SAN LEANDRO (CBS SF) — An East Bay man who relies on the companionship of a lap dog after being paralyzed by a gunshot wound was reunited with his four-legged friend Thursday night after she was stolen, with the help of a TV star.
26-year-old Arthur Renowitzky was reunited with his poodle ‘Love’ after Pauley Perrette, actress on the CBS drama ‘NCIS’ and a family friend, offered a $5,000 reward for the dog’s return.
A man who was watching news coverage of the incident and the reward offer made the connection. Daymond Dixon said he bought the dog from a couple at a Walmart in Oakland for $375 and gave it to his aunt, whose own dog died last month.
“I saw this guy on the news and that’s when I called my auntie and told her we have to take this guy his dog,” said Dixon. “I didn’t know the dog was stolen. If I had known the dog was stolen, I wouldn’t even have bought the dog.”
Shortly after Renowitzky was reunited with his dog, Perrette promised to pay the $5,000 reward to Dixon. “I’m not worried about no reward or nothing,” said Dixon. “I’m not worried about that kind of stuff as long as this guy is happy about it.”
Six years ago, Renowitzky was robbed and shot in San Francisco, suffering a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Renowitzky relied on the poodle he obtained when it was a puppy to help him cope with his rehabilitation and the daily grind of being in a wheelchair.
Last night Renowitzky was at the San Leandro Marina when Love wandered away from him for a moment and in that instant someone apparently took the dog.
“She’s been everything to me ,” said Renowitzky. “One of the things that really cheered me up and got me through my recovery, my rehab, was my dog–my best friend, Love.”
Renowitzky said Love is also an inspiration to others he meets in his work as an anti-violence advocate and with those who have suffered similar injuries.
“She goes out with me to speeches at boys’ and girls’ clubs, high schools, middle schools–wherever I can–to share my story,” he said. “When I go to [hospitals] to visit patients with spinal cord injuries or paralysis … she’ll hop onto hospital beds and lick newly-injured patients to cheer them up. She knows what I’ve been through. ”
“She not only means a lot to me and she means a lot to a lot of other people out there.”
Following his injury, Renowitzkly–an aspiring rap artist–began the Life Goes On Foundation to keep youth away from guns and violence.
Renowitzky was also the subject of a documentary that highlighted his story and his ongoing crusade to help young people avoid violence and overcome obstacles.