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Back when Mr. Rizzuto and I were first dating he got a pit bull puppy.  She was the runt of the litter and had an extra toe because her father and brother were the same dog.  I think she was even hit by a car at some point.  Mr. Rizzuto rescued her from what was sure to be a life of crime.  He wasn’t sure he would be able to keep her so he didn’t pick out a name for her, he just called her Puppy.


Puppy never really had all of her marbles.  When I was pregnant with my oldest I was really afraid that we’d have to get rid of her.  You know what they say about pit bulls, I thought maybe she’d try to eat him or something.  I was pleasantly surprised when she accepted him as a member of the family.

Over the years Puppy has been through thick and thin with us.  As far as I’m concerned she was my first baby.  She even had puppies of her own.  We kept one of them, his name is Noggin Rizzuto.  But Puppy isn’t a puppy anymore.  In fact, she’s pretty old.  She doesn’t do much except sit at the top of the stairs and look worn out.  I think she’s going deaf too; either that or she’d just so old she doesn’t give a shit what anyone is saying anymore.  I’m scared to death that one day I’m going to wake up and step on a corpse.

The other day I found her sitting in her usual spot and decided to have a talk with the kids.  Dante anyway, Janey’s too young to understand anything.

You know,” I told him, “Puppy is really old.  She might not last very much longer.  I just want to prepare you for that.” “Oh no!” Dante said.  “What if she dies?”

“Well…that’s pretty much what I’m trying to tell you honey.  She might die soon.  We have to make sure to be really nice to her now.  Be sure you pet her or give her a hug every time you see her, OK?”


The three of us sat there for a few minutes petting her.  Dante looked pretty sad, so I put my arms around him.


“Puppy’s had a good life honey, we just have to remember that.  You’re very lucky to have had such a great pet your whole life.”


“If Puppy dies we’ll only have one dog left!” he said.


“I know honey.”


“Maybe we can get another pet.”


“We’ll see.”


“Can we get another pet?”


“Dante,” I said, “she isn’t dead yet.”


“I know.  But I’m just saying, if she dies.”


“Dude, she’s sitting right here!  Be cool, OK?”




I went about my business after that, but I heard him saying something to Puppy.  The next day I asked him what he told her.


“I told her not to worry, because in dog heaven there are trees that grow bones, dog biscuits and chew toys.”


“Oh,” I said.  “Where did you hear that?”


“I just made it up,” he said.  “But I think it’s true.”


Maybe I’m selfish, but dog heaven sounds like a pretty lonely place to me.  I’d rather she just stayed here with us.




  1. Thank you for telling “I’m emotional today Daners” this story so that she sits in her chair doing the rapidfacefanning so the tears don’t fall.

    I remember when we had to put my pup to sleep. She was like 15, survived two stomach tumors and a run in with a car, but, alas, arthritis got a hold of her and she could no longer use her back legs. Poor dear walked around dragging her legs 😦

  2. Aww. Noggin is a cute name.

    My pitbull was an angel… in fact, all 3 of them were.

    How sad though, I couldn’t imagine losing them that way. 😦

  3. This is why I don’t have pets. It’s heartbreaking when they die.

    Not that your dog will. Ever.

    My son got a teeny little dwarf hamster on Monday. Named him Skittles.

  4. oh, I really dont want to think about puppy heaven, my dog is getting pretty up there (but he’ll always be my puppy)

  5. Spike is never, ever allowed to be sick or hurt again. One dog-mauling amputation was trauma enough: now he’s the most indulged varmint this side of The Yearling.

    This was so sweet, man — I love you telling Dante to be nice to Puppy. You’re a cool mom.

  6. Daners: my first dog got hit by a car too, she ended up with arthritis and couldn’t move her back legs either (due to the earlier car accident), meds fixed it but she had a heart attack shortly before her 18th birthday. I was heartbroken.

    I hope puppy sticks around for a long time yet.

  7. You are a good mom, Wanda Rizzuto. You’ve done well by Puppy. (Sniff)

    I have to ask about Jackie’s son’s pet, though. Dwarf Hamster? What, regular hamsters are just too large and cumbersome?

