Remembering Dante
by Anthony Davi | Little Italy Tourism
12:01 PM, Friday, April 13
He was arguably the most well known canine of his day in San Diego's Little Italy-- a neighborhood that has come to be one of the most pet friendly in the county. 'Dante' the beloved Maltese of Little Italy's well known Pecoraro family, passed away after a short illness on Saint Joseph's Day March 19th, at the Bodhi Veterinary Clinic and Animal Hospital. He was 15 years old.

He is survived by the family patriarch Nick, his wife Joanne, and their sons Onofrio and Jack. A sister Zina, who now lives in Rome, Italy was originally Dante's owner. She was involved in the medical decisions regarding Dante's care right up until the end, consulting over the phone from Rome with the vets at the Bodhi Veterinary Hospital.

Dante was seen as one of Little Italy's goodwill ambassadors--perhaps one might dare to say even a canine mayor of sorts, greeting those on two feet or four as they passed the Pecoraro family compound. The Pecoraro home, where Dante held court, is arguably Little Italy's most palatial old school home. It is located right under the Little Italy-San Diego neon sign, that towers over the midpoint of San Diego's Italian quarter, where the Pecoraro family resides and operate their successful painting/contracting business.

Everyone seemed to know Dante in Little Italy. Residents greeted him in English and sometimes even in a few words in Sicilian. He went for at least three walks a day around Little Italy. The first was in the morning usually with Onofrio and then with Nick around 1pm and then again around 10-11pm. Dante liked to nap in the afternoon and would sometimes scold passersby if they made too much noise as they strolled past the Pecoraro home. According to Mrs. Pecoraro, Dante loved pasta, filet mignon, chicken and fish. He also loved to sunbathe & watch tv in the evening with the family.

Dante was buried at the San Diego Pet Memorial Park. Father Joe, the Pastor from Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Little Italy, came to give a final blessing. The San Diego Pet Memorial Cemetery, is a peaceful hamlet in San Diego's Carroll Canyon that has become a sanctuary for many animals indigenous to San Diego such as quail, doves, deer and rabbits. In the triangular chapel at the memorial park, under an ancient live oak tree, Dante lay at rest for a final viewing by his loved ones. Something caught Onofrio's eye in the small candlelit chapel--a bottle of SmartWater®. Onofrio is a self-admitted 'big fan' of the popular water and buys it by the case. "Dante always saw me with a bottle of SmartWater® in my hand," Onofrio said with great emotion. "I queried the manager to ask if anyone could have been in or around the chapel before the family had arrived. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that bottle there." According to Onofrio, no one was around or had been that could have left that. "In my mind," Onofrio, related, "I felt it was Dante's way of saying to us--'life will go on--I'm going to be ok and so will you.'"

A headstone will be placed at the pet cemetery in the coming weeks marking Dante's final resting place...

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