When Galion resident John Lizotte first laid eyes on a photo of a dog in a wheelchair, he had no idea his life was about to change.

Lizotte spotted a photo of Ranger, a four and a half-year-old border collie who had severely injured his back, and had to learn more about him.

“I have been in touch with Ranger’s owners. They are wonderful people who love Ranger very much,” said Lizotte.

Lizotte said Ranger was in need of intensive therapy and his owners were not in a position to provide it at this time.

“He had herniated discs in his back, and had to have back surgery in July. His owners love Ranger and none of this was any fault of their own. They felt their only option was to re-home him. The cost of therapy was running $100 every other day and he needs ongoing therapy. They were simply not in a position to do that at this time,” said Lizotte.

Lizotte is no stranger to taking care of animals with special needs. He is a certified avian specialist with a main focus on the rehabilitation and training of parrots.

“I also volunteer at Wildlife Haven near Crestline that is owned by Jane Schnelker who has taught me a lot. I help take care of wild animals that need to be nurtured back to health and enjoy it so much so when I saw Ranger on Rescueme.org, I knew I could help him too,” Lizotte said. “Ranger uses a doggy wheelchair to get around in, and his special issues mean he needs special care,” Lizotte said.

Lizotte and his wife Noel made the decision to adopt Ranger so Lizotte set about making arrangements to bring the dog with special needs to Galion from his original home in Texas.

“As I talked with people online, I learned about Rescue Road Trips. I contacted Greg Mahley who has been transporting dogs from the south to the north, as far as the New England states, for a decade,” Lizotte said.

Mahley regularly transports dogs from high kill shelters in the deep south to loving forever homes in the northern states.

“Greg lives in Zanesville so he is based right here in Ohio,” Lizotte said.

On Nov. 18, Ranger began his journey from Texas to Ohio, arriving last Sunday.

“We are so grateful to Greg and Rescue Road trips along with the “angels” that helped out along the way. Greg transports the dogs in a semi-trailer and makes stops along his route to feed and walk them. People from various shelters and rescues meet him along the way to help walk, play, and take care of the dogs. It is just amazing,” Lizotte said.

Lizotte is busy creating a lift for Ranger.

“I will be doing all of Ranger’s therapy myself and the lift will allow him to begin water therapy for his back,” Lizotte said. “Ranger has to walk on a treadmill as part of his therapy also and the lift can be used with that also.”

Lizotte also hopes to book speaking engagements at area locations such as schools to teach people about animals with special needs.

Lizotte teaches classes on animal rescue sustainability and how to start a rescue.

“I am also writing a book that will help people with those issues too,” Lizotte said.

For more information about Rescue Road Trips, visit http://www.rescueroadtrips.com/Rescue_Road_Trips.html. To follow Ranger’s progress, visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Ranger-1726804070882955.


Connect with Gasuras on Twitter @kimberlygasuras

John Lizotte and his wife, Noelle, celebrate the arrival of their rescue dog, Ranger.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2015/11/web1_DSC_3003.jpgJohn Lizotte and his wife, Noelle, celebrate the arrival of their rescue dog, Ranger.


By Kimberly Gasuras

Galion Inquirer