Remembering Dottie

Writing and publishing this post is not easy for me. For those that haven't followed the story, I've been very active in supporting my close friends and neighbors Ashley and Brett Affrunti who found a dog on the streets of South Slope in the middle of a major snow storm back in February. This beautiful creature, Dottie, was terribly abused, emaciated and ill. During the 59 days they had her, the Affrunti's nursed Dottie back to health from incredibly trying ailments such as Lyme Disease, kidney failure and a huge gaping wound on her rear end. With the help of a supportive online community, they raised enough funds to treat all of these issues and bring awareness to Dottie's journey. Hundreds of people were involved in Dottie's recovery, rooting for her along the way. After 9 long weeks, Dottie was finally ready to be adopted. On her adoption day, I spent some time with the Affrunti's and Dot Face, taking some lovely photos before we went to bring her to her new home. When we arrived at her forever home, Dottie was clearly thrilled. The love in the air between the family and Dot was palatable.

Immediately after we left, an unimaginable tragedy took place where Dottie escaped the safety of her enclosed gate and was fatally struck by a car. A complete accident, the loss of Dottie's life deeply affected all of us involved.

The only comfort in Dottie's passing has come from the outpouring of support from the community. To know that those of us closest to Dot aren't the only ones remembering her legacy and mourning her loss truly has made a world of difference.

Ten days after her passing, the Affrunti's hosted a memorial in Dottie's honor at Prospect Park. Various local people that followed Dot's story showed up to remember her loving nature and journey. We lined two trees with photos of Dottie and hung Tibetan prayer flags. On the table stood Dottie's official portrait from the 66 Dogs Project along with homemade dog treats Ashley baked. Everything came together perfectly.

Looking back at the story of Dottie is both terribly sad and amazingly inspiring. Dottie represents all of the countless dogs that are put down every single day in our country that deserved loving homes. Her appreciative manner and calm demeanor are traits that are often forgotten about in bully breed dogs. Ashley and Brett Affrunti's unwavering care for Dottie throughout the 9 weeks she existed in their life is a testament to what a difference shelter, food, and a loving home can do for an animal in need. The unparalleled emotional and financial support from people in our community is like the old adage "It takes a village." And lastly, the love Dottie received from both the Affrunti's and her adoptive family is overwhelming. For a dog that may never have experienced love in the years leading up to her rescue, it is moving to realize Dottie felt all the love she truly deserved at the end of her life.

It's impossible for me to articulate the extent of love and care Dottie received from both the Affrunti's and the community during her 59 days in Brooklyn, I sincerely hope these photos are able to convey that which my words lack.

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