Her full name was Ch. Demi- Tasse of Plattekill, but everyone called her Demi. And that’s just plain DEM-ee, not the pretentious de-MEE. For despite being a rare breed, she was down to earth. Literally. She stood only about a foot off the ground.
From 2002 to 2013, she was a member of The Observer family, and even in the highpressure, sometimes caustic, world of journalism, she maintained her calm and her dignity.
Unless someone happened to have a bit of pizza crust or a scrap of buttered croissant or some other delicacy she craved. In which case, she would follow you about or plant herself at your feet, immovable, with pitiful, pleading eyes, until you succumbed to her silent demands.
Her “sister” Molly, had been the noisy one. Molly rarely left the side of her human, Lisa Pezzolla, and if Lisa left the office, you would soon hear mournful cries which would not abate until someone (usually me) went and got her and let her sit on their lap until Lisa returned. (Try typing on a keyboard sometime with a dog on your lap.) Molly died in 2011. And now Demi is gone too, having succumbed April 4 to kidney failure at the age of 18. Eighteen is about 85 in human years (using the new veterinarian calculations not old the 7-to-1 myth). But 85 years is far too short a span when that dog is dearly loved, as was Demi, not only by Lisa, but by everyone who came in contact with her gentle sweetness.
Demi touched many lives, and has an actual resume to prove it. The winner of many championship title, including best of breed (she was a Coton De Tulears) at a 1998 competition, she was on magazine covers and modeled for PSE&G. But just being pretty wasn’t enough. Demi was also a certified therapy dog, a member of Therapy Dogs International, working with — and spreading joy to — MS patients at the Preakness Health Care Center, children in the pediatric oncology unit at Hackensack Medical Center, and youngsters at the a children’s AIDS camp in Cold Spring, N.Y.
Because she was a female, I have referred to her as “she” throughout this, but everyone at the paper knows I was always certain “she” was really a “he.” While Molly was the perfect lady, Demi had the personality of a feisty little boy. The one time I saw (her) him completely shorn of his curly coat, he reminded me of a smaller version of Petey from “The “Little Rascals,” and he was a little rascal himself, through and through.
Sometimes, when I referred to Demi as a “he,” Lisa would correct me, and my response would be, “No, ‘she’ is a ‘he’ in drag.”
Now Molly and Demi are both gone, but those of us who believe in an afterlife, even for animals, now they are together again, somewhere filled with chew toys and places to romp and maybe even a few bits of pizza crust.
Observer Correspondent Kevin Canessa Jr. also mourned the loss. “Demi was amazing. I could have been having the absolutely worst day in the newsroom – but she had a sixth sense. And somehow, no matter what, on those days, she’d find her way right into the newsroom, to me at my desk. And the second she’d walk in, it would just instantly turn my day around for the better. She was special then, and always was. All she ever did was show love. And to say I will miss her is a great understatement. There are few dogs in the world like Demi was.”
Lisa offered this tribute: “Demi had a way to put a smile on your face. During her therapy work, it bought joy to me to watch her help others. I was blessed to have her in my life for 18 years. I will miss her in my arms at night and cuddling her in my arms. She lived a fun-filled life. Demi is now with her sister Molly.”
– Karen Zautyk