Piccolo the Wondermutt: 1996 (?) - January 20, 2010.

Dear friends, I'm very sad to inform you all that Piccolo, one of the truly great dogs, left us on January 20.

She had been in declining health since the end of last year. In early January, she began to lose her appetite, and I took her in (again) to see a vet. This time she was diagnosed with kidney failure, and the prognosis was very poor -- I was advised that there was nothing to be done except euthanasia.

Rather than make a hasty decision, I went to Falls Road Animal Hospital for a second opinion. Piccolo spent a week in intensive care there, and while her urea, creatinine, and phosphorus levels came down (though still not to normal levels), she did not regain her appetite. She was apparently feeling nauseous, possibly due to ulcers. She was put on stomach protectants, but still didn't start eating.

I brought her home on Saturday, and while I continued to care for her, administering subcutaneous fluids and the stomach meds and trying to tempt her with old favorite foods and many new options, she didn't improve. While she was not in pain, because she was weakening and lethargic, and apparently dizzy and confused, and still not eating or showing signs of recovery, I made the very difficult decision that rather than let nature take its course, I would choose euthanasia on her behalf. She passed peacefully here at home while I was with her.

I'm very glad that Saturday, the day I brought her home, was also the day of my 40th birthday party. I'm grateful that this meant that many friends were able to come and say farewells to this wonderful dog in the final days of her life.

Piccolo came into my life after Denise Cherubini found her on the street on May 14th, 1997. Piccolo had apparently been hit by a car, and Denise rushed her to the vet. She made a full recovery, and accompanied Denise when she moved to New Haven, Connecticut. But the arrangement didn't work out, so Piccolo came to live with me. (Piccolo was named by Denise, not after the instrument, but from the Italian word for "small".)

About a month later, we came to find out that Piccolo had been pregnant the whole time, carrying four healthy puppies through vehicular assault, exposure, malnutrition, a respiratory infection, and even a case of tapeworm. She was truly a strong dog. I kept the only male pup and named him "Chewbacca", he is the other dog in some of the photos below. Chewie passed on in November, a few months before his mom.

Piccolo was quite a fighter. She and Chewie would often tussle, and even though she was smaller, she would usually win. She would employ good strategy -- getting under a table or something where Chewie couldn't get at her, then darting out to get him. One time she got him chasing her across the yard, then she stopped suddenly, turned at right angles, and crouched down. Chewie hit her at withers height and went rolling -- it was like dog judo.

But she was also a gentle mothering soul. One time I found her in the back yard, laying down next to a nest of baby rabbits, as if they were her puppies.

If you have comments or memories of Piccolo to share, please enter them at the end of the page -- they'll be e-mailed to me and I'll add them. Thank you. -Tom

Piccolo hanging out with Zoey the cat


Tom... how many years hae I known you? I remember when you got her, the whole story about Denise finding her and so forth. Those were the days of Funks; of being in our twenties. You are SO lucky you had them both as long as you did. I was one of your dogsitters back in the day, loved that delicate, little puppy-faced dog so much... sitting on the couch and snuggling, watchng her play with Chewie as you mentioned, and always getting a good howl in during the visit. You always said she was - pound for pound - the toughest dog on the block. You were he father, master and friend and for both of your sakes, I'm glad you found each other. I'm so sorry for the loss you're experiencing. We're here for you. *huge hug*

You both knew how to bite me just right in the morning...sigh

it was a happy family

Well, that little Picolo, always with a sweet disposition but when playing loved to act all super fierce and tough. Through it all she just kept on going, back problems and all. Where Chewy could be bad, Picolo would be good or at least sneaky! She had a puppy face to the end and I will always remember her as the little bit of sweetness that she was. blessingstransformationjoy

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