Mario was a gift in more ways than one. He was born on October 8, 1999 to Summer Pumpkin in Verona, MO. That is what our Founder, Janine Dion’s husband, Tom, was told and what Mario’s pedigree states. Mario was “shipped” to Long Island and placed in Janine’s arms on December 23, 1999, as a carefully planned Christmas surprise.
What we didn’t know was that Mario was a victim of puppy mill breeding and soon became a very sick pup. For the first six months of his life, Mario was treated for every conceivable form of bacterial infection and was not allowed to socialize with other animals or even play outdoors. He was under the constant care of a veterinarian and spent months on medication.
Mario’s challenging puppyhood taught us that like humans, animals thrive with love and patience. After seeing Mario in such a fragile and dependent state, Janine realized how desperately pets need us to understand and anticipate their needs. Adopting Mario into the Dion family was a choice, and with it came the responsibility to keep him happy and healthy.
Dion came to recognize that Mario had ways of expressing his happiness, sadness, hunger, thirst and desire to romp outside with nature. “He has taught us that if we listen with our hearts, we can learn a great deal from our furry friends,” she said.
All animals deserve a voice – especially those abused, abandoned or neglected. Pet Peeves recognizes this need and provides financial support to organizations that enable them to be heard and to heal as well as those who foster compassionate connections between people and animals through therapeutic initiatives and humane education programs. The power of the bond between animals and humans is immeasurable. Mario made that message loud and clear, and Pet Peeves was born.
Mario’s life presented many challenges as he was chronically ill – the classic signs of puppy mill breeding. Thanks to the Dions’ endless devotion to him, he lived a long and happy life. Mario passed away peacefully on July 2, 2013. He was in the presence of those he loved most, and in the same arms in which he was placed when he arrived home. He will always be our hero as his struggle has inspired us to realize how fragile life is and how every creature deserves to be loved and treated with kindness – just as Mario was. We know he will continue his work from a higher post.
At the time of his passing, Pet Peeves had raised nearly $1 million for Long Island based charities that aid desperate animals… all because of the inspiration of one adorable little apricot poodle pup with endless spirit and the heart of a lion. Our work will continue.
Well done, Mario. Good boy. RIP sweet one.