Series: Unconditional Love And Pet Adoption (#2 Willy)

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Jun 252019

Coach George DeMaio and his “son” Willy George.

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the name, “The Coach”?

Locally, it can only be one person. Like celebrities who are instantly known for their one-name identities — Cher, Madonna, or Bono, George DeMaio is recognized by two words, “the Coach.”

He may be the most respected and trusted sports guy in CT, covering a myriad of sporting events from little league and legion ball games to all of the High School sports. For example, you’ve seen him at his table in the corner of the court at the Amity basketball games broadcasting live on WELI 960 and ESPN Radio 1300-AM.

But sports isn’t the only thing George is passionate about, he also is a devoted adoptive dad to “hurricane” dogs.

Wally the Pomeranian was first. He came from Georgia and quickly bonded with his new dad, “the Coach.” The two were inseparable for several years, with the little white pup accompanying George to baseball games and on family vacations to Maine.

Sadly, it was during one of those Maine vacations in August 2017 that the Coach lost his boy. Wally woke up screaming in pain and the DeMaios brought him to an emergency clinic, but he couldn’t be saved. Their hearts broken, George’s wife said, “No more dogs.”

Soon after, during another devastating hurricane season George saw a cute little pup that was up for adoption at a Texas Shelter. He was waiting anxiously to hear when the dog would be boarding a plane to Massachusetts when Hurricane Harvey hit the Lone Star State, and the transport was delayed until the weather cleared.

A rescue group in Willimantic brought in a bunch of dogs from Texas, and that pup the Coach fell in love with was among them.

George picked the little terrier mix up on Sept. 12, 2017, and named his new son Willy George DeMaio.

Willy is a perfect match for this family, he shares a birthday with George’s father, Feb. 14th, Valentine’s Day. He’s socialized, well behaved and he loves going everywhere with his dad.

Willy is 4-years old and he’s been with the DeMaios for the past two years. He didn’t replace Wally, but he does fill the hole left in their hearts. This is what adoption does.

The Coach recommends adopting your next boy or girl from a shelter and giving him or her a chance at a full and happy life. He knows first-hand how both young and senior dogs can bring joy into your life. He foresees many happy years ahead with Willy, visiting Maine, watching games, and snuggling on the sofa.

If you are looking for a new companion, follow Coach DeMaio’s lead and check out the listings for a dog in need of a home at a shelter. Some have issues to work through, but most will give you unconditional love for many years to come.

If you are an adoptive pet parent and would like to have your companion featured here, give us a call at 203-506-1747 and leave a message, or send an e-mail and photos to orangectlive01@gmail.com. 

Series: Unconditional Love And Pet Adoption (#1 Franco)

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Jun 022019

Orange resident Denise Mirto and her faithful companion Franco.

Pet owners have known for a long time that a dog, cat, bird, fish, livestock, or reptile can teach a family valuable lessons on responsibility and caring.  

Those of us with pets also know about the unconditional love we share with them and the joy that they bring into our lives.

Ten years ago, in the summer of 2009, Bob and Denise Mirto decided it was time to adopt a shelter dog.

Their son and Bob’s secretary at his law office went to the West Haven animal shelter and brought home a small, 26-pound, longhaired adult male dog.

The Mirto’s instantly fell in love with him and named him Franco — after the Pittsburg Steelers’ running back, Franco Harris.

Just two weeks later, Denise learned that “The View” was doing a feature on rescue dogs. She sent in his photo and he was chosen to appear on the show. 

Franco and his new family were treated like celebrities. They were put up in a luxury hotel in New York City and Franco slept in the window and kept watch over the city that never sleeps from the 50th floor.

“The people at the studio told us that Franco was their favorite,” Bob said.

Sometime later, the family learned that Franco had an underactive thyroid, and started him on medication that mellowed him out.

“In the ten years that we had him, Franco only barked once, — at the cat,” Bob said. 

Franco became a fixture in the Mirto’s lives, they took him everywhere. Bob brought him to his West Haven Law Office, where he had a bed, greeted clients, and came to closings. West Haven High Students would come by at lunchtime and take him for a walk. He was very well behaved, and he loved visiting homes and the Orange Town Hall

Bob also was coaching the Orange Legion Baseball Team and Franco became the mascot, spending his time in the dugout during the games.

“He liked the attention that he got at the field, the boys loved him and high school girls would let him sit in their laps during the games,” Bob said.  “He was well traveled, he’s gone to Muzzy Field in Bristol, Palmer Field in Middletown for tournament games, and the last trip he took was the Bark at the Park at Yale.”

He loved to ride in the car and even had his own car seat.

If you know the Mirto family or attended a Legion Game in Orange in the past 10 years, then you knew Franco.

Sadly, this love story ended recently when Franco was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Before anything could be done, he died peacefully at home on Thursday, May 23. He was 14 years old.

As the news spread, the Mirtos were showered with messages of sympathy — 150 e-mails, phone calls, and cards.

“He touched so many lives,” Bob said. “We thank everyone so much for all the support we received in this very difficult time.”

He added, ” This just proves that you can take a skittish 4-year-old dog, show it love and have a remarkable relationship for 10 years.” 

This is the first in a series about pet adoption. Next Up Mi Sun, truly a rare find. 

If you would like to be featured in the series, send a photo and your information, including phone number to Orangectlive01@gmail.com

Two Dogs Find Homes At Raymour & Flanigan Event

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Oct 022016

dsc09751Every Fall, the Raymour & Flanigan furniture store on the Boston Post Road hosts a Pet Adoption/Awareness event.

James, the store manager said he likes seeing animals from local shelters going to forever homes after meeting families at the event.

Representatives from several businesses and organizations, including Pet Supplies Plus, set up tables inside the store and handed out samples, magnets and brochures. While outside, the truck from Northshore Animal League displayed several dogs and cats from local shelters that are available for adoption. (Two dogs were adopted today)

The EARS Rescue 2 Animal Ambulance was available for tours and also was accepting badly needed donations to cover its operating costs.

Shirley Nowinski, an EARS member and mother of founder Jon Nowinski said the ambulance has been extremely busy, but because it is a 100% volunteer organization that offers its ambulance services free of charge, donations are needed to keep it going strong.

Emergencies can happen at any time and you never know if or when your pet will need this service. Click HERE for information if you would like to make a donation.

Low Cost Vaccination Clinic in Orange on Saturday

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Apr 302015

Orange_CT_9019_Store_FrontPet Supplies Plus, 471 Boston Post Road, will host a low cost vaccination clinic, Saturday, May 2, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Services include vaccinations, microchipping, heartworm testing, flea and tick prevention, kitten and puppy vaccines provided by Healthy Pet Vet Plus.

In addition, the Good Shepherd Humane Society will have a rescue dog adoption    event on site from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

For more information, call 203-799-7387.