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My View: Dogs can change your life forever

By Vickie Rubin

His nickname was Mr. Handsome, and although I loved him, I also knew he wasn’t that handsome. But he was beautiful to me from his skinny legs to his unique crimped tail. He was sometimes called Stick-dog, a more accurate portrayal; however, his given name was Cicero. Cicero was our first Italian greyhound.

The breed is also referred to as “I.G.” or “Iggy,” and I didn’t want to adopt him! Cicero was 15 pounds, quite large for the breed. We already had a huge dog and three kids, and our daughter needed 24/7 care due to her disabilities.

My son Alex worked at a kennel at the turn of the century – the year was 2000. He often spoke about an Iggy who was rehomed and living in a cage because the first owners were unable to care for him.

Iggys are not easy dogs to care for – they think housebreaking is for those “other” breeds, and their size and thin legs are often the cause of unintentional injuries. So when Alex suggested bringing home Cicero to join our fur family, I said “no!” Alex won this one (not an uncommon occurrence) and Cicero came home for a visit.

I didn’t know love at first sight happened between humans and dogs, but from the moment Cicero pranced into our home he was ours or, better said, mine. Alex had dreams of taking Cicero to college, but within one year, I said Alex was free to go to college but Cicero was staying right here.

Dogs can truly make a difference in your life. Cicero became my fur-buddy; we ran, walked and played. He was always in my lap with his head on my shoulder. Cicero is the reason that we have had Italian greyhounds ever since.

When Cicero was 14, he started slowing down and we knew the end was near. One day, Cicero was unable to stand and my husband and I took him to the vet to help him travel over the rainbow bridge – a common phrase when a pet passes, referrin to “The Rainbow Bridge Poem – The Beautiful Journey of a Pet after Death.”

Two years ago our current Iggy, Daniel, and I went to a craft fair and we met a man in his 20s who asked if he could pet Daniel. We started talking and he told me that when he was a child, they had an Italian greyhound for a short period and he adored the dog.

We continued to chat and he revealed his dog’s name was Cicero, and although they loved the dog his family was unable to care for him. I stared at him wondering if this could really be such a coincidence. I said that I had a dog named Cicero that had lived with another family for the first year of life. Could it be?

I showed him a photo and he agreed that my dog looked like Cicero and then we both mentioned the crimped tail. Yes, it was Cicero’s first owner. I told him that Cicero went on to have a beautiful life and was truly loved by his human family.
Was it a coincidence or did Cicero’s have a paw in our chance meeting?

Back to 2017 and our Iggy Daniel. Daniel’s superpower is his temperament, he recently became a certified SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love Dog.

He and I to bring smiles to patients in hospitals. I think Cicero opened my door to explore new experiences with pups, including meaningful volunteer opportunities.

Dogs truly impact your life and, if you are paying attention, can send you on an interesting new path.

Vickie Rubin, of Williamsville, recalls Cicero, a one-of-a-kind Iggy.
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