gene candeloro
3 min readSep 17, 2020
Photo by Erik-Jan Leusink on Unsplash


The sign at the side of the road said “FOR SALE PUPPIES” in a hardly readable script. We had been talking about getting another puppy to replace our irreplaceable little Boston Terrier, Buddy. We thought the kids should have a puppy.

As I pulled into the yard I saw a well-kept two-story home with beautiful flowers and an incredibly huge garden. No one was around. No one greeted me. I climbed the steps to the home and knocked on the door. No one answered.

I decided to check out the barn. In there I found a short, stocky lady dressed all in black with grey hair in a bun with hairpins randomly holding it together. She was kneeling in the hay, holding a goat, and sobbing. I was unsure of what to do. As I approached her she acted as if she and I have been lifelong friends. She said, “Antonio is dying. What am I going to do?” I asked if he was a pet goat, she said “no”.

“He was my husband’s favorite. My husband died last month. Fell over dead right in his garden. What am I going to do?” My heart broke. “I need to keep him alive for him. He will be so disappointed.”

I could tell immediately she was Italian because she reminded me of every aunt I had grown up with as surrogate mothers. Wonderful women. I asked if Antonio was old. She said yes, 20 years, which was old for a goat. I wondered for a moment if Antonio was going to meet his missed friend. Had he just lost his will to live? I sat next to this sweet and beautiful crying woman unsure of what I should do.

She said, “I am all alone now. No husband no children-all alone. I cannot ask my friends to help; they have lost their husbands, too.”

I sat with this wonderful woman for hours, enjoying hearing her story. She told me of their journey from Italy in the bowels of a large ocean vessel, treated like half-humans. But their dream of coming to America and starting a family gave them the strength to go on. She told me they married at sixteen. Crossed the ocean as teenagers. Knew all their lives there was no other for each of them.

Antonio took his last breath in this wonderful woman’s arms. “What am I going to do? What am I going to do?” she kept repeating. I said “Let’s pick his favorite spot and give him a good

gene candeloro

Writer, photog., wanderer. Hopeful romantic. Lover of all things dogs. I write about ordinary people. Follow my Relentless Pursuit. Medium Noteworthy Writer.