Pit bull that survived death row and cancer now needs a home

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Dennis, a brown and white pit bull terrier is a survivor. Not only was he lucky enough to escape death row at the Hillsborough County Animal Shelter in Tampa, Florida, but he has also had health challenges in his six years; a dog twice his age has not experienced. Dennis had ear infections that went untreated and robbed him of his hearing and then a diagnosis of cancer. However, sweet, friendly Dennis is so happy to have a second chance at life he is not going to let any of this break his spirit.  According to his foster Adam Keehnle, Dennis is a happy go lucky 60 pound lapdog who “talks” to everyone he meets.

Dennis’s journey started in July of 2016, when Lisa Palo and her rescue partner, Linda Perrigoue pulled him from the jaws of death at the shelter. Two groups, Save the Animals, Save the World and Friends of Hillsborough County Animal Shelter, FOHCAS,  banded together to raise funds for his care. It was believed at the time, that his ear infection and heartworm positive status were both easily treatable.

It was soon discovered that although Dennis was heartworm negative, his chronic ear infections not only caused him to be deaf, but also created an open wound on his neck which would not heal. Both were treated with round after round of antibiotics, but they stubbornly persisted and worsened. Then to make matters worse, seemingly overnight, Dennis developed a large lump on his leg.  That is when the vet gave the grim diagnosis of cancer. Linda and Lisa took him to two specialists; one who treated the Stage 2 mast cell cancer with Prednisone and Benadryl; that thankfully responded to treatment. Because the tumor responded so well, the vet was confident that the cancer was curable. And the other said that for his ears and neck a complex surgery would be required. It was determined that all of his issues be addressed with one expensive surgery performed by Dr. Matt Oakes at Tampa Bay Veterinary Specialists.

Dennis was not out of the woods yet.  Lauren Contino, founder of Save the Animals Save the World put out a plea for Dennis asking all “angels” to:

“Please help Dennis get well! He needs surgery to save his life. He is one of the many animals we have saved! Donate for Dennis to save his life…let’s get him healthy before the holidays.”

The wonderful folks at Friends of Hillsborough County Animal Services paid their maximum grant too. Linda and Lisa set up a You Caring to help pay for the expensive surgery and Lauren Contino continued her plea. Since then, Dennis has undergone two surgeries. The first was to remove the cancer from his leg and to try to resolve the chronic ear infections in both ears by removing the eardrums. The surgery was successful until early February 2017 when the neck wound reappeared.  Specialty veterinarian Dr. Oaks performed another surgery, during which yet another issue was found.  Apparently, Dennis had suffered a trauma in his earlier life that completely destroyed the saliva glands on one side of his face. Talk about bad luck!

Despite all of these setbacks, Dennis began to recover. All seemed well until February 15th, 2017 when Dennis tore all his stitches out.  He was once again rushed to Dr. Oakes, who stapled the wound shut. Everyone crossed their fingers that this was the last bump in the road for this courageous dog. On March 5th, 2017, Dennis got the staples out. His foster and rescuers were happy to announce that he is now cancer free and the ear infections are gone. He completed his last round of meds and FINALLY, Dennis is ready for a forever home.

Due to the chronic ear infections that went untreated until he was saved last July, Dennis is functionally deaf. He needs to be with a family that understands his special needs and his love of attention. Lisa Palo and Linda Perrigoue are still responsible for covering his food and medical costs until Dennis finds his forever home. Please help them help Dennis by contributing to his Fundraiser.


For the first time in his short life, Dennis is a healthy dog.  He is truly thankful to everyone who helped with his rescue and medical treatments.  It truly took a village!! Everyone who meets him falls in love with him and he repays them with big, sloppy kisses.

Please help this sweet dog continue a life of happiness and health.  And most importantly please help him find his forever home.
















9 replies
  1. Cynthia Como says:

    WOW! Poor boy sure has endured a lifetime of bad luck in a short span of time! He is TRUELY a miracle dog!! Let’s all hope and pray all his health issues remain a thing of the past! God bless the amazing Dennis!

  2. Nancy Raymond says:

    PLEASE, some kind person step up and save Dennis, he has suffered so much and so well deserves a safe loving home. Please don’t let Dennis be killed.

  3. linda says:

    Thank you to both rescues that saved and helped with Dennis’s medical issues! Hoping he finds a loving home soon.


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