I AM VIRAGO: RAIZO TAKEYAMA

Full Name: Raizo Fitzgerald Takeyama (Ri-Zo)

Nick-name: Rize / Rye-Rye

Occupation or dream job: I live my dream job every day. I make sure to protect and love my best friend and owner, JJ, every chance I get. It is very hard to get him up in the mornings but once he is up, we have the best time together. I travel with him often and love the adventures he takes me on. Except for that time he clipped me onto his surfboard; that was terrible. In the end, I’m a dog that resides in beautiful San Diego, California. So ya… nothing is really that ruff ;) 

Home-town: La Mirada, CA

Fitness Secret: Running. I love running. JJ and I run to the beach in the mornings. I also enjoy fetching various objects and bringing it back for JJ to throw again. He sadly gets tired after a few hours of playing though. I only eat twice a day (not by choice). JJ serves me only the best in Blue Buffalo kibble. A few times a week he does mix pumpkin puree and shredded chicken into my meals. One health tip I do live by though is to always have that one cheat meal and enjoy every last bite of it. I don’t get bacon or a rib bone too often, but when I do I savor every moment of it. JJ calls it “Treating yo self!”. However, it seems like he treats himself more frequently than me…

Causes or organizations close to the heart: Obviously I’m a huge supporter and member of the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Other organizations I enjoy supporting is the PAWS Humane Society, Hope for Paws, and I support my local PetSmart Charity. (Shout out to PetSmart 92109!)

Turning Struggle into Strength:
A few years back I was attacked by a Pitbull. It was a dog that JJ and I both trusted, and for the first hour of our play date everything seemed fine. Then out of nowhere the mood changed. It happened so fast, but within moments I was pinned to the ground and the Pitbull had his jaws clamped around my neck. I couldn't breath. I couldn't move, and I wondered if these were going to be my last moments.

But there was JJ. He pried the Pitbull off of me, and put pressure on the two gaping holes in my neck. As JJ picked me up and ran for the door, I began to lose consciousness but I knew I was going to be alright in my best friends arms. I woke up at the Veterinarian's office, delirious and feeling like I had just been run over by a Chow Chow. After a few nights stay and a blood transfusion, I was released and the road to recovery began. Many dogs my size don't wake up after a fight like that but I survived the attack due to my body being in good shape and having the proper neck muscles to prevent any severe damage to my vital neck organs. I did lose a lot of blood but the Vet said that being healthy probably extended my time on route to the emergency room.

In the end, I just know I’m a fighter. I live to see what the next day entails and what new adventures a new day will bring. Real strength means to conquer the struggle at hand and overcome it. No matter what obstacles are in the way.

-Raizo