John Witt hates to give up Lola, but insists on visitation rights if he can find the toy fox terrier a home in the Gulfport area.
Witt is moving from Indiana to the Armed Forces Retirement Home. At 78, he is ready to leave behind yard work and snow. Parting with Lola will be difficult, especially considering how she joined the family. But the AFRH has its rules.
“No pets, no guns,” Witt said. “When you’ve got a bunch of old coots around, that’s the last thing you need.”
The Navy retiree has been methodical about the move. He recently placed a classified ad in the Sun Herald: “Seeking retiree(s) to adopt female Toy Fox Terrier. Daddy moving into retirement center within next 3-6 months. Call John at 574-215-9488 for information. Basic requirements are fenced yard, lots of love and visiting rights.”
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Witt, reached by telephone Tuesday morning, said: “If I had two or three people that were interested, I would put her in the car, come down, let her interview people and ask her which one she liked the most.”
As he said, “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.”
Witt lost his wife of almost 30 years, Judith Ann, to cancer six years ago. About nine months before she died, Witt was walking through the bedroom. They already had two dogs at the time, Blu and Vinnie. But Blu was a little big, and Judith and Vinnie didn’t really get along.
“She looked at me, she said, ‘John, we are going to get another dog.’ ”
“I said, ‘Yes ma’am.’ ”
“She said, ‘It’s going to be a toy fox terrier and we are going to name her Lola.’ I said, ‘Yes, ma’am.’ ”
Lola was six weeks old when she arrived. The pup spent the next nine months snuggled up to Judith Ann Witt. When she passed away, Lola took up with Blu, a Weimaraner. When Blu had to be put to sleep, Lola moved on to Vinnie, an Italian greyhound. Vinnie is gone now, too.
Lola and Witt are tight. Fetch is their favorite game. Lola also enjoys chasing the neighborhood kids up and down the fence row.
“She’s just so much enjoyment to me,” Witt said. “I’ve got somebody to talk to besides myself and the walls. She’s a cuddler.
“She’s a good, healthy dog. She’s got her own mind, like a lot of women.”