Our heartfelt thanks to
Dr. Kurt Blaicher
at Plainfield Animal Hospital,

Rawhide Rescue
and the
University of Pennsylvania
Veterinary Hospital
for all they did for Vito.
Don Vito Segal, CTD
Vito was a Bullmastiff.  He was a sweet, gentle giant, and
seemed to love everybody and everything.  

Vito volunteered with Hospice Patients

In 2006 Vito was certified as a Therapy Dog, and he began
as a volunteer for the Visiting Nurses of Central NJ visiting
with patients at the Barbara E. Cheung Memorial Hospice in
Edison, NJ.

He visited at least weekly, and had been selected as the
official Therapy Dog of the Roosevelt Care Center (which
includes the Hospice).  Vito always brought a smile to the
faces of the staff and of the patients' families - - and he
sometimes connected with the patients (often they were
heavily medicated).

At somewhere in the 120-140 lb. range, Vito is not what
people typically expected to see in the Hospice.  But his
sweet disposition and big brown eyes seemed to win them
over every time.

Vito was a "rescue"

Vito was born in March, 2000, and spent his first 2 years
in Staten Island . . . and then he was turned in to the NYC
Animal Shelter - he was rescued from the shelter by
Rawhide Rescue, and adopted by Rashmika and Stu in
September 2002.

The reason Vito needed to be rescued from a shelter may
never be known.  Regardless of his situation, Vito has never
been anything but a gentle giant who brings smiles to all he


Bullmastiffs were developed in England over 200 years ago
for the nobility, who needed a breed that could help control
poachers on their estates - a dog that was silent, powerful
and intelligent.  Breeders combined the ancestors of todays'
Mastiffs and Bulldogs.

The result is the Bullmastiff  -  a large dog (between
100-150 lbs) that is very powerful, quiet, and not vicious by
nature.  These characteristics, intentionally developed by the
breeders, allowed the dogs to silently approach a poacher,
knock him down, and hold him (without mauling) until the
gameskeepers arrived.

We have found the gentle nature, and "couch potato" pace of
a bullmastiff makes for a wonderful companion.  
Most households worry about keeping the dog out of the (peoples')
beds; here we had trouble keeping the people out of Vito's bed!
Every year Rashmika and Stu,
and their friends Helen & Tony,
sponsor the RIDE FOR RAWHIDE

Click here to see the 2008 video

On September 11, 2009, at the age of nine and a half, the gentle giant left us.

To read my thoughts, see
Remembering Vito.
VITO, CTD (Certified Therapy Dog)