Searching for a good home for Brutus


He’s big, loving, laid back and in need of a good home. Currently in the care of Animal Medical Clinic of Woodland Park, Brutus the Great Dane and his late owner, Larry Class, 72, arrived on the door step of the clinic in October 2012.

Homeless and in need of medical attention for Brutus, Class heard about the good hearts at the clinic. Word gets around in a small town.

“Brutus’s leg was swollen, he had a huge bladder problem and it took three of us to get him out of the van,” said Terri Collins, who owns the clinic. “Brutus got hit by a car, on purpose, in a campground in Santa Fe.”

The two were on the last leg of a road trip from New Orleans where Class eked out subsistence after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his place of employment in a shelter run by a church.

In addition to being destitute and suffering the effects of a stroke, Class was grieving the death of his 20-year-old son. Rather whim or destiny, he and Brutus headed for Woodland Park in the van.

In a time when many are on the brink of losing it all, when survival can depend upon a spot of luck, the pair touched an emotional chord in Collins and David Volz, DVM.

While Volz repaired the dog’s leg and handled other medical problems, Collins offered Brutus a place to recover at the clinic. “Larry would come every day and sit with the dog for two hours,” Collins said.

Class, however, in addition to being homeless, was facing terminal illness. As Brutus recovered, Collins found temporary housing, eventually arranging for the two to live in a 5th Wheel trailer in Woodland Park.

“We arranged to have nurses there and one of the men in the trailer park was with Larry 24/7,” Collins said, adding that she visited nearly every day.

Donna Zinko was in the waiting room the day Class and Brutus arrived at the clinic. “We chatted awhile,” Zinko said.

Another rescue angel, Zinko, bought groceries, helped pay expenses and took Class to his doctor appointments in Colorado Springs.

“Larry was engaging, was quite a conversationalist,” Zinko said. “He could be ornery and was kind of a tease. He was very personable and we all enjoyed him.”

As death came nearer for Class, his neighbor at the trailer park, James Singleton, stayed with his new friend until he died from complications of COPD, lung and prostate cancer Dec. 8.

“Larry just had a personality; when he moved in he came over and brought me a box of food that he’d gotten from the Teller Senior Coalition,” Singleton said. “I told him I’d be with him until the end.”

Looking back on the past year and a half, Collins is emotional at times, the light in her eyes a reflection of something more than just happenstance.

“We don’t know how he ended up in our lives,” she said.

In the meantime, while Brutus, 8, seems to enjoy hanging out at the clinic, he still needs a good home. “Great Danes are not big runners,” Collins said. “They just want to lay around; they’re total people dogs.”

For information about possibly signing on to providing a home for Brutus, call the Animal Clinic of Woodland Park at 687-9406.


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