don’t believe in signs, but something made me think I had to check this out.”
Fleming traveled to Greensburg to visit Rosie G., and the two hit it off right from the start.
“I brought treats,” Fleming said. “We started off with a few treats, and she loved them. She came over kind of warily. She walked with me. Whenever I’d call, she’d come to me. She just seemed very friendly. I stayed for about an hour and watched her interact with folks at the shelter and other dogs. It was not a frivolous or light decision. I take owning a dog very seriously, especially a dog of this breed.”
After getting to know Rosie G., Fleming made the choice to add the dog to her family.
Once Rosie G.’s recovery at the shelter was complete, Fleming made the trip once more to retrieve her on March 21.
“When we left the shelter, she jumped right in my car, and we went to the condo,” Fleming said. “I put up a wire kennel and put a treat inside, and she got right in there and settled in. She’s really good. She’s had a bit of a rough time, but she seems to be recovering.”
In order to get properly acquainted, Fleming said she made sure to have time off from work to dedicate to Rosie G. During that time, Fleming has learned some of Rosie’s favorite activities.
“When I go for the leash, she knows we’re going for a walk and starts going around in circles,” Fleming said. “We walk the neighborhood a lot. She also likes to ride in the car. She seems to like it when I play piano, even when I play badly. I sew a lot, and she just sits right at my feet watching me sew.”
Because of their similarities, Fleming said Rosie G.’s is named after former NFL lineman Roosevelt Grier.
“He was a massive presence on the field, but in his spare time, he did needlepoint,” Fleming said. “He wasn’t shy about talking about it. In fact, he wrote a book called ‘Needlepoint for Men.’ After his football career, he was a bodyguard for Robert Kennedy’s family. They seem to have a bit in common.”
In the three days since her adoption, Rosie G. has been improving each day thanks to a protein-heavy diet. Her presence, Fleming said, has been quite enjoyable.
“I just enjoy her,” Fleming said. “It’s nice to have that presence. It’s nice to get her so happy when I walk through the door.”
Source: (Jeffersonville) News and Tribune, http://bit.ly/2ofXw5a
Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind., http://www.newsandtribune.com