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Little Tuxedo for a Big Heart

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Brigh's TuxedoI’ve heard that the best thing to do when the world feels dark is to send out a little light of your own. Whether you visit nursing homes, give blood, feed the homeless, crochet blankets for the needy, or knit caps for preemies, doing something for someone else helps keep you connected to the world, helps you see the bigger picture, and just plain feels good.

I want to introduce you to two amazing souls who are helping the world one animal at a time. Bob Krugmire fosters animals for three different shelters and rescue programs in the Denver metro area and provides photography services for Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies and Denver Boxer Rescue (in addition to several other non-profit organizations). Over the years, he’s welcomed into his home everything from puppies and kittens to ferrets and a scorpion. Most recently he even adopted a pair of sugar gliders! But of all of Bob’s animals, one pooch in particular has really captured my heart. I think you too will find him to be quite the charmer and a real inspiration.

Meet Brigh. He’s a one-year-old, three-legged darling of a dog. Bob isn’t 100% sure of his breed, but personally, I think he’s all Muppet. Brigh had a really rocky start to his life. He was found on the streets, with a badly broken leg. He had been severely abused. Yet with the help of some generous and talented humans, his life turned around. Bob had this to say about the experience:

“Often, I take in the worst abuse cases that really need that extra love to learn trust again. Brigh was an extreme case of abuse that came in through Lakewood ACO (Animal Control). His level of abuse was such that they made the decision (lifesaving) to remove his front leg. At the same time, I was enjoying a serious lung infection brought about through bronchitis and was essentially languishing at home on the couch. Since I was there 24/7, I was quick to agree to foster this little four-month-old pup who was recovering from this extreme surgery. From the moment he entered my home (one day after surgery) he has been the happiest, bounciest, most social little guy I have ever seen. What could have been an emotionally crippling event (abuse, suffering, surgery, loss of a limb) had absolutely no impact on Brigh’s joy for life every single day. Before I knew it, his happy personality had won me over and he became a permanent member of the household!!”

To put it simply, Brigh is vivacious. His energy and light surpass his foot-tall frame. Just to be in his presence is enough to make you smile. Because I can’t have pets at my apartment, I like to visit Bob’s crew to get my pet fix. I love sitting in his backyard and watching them all play together. Whenever I visit, Bob will invariably have a foster or two and often even a friend’s dog he’s pet sitting in addition to his own dogs (Bear, Brigh, and Bailey). I can’t get enough of them. What’s really cool is watching how Bob and his dogs help the newcomers to relax and feel at home. They’re like a dog-therapy team!

Brigh“Often, the pups that come to me as fosters have seen some level of abuse,” Bob explains, “ranging from Brigh’s extreme level down to simple neglect and isolation. Having a house with my very social dogs provides a stable, canine-friendly environment where new, often shy and frightened dogs can sense that this is a safe place. The first few days typically consist of nothing more than quietly sitting with a new foster, holding them (often for the first time in their life) and letting them just be with my dogs. Bear, Bailey, and Brigh have all developed a sense of who needs quiet companionship and who enjoys rough and tumble play. I have seen dogs so afraid that they won’t even walk on their own, after a few days being in the pup-friendly environment of what I call the ‘crazy house,’ totally open up and start to once again enjoy life. Seeing a dog that had completely shut down emotionally learn to feel and express joy and eventually go to their loving forever home is what drives me to continue this work.”

The world needs more people like Bob. Talking with him for this interview reminded me that the key to happiness might very well be service. Use what brings you joy in life to lend joy to the lives of others.

When I first met Brigh he was wearing a little red sweater. I know you won’t be surprised to hear that my reaction was “If anyone deserves a custom crochet sweater, it’s this little guy.” Because while Bob reaches out by fostering animals, I use crochet to help people smile. And don’t you think Brigh looks quite dapper in his new tuxedo? He’s ready for his next red carpet charity event!

(For those crocheters out there, stay tuned! Next month I’ll be sharing more ways that we can use our craft to give back.)

And finally, I asked Brigh a few interview questions too!

What is your favorite game to play? What game do you really excel at?

“I love playing chase with Dad in the evening. For some reason, he thinks it’s important to sleep inside, so when I have my final potty break, I’ll often grab a toy and then Dad will chase me around the yard while I tease him. He says I’m much faster because I have one more leg than he does.  My other favorite game that I am really good at is rough and tumble, which I love to play with Izzie and Bridget, my two best pup pals. They are bigger than me, so I can scoot between their legs faster than anything!!”

What is your favorite food?

“Earlier this year, dad introduced me to Greenies and carrots!!  My big brother Bailey says that Greenies are the bestest treat ever, and I think I agree!  I love carrots to, probably because they make so much wonderful crunchy noise when I eat them!”

Other than your new tuxedo, of course, what is your favorite outfit?

“I love my new tuxedo!!  I am still getting used to the tie (Dad says that most guys have trouble with ties, so I don’t feel so bad about that).  I really love my new walkies harness that Dad got me for my first birthday!! It is made special for three-legged pups like me, and even has a special clip to keep me safe in Dad’s convertible Mini Cooper!!”

Isn’t he something? If you’d like to follow the adventures of Brigh, he’s got his own Instagram account: @cassidy_brigh

Bob is also an amazing photographer, specializing in animal portraits and macro photography. In fact, I recently took his macro class at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colorado and I highly recommend it. You can check out his macro photography on Instagram at @faelgaulds and contact him for pet portraits at bobkrugmire@mac.com. Thanks to Bob for photographing Brigh for this story!

If you’d like to make a tuxedo like Brigh’s, see the pattern details on Ravelry at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-barking-groom-tuxedo-and-top-hat. (At the time of this writing, the pattern is free.)

Thanks Bob and Brigh for sharing your story with us!

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9 thoughts on “Little Tuxedo for a Big Heart

  1. What a great post, great dog, great peep, great pattern and great YOU! My Jack Russell would look even more handsome in that TUX!

  2. So sweet! Did you know that a sweater also feels like a hug to a dog:)

  3. What a dapper little doggie! Now I wonder where I can find a couple of adorable little sugar gliders….

    • I know, they look so cute. I’m hoping to meet Bob’s sugar gliders in person someday soon, but that means I have to stay up past 8:00 and, well, that doesn’t happen very often.

  4. What a great story. Thanks for sharing it with us. Give Bob a big hug for being such a great guy.

    • Thanks, D’Ann! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Bob really is a great guy. It was my pleasure to share his story with you. I’ll be sure to give him a big hug… and one for little Brigh, of course, too!