  8. Well folks, at press time Puppy is stil kicking. She’s at the bottom of the stairs this morning.

  9. Jacks, Dante has been lobbying for a hamster or a bird for the longest time.

  10. Poor doggie.

    It’s amazing how fast the kids recover. After we had to put our fat cat down because I didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars trying to maybe save him, my daughter was campaigning for a new pet the next day. Buster’s ashes hadn’t even found an urn yet.

  11. i herd when dogs get older they egt a bit snappy b/c their hearing and eyesight is going.
    i’ve had artimus t. puss for about 2 o 3 yrs, and i wude be sad if something happened to him. oswald i’ve had for about a yr or 10 months, i’d be upset (to a lesser extent) if something happened to him. we really treat animals like members of the family in this society, which is good and bad

    a pitbull? man ur hubbie must really be down w/ “the swirl” haha naw jk pitbulls can be enjoyed by any race of people

    “Dante,” I said, “she isn’t dead yet.” i’m sorry buh i had to laff @ that!!

  12. “Dude, she’s sitting right here! Be cool, OK?”

    Wanda, you should write screenplays.

    * Sad about Puppy Rizzuto. Dog Heaven does sound kinda sad.


  13. Wow, stories like this really get to me, I love my dogs, more than some humans I know. I hope puppy has many more years left.

  14. I know this is a difficult thing to deal with even when there aren’t kids in the house. What an important conversation to have with Dante; he’s lucky to have a mom with the foresight to give him time to say good-bye while he can.

    I am in denial that our cats are aging but then they are, too. They are 11 and still chase their tails.

  15. Well, I’m crying. My dog is 5. Both cats are about 12. You’re familiar with Gus, right? I cry every time I look out the window and see him. I’m sure he’ll be the first to go, but for some reason I’ve been thinking about all of them leaving us lately.

    It’s menopause. Yeah, that’s it.

  16. Wanda, now that I’ve finished crying I just wanna give Puppy a big kiss (on the head, guys!!!). Only if she’s a kissy sort of dog, though. If she doesn’t like kisses, I’ll just give her a pat.

    I love my dogs (I’ve got 2 pugs) more than anything in the world. I don’t want to think about this sort of stuff when it comes to them. I think that they’ll live forever.

  17. Funny and touching … your son’s mildly-inappropriate enthusiasm regarding the prospect of a replacement pet was hilarious.

  18. You should hear his funeral plans. It involves a Pokemon tournament.

  19. Dude, I just wanted to sit down and group hug with y’all. (but I agree, “Dude, she’s sitting right here!” was a great line)

5 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By Daners LaRue Is Emotional « Fruitless Ramblings on 30 Jan 2008 at 10:34 pm

    […] Four of Sex and the City and cried again. Then she went over to Wanda’s syte and read about Puppy and the tears came back again. Thank God for The Simpsons and Family Guy so she could […]

  2. By Puppy Rizzuto at Dog and Puppy Stories on 18 Feb 2008 at 1:24 pm

    […] Wanda created an interesting post today (Puppy Rizzuto).Read a snippet here, but follow the link for the whole thing.Back when Mr. Rizzuto and I were first dating he got a pit bull puppy. She was the runt of the litter and had an extra toe because her father and brother were the same dog. I think she was even hit by a car at some point. … […]

  3. […] the new house Puppy Rizzuto has taken a turn for the worse. You remember Puppy, don’t you? I wrote about her a few months ago.  Maybe it’s because we were all in our comfort zones in our old house, but […]

  4. By Deadpan » Dog Is My Co-Pilot on 10 Sep 2008 at 11:28 am

    […] is Puppy Rizzuto’s son.  He’s a very interesting dog.  Despite his name, he isn’t the sharpest knife in the […]

  5. […] it’s been a sad week in the Rizzuto household.  I’ve been telling you about my dog, Puppy Rizzuto, and how she hasn’t been doing very well in the last year or so.  Well, a few days ago, […]

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