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Remembering Rambo, the stray that won the hearts of a community

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Every stray has a tale. Imagine the stories they could tell if they could speak! Stories of abuse, neglect, and abandonment that would break our hearts. Some people look at stray dogs and cats as a nuisance, problematic to society. But one stray dog who made his appearance five years ago in the towns of Surfside and Bal Harbour Florida was special and touched the lives of all who knew him. He was a Boxer/Pit Bull mix and was given the name "Rambo" by the local police department for his elusive way of outwitting them and avoiding capture.

According to residents Rambo appeared in the town about 5 years ago and happily made his home on the beach. Walking south on the beach is the Town of Surfside and walking north on the same beach is Bal Harbour. So, he was adopted by all the residents from both communities who fed him and looked out for him. He accompanied them on their walks and especially loved little dogs. He also lived in perfect harmony with the community of feral cats on the beach that are cared for by the neighborhood spay/neuter/catch and release cat program.

Although there were many attempts to capture him, his will was to live free on the beach. Many of the town's residents live in condos which don't allow large dogs but they still managed to make a connection with this sweet, loving handsome boy. Many began feeding him regularly. One woman gave him a hamburger every evening. One man would ring a bell on his bicycle until Rambo would come running to get a sausage treat.

Rambo was a free spirt and although he belonged to no one he was everyone's dog

Although Rambo was enjoying his life of freedom running the beaches, residents wanted to see him in a permanent, safe environment. Recently efforts were being made to rescue him and prepare him for an adoptive home. There was a waiting list of adopters wanting to take him in and give him a forever home.

Unfortunately, before this could happen, dear Rambo's life was cut short. On the morning of Nov. 4th, he was hit by a car in Surfside. But Rambo did not want to die in the streets. He managed to make it all to the way to his beloved beach. He collapsed and died with his eyes open. His last view as he felt his life ebbing away was of the beach and the ocean, his home for 5 years He was buried right there by the construction workers who were on a project and loved him too.

Following his death there was a huge outpouring of grief by the local residents. Rambo had touched so many lives, not by doing anything extraordianry but by being his spunky, lovable, courageous self. He embodied a spirit of freedom and the joy of living which attracted so many to him.

But Rambo will not be forgotten! At this time Surfside resident Susan Escayola has set up the Rambo Memorial Fund as a way of immortalizing Rambo and financially benefitting Born Free Pet Shelter, a local no kill 501(c)(3) non profit organization that specializes in dogs like Rambo. From now until December 31st, 2013 a generous donor has agreed to match donations dollar for dollar up to $5,000.00. Also, the town of Surfside has generously agreed to pay for a memorial brick in Rambo's honor.

Although Rambo has passed his spirit is still touching lives. Susana Escayola has recently sponsored an urgent death row dog at Broward County Shelter in Rambo's honor. He, like Rambo was a Boxer mix. This poor dog only had a weekend until his time was up. Because of Rambo, this dog will live and go on to a forever home.

So rest in peace dear Rambo, your death was not in vain. You touched so many lives with a wag of your tail and your joyous acceptance of your lot in life. You brought a community together and made us kinder people. You taught us that the spirit of freedom and happiness are attainable for all no matter what our station in life is. So run free across that famous Rainbow Bridge where God is waiting to greet your beautiful spirit with open arms.

If you would like to help dogs like Rambo and contribute to his memorial, please send checks to:

Born Free Shelter, the Rambo Memorial Fund
c/o Sabrina Fasana
7532 Buccaneer Avenue
North Bay Village, Florida 33141

Or visit their Facebook Page; www.facebook.com/BornFreePetShelter.

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