YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- People from throughout Northern Westchester braved the snow on Saturday, Dec. 14 to pay tribute to a real hero.
Nero, a 10-year old Newfoundland who played a key role in the rescue of two of Eliseo family members before perishing in a Nov. 24 fire on Wildwood Street along with three other dogs, was laid to rest at St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church in Shrub Oak.
Bandit, a 1-year-old Huskie