In life, as in death, there are some unforgettable people who we all mourn upon their deaths. Dog lovers everywhere know the heartbreak of the loss of a pet, too, and wish to share sympathy with the family.
Everyone who has watched “The Dog Whisperer,” Cesar Millan, knows about “Daddy,” perhaps the most renowned pit bull in America.
Daddy was 16 when he died on Feb. 19, 2010. He was Cesar’s best dog friend; he was the calm, submissive, balanced member of the pack who Cesar relied on for his doggy wisdom.
Cesar’s friend and co-author (they’re writing their 5th book together now), Melissa Jo Peltier, wrote a touching memoriam on behalf of Daddy, which I think is worth sharing. This came in my e-mail box today from cesarsway.com.
Melissa met Cesar in 2004 to interview him on behalf of the MPH Entertainment partners. Cesar, and his wife, Ilusion, walked into the conference room with Daddy, off leash. She said he was a tough-looking golden pit bull with a “tiger-sized head” who crawled under the table by her feet. She removed her shoe and rubbed his belly with her foot. She said he was “mellow, gentle and tolerant.”
They proceeded with the interview while she continued massaging Daddy with her foot, which he seemed to greatly enjoy. She learned that Cesar always took Daddy along for interviews because he “trusted Daddy’s innate reaction to people and animals implicitly.”
It was because of this meeting that Cesar decided to do the now-popular show, “The Dog Whisperer.” Melissa didn’t learn till later that it was Daddy who made the decision. Cesar told her that if Daddy had reacted negatively, as he had to several other producers, Cesar would have simply walked away. Cesar told her that dogs could sense when things were wrong. You can lie to people, but not to dogs.
Melissa said she came to know Daddy personally by working with Cesar through many episodes. She said Daddy had the wonderful qualities of “serenity, wisdom, and balance.” Cesar often used Daddy to help with difficult cases like fearful or aggressive dogs that didn’t respond well to Cesar’s regular rehabilitation efforts.
As Daddy slowed with age, which became quite noticeable during his last two weeks, Cesar did all he could for his friend. Daddy had arthritis, was totally deaf and almost blind. Cesar used water therapy, weekly acupuncture and massage therapy, but Daddy deteriorated rapidly.
After death, the most any of us can do is to allow someone’s spirit – including dogs like Daddy – to live on in our memories. Melissa said, when she was around Daddy, she could feel a “palpable sense of peace and serenity.” Recently, she said, while visiting Cesar’s California ranch, his dog psychology center, she could still feel Daddy’s presence. She offered words of comfort to all who love dogs: “You changed my life, and I feel so blessed to have known you.”
There are some as-yet unaired episodes of Cesar and Daddy. If you haven’t “met” Daddy, tune in to “The Dog Whisperer” on the National Geographic Channel and meet one of those rare souls who touch people with a kind of “magic.” If you’ve already met him, you can simply enjoy these last episodes in his memory.
I, myself, will never forget Daddy, the pit bull.
As Melissa said, “Rest in peace, my pit bull friend.”
Cesar and his wife, Ilusion, have created an animal rescue fund in honor of Daddy: “Daddy’s Emergency Animal Rescue (DEAR) at http://www.millanfoundation.org.
Source: Melissa Jo Peltier. “Remembering Daddy (My Friend and Colleague).” Http://www.cesarsway.com/news/remembering-daddy. Retrieved 2-28-10.