It was sad news last week as Mighty Mutts Rescue Organization shared that Kiko The Hero Pittie had passed away. He was 16 years old.
Kiko (formerly known as Kilo) first gained media attention back in 2012 when it was reported that he defended his owner against a break-in at their home on Staten Island. A bullet ricocheted off of his head, narrowly missing an artery as it exited his neck, and he miraculously lived.
Then, in 2014, his owner fell on hard times and could no longer keep Kiko. The 14–year–old Pit Bull mix was taken in by Mighty Mutts to begin the search for a new family. His foster mom set up an Instagram account for him, and his story went around the world and back with the help of news outlets and rescues like Susie’s Senior Dogs, The Dodo, The NY Post, and of course, BarkPost. People fell head over heals for this heroic dog who literally took a bullet for his human. How many friends can you say would do that for you?
There were a few challenges that came up for Kiko while looking for a new place to rest that gorgeous head with the tiny scar that reminded everyone just what a loyal sidekick he was. During his time in foster care, it was found that he was completely deaf. That didn’t stop him from being a great dog – it just meant he needed a little extra patience and understanding.
Kiko also had a difficult time with adoption drives during the summer heat. He wasn’t the biggest fan of other dogs, and Mighty Mutts wanted him to be the only pet in a quiet household where he could spend the rest of his golden years relaxing. He certainly deserved it after all he had done for his previous owner!
People all across the globe were wishing they could be Kiko’s owner, and the Mutts got quite a few requests to have him shipped to this state or that country – something they couldn’t do and still be responsible for him if it didn’t work out. They detailed the process of finding Kiko a home, including a very sweet local couple who adopted him but later turned out not to be the right fit, in a touching tribute written about his life.
They wrote about how Kiko eventually found his forever home with the parents of the same loving volunteer who had stepped up to foster him:
“Kiko was officially adopted last autumn by our volunteer’s family. He spent the holiday season with them, showered in love and adoration. We got photo updates of Kiko lounging on his many beds with his many toys and basking in the sun on the patio. He even made a best friend, his ‘cousin,’ Marley. Being around Marley gave Kiko the opportunity to be frisky, cuddle, and act like a puppy again. His new life was the best he could have asked for, the perfect last stopping point for this super hero dog.”
Sadly, Kiko’s health started to decline and he began having seizures. His owners were very attentive to his medical needs and right by his side at all times, but he eventually passed away last week at the age of 16. He was lucky enough to spend his last 8 months with the best possible family really enjoying everything life had to offer.
The Mighty Mutts included in their statement a very important opinion that helped Kiko spend his remaining months in the comfort of a lovng home. It read:
Frequently, we overhear visitors passing by our adoption drive comment on our older dogs. ‘Why adopt them? They’re old. Won’t they just die soon?’ But isn’t that precisely the point? Every dog deserves a wonderful family and a perfect retirement like Kiko’s, no matter the duration. It is for Kiko [that] we will keep going, for those moments when the dog is finally in its forever home in its own bed, laying its head down to rest in complete bliss. Kiko got his happy ending, and he had the best one he could have ever asked for. Thank you for helping teach us, Kiko. We will miss you.”
You can see pictures of Kiko and send condolences to his family at his Instagram page here. The Mighty Mutts are out at the south west corner of Union Square in NYC (or inside PetCo at Union Square if it’s raining) every Saturday from 11:30 am to 5 pm, so be sure to visit the wonderful volunteers and see what other amazing dogs they have for adoption.
They also have cats for adoption at Ollie’s Place in the East Village, which can be seen with their adoptable dogs on their website before you come meet them in the city. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram too!
Mighty Mutts is a non-profit, foster-based organization, so they need your help to keep saving animals. Donations are always very needed and appreciated, as well as volunteers and fosters. You can even sponsor a dog like Kiko if you are unable to adopt. They always need your help!
We send our deepest condolences to The Mighty Mutts, Kiko’s family, and all who were touched by this incredible dog during his life. We know their lives are never long enough, but they will live on forever in the lessons they teach us and the love that they leave in our hearts.