Harrison County

‘She was my baby for seven years,’ Dad says of pup he had to give up

Lola has loved and lost, but she is always ready to love again.

The toy fox terrier spent the first nine months of her life in bed with Judith Ann Witt, who was dying of cancer. After she passed away, husband John Witt became Lola’s person.

They spent seven years together, losing two other dogs to illness along the way. At last, 78-year-old Witt tired of shoveling snow in Indiana and decided it was time to make his move to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The retired Navy man signed up for an apartment at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport. No dogs are allowed.

He ran an advertisement in the Sun Herald to find a home for Lola. The ad caught the newsroom’s attention and a story about Lola’s quest for a home appeared in March.

Witt said the article elicited 15 to 20 responses. He narrowed those to four or five prospects.

He loaded Lola up in the car and they headed to the Coast so she could interview potential owners.

Yes, Lola is spoiled. She traveled on a dog bed atop three pieces of foam so she could see out the window.

Lola settled on Thanos and Liz Kosmopoulos, who live in Biloxi. He is retired from the Army and social work, while she is still employed as a social worker. They have a Papillon, a toy spaniel, named Claude.

They recently lost to bone cancer a mastiff named Stella. Stella was dying when Liz Kosmopoulos saw the story about Witt and Lola. She called Witt.

Lola “spent the night with them and they got along,” Witt said Monday, as he dropped Lola off to be groomed before delivering her to her new owners.

“This is worse than selling my house,” he said.

One stipulation of the adoption was that Witt has visitation rights. He stopped by Tuesday afternoon to check on Lola. She sat in the chair with him during his visit, then played outside with Claude.

“Claude is the more exuberant personality,” Thanos Kosmopoulos said. “This one is more reticent,” he said, pointing to Lola, “but she is so cute and so easy.”

Her ears always seem to be standing at attention. Kosmopoulos put Lola in her doggie bed next to his side of the bed Monday night. In the middle of the night, she somehow cajoled her way into the people bed.

She likes to howl while Liz Kosmopouslos plays the flute, the couple has already discovered.

John Witt shed more than one tear during the transfer, but he believes Lola is in the right place.

“She's been my baby for seven years,” he said. “And it’s just been me and her.”