2018 Lennie Rizzo Award Winner

Director’s Spotlight: 2018 Lennie Rizzo Award Winner

Lori Jewell

Twenty-two years ago Lori Jewell raced off the curb in a thunderstorm and scooped-up a terrified Daschund-mix puppy. It was her first rescue of a stray and the first steps of a crusade that has gained momentum ever since. From rescuing dogs in Greenville to founding Pet Tender Angels Rescue and Rehabilitation in Landrum, 2008, Lori has earned the thanks of countless dogs and adopters.  Now, she has received the formal thanks that Lennie Rizzo feels has been overdue.

Lennie Rizzo, champion of dogs and cats in need known as “Lennie’s Kids.” was the first recipient of “The Lennie” awarded by the Foothills Humane Society in 2017. Lori was his personal choice for the second.

Lennie explains his criterion for awarding the 2018 statue.  “Love of animals is not enough. It’s the most important part, but it’s the easy part, then comes the work.” His first criterion is longevity, years of pulling folks together for the sake of animals. Second is commitment, a willingness to put the “kids” first. “That means being a doer. I will thank the good-hearted driver who sees an injured dog and calls animal control for help. I want the award, however, to go to the person who stops and takes the dog to the vet.”

When Lori found a stray nursing mix breed on a road, she walked the dog through the area until a man challenged, “Hey, that’s my dog.” He was willing to sell her a puppy. When he lifted a plywood slab off a dank hole dug in his backyard, he proudly revealed a litter. The stench made Lori’s eyes water. Then and there, she bought every puppy on the condition that the mom was included in the price.

When Lori met Penney, a little black dog, broken and paralyzed below the lower spine, and in need of a rear leg amputation, the answer was asking for vet help and ordering a custom chariot. Now, 18 months later, Penney rushes to greet with a smile and ears perked, not caring about the two wheels spinning behind her.

“Unless the right, very special person comes along soon, Penney will stay with me. She’s an inspiration,” says Lori. There are more than 30 dogs with Lori in rehab for adoption and 12 who have found a permanent sanctuary. “I am thrilled by this award, but I couldn’t run this facility without volunteers. 14 are the core, and most of them have been with me here since the beginning.”