Puccini Ardillo, an Ode to a Fine Dog

After a brief illness attributed to old age, Puccini Ardillo, born February 8, 2007, passed away on October 31, 2022, in the loving arms of his family. A dog of many monikers, he was known as the little prince, boo boo, Pucci, and rascal. He is survived by Michelle and Tom, and his sissies Margaret and Madeline, who spent many hours playing with him during their breaks from college. He is also survived by his “other sissies” Kate, Danielle, and Jaqueline. 

Before becoming a member of the Ardillo household, Puccini lived with Sister Marie de Sales, SSND, for four years. When Sister Marie had to move away from the area in 2011, she graciously gifted Puccini to the Ardillos, and as with all open adoptions, Sister Marie is now a dear friend of the family. As first-time dog owners, Tom and Michelle quickly adapted to Puccini’s schedule and spent more time outdoors, walking the neighborhood and meeting people up and down the street. Puccini will be fondly remembered by his neighborhood friends: Kevin the contractor, the Yorks, the Foxes, Tom across the street, Bob down the street, and Susan, as well as frenemies Belle and Indy, the late Audrey, Luna,  Zoe, Charlie the Maine coon, grey Cooper, the late brown Cooper, Bailey, the late Lubby, the late Smokey Ardillo, and many others. 

When Tom and Michelle traveled, Puccini was fortunate enough to vacation with good friends Joe and Mary Ann, whose daughter Teresa was responsible for introducing Tom and Michelle to Sister Marie, even though Teresa thought he was a West Highland White Terrier instead of the glorious specimen of a Maltipoo that he was.

In his later years, Puccini became quite the picky eater, sampling and rejecting the finest wet and dry prescription dog foods money can buy. His favorite foods were rotisserie chicken from Don Pollo’s, Kraft’s singles, McDonald’s fries, and white basmati rice made in Michelle’s rice cooker. Always a snazzy dresser, Puccini favored his turquoise blue owl sweater gifted to him by his sissie Margaret. He detested, however, his army green rain jacket. A champion napper, he loved sleeping on his sofa in the den, with his blue blankie and squishy pillow, or on the couch in the living room, nestled in Michelle’s tartan blanket from Scotland. He spent every night happily sleeping on his orange bandana quilt in Michelle and Tom’s bed, taking up as much room as possible for a 15-pound dog, causing Michelle to sleep in various positions resembling punctuation marks. 

Puccini loved his morning walks with Tom, unmaking freshly made beds, rearranging throw pillows, standing stock still on the patio with the wind in his hair and the sun on his face, laying on Tom in the recliner while they pretended to “watch” tv but were really snoozing, crossing the street in the dark of night for his last trip out before bedtime, and summer time when Michelle was home all day with him. He loved when his sissies visited, Margaret shouting “PUCCINI” as soon as she came in the door, and Maddie snuggling with him on his sofa while she wrote stories on her laptop. He loved sitting in on all of Michelle’s zoom tutoring sessions, scoring perfect attendance during the pandemic when Michelle taught from home. Her students loved seeing him on zoom, as he listened with rapt attention as Michelle reviewed comma rules or explained the differences between foreshadowing and red herrings. 

His dislikes were legendary in the neighborhood as he battled daily with the onslaught of delivery trucks on his street: the brown one, the white one, and most particularly, the red, white, and blue one. He could hear or smell a mail carrier half a block away and would wait attentively at the window or door for the danger that lurked ahead as the mail was placed in his box. Years ago he made his peace with the squirrels and deer, but the little dark brown chipmunk on his patio continued to vex him all the days of his life. 

He will be greatly missed by all who knew him, but most of all by Michelle and Tom, who adored him and will never forget him. They take comfort in a statement made by Pope Paul VI who said, “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ.” Rest in peace, little prince, rest in peace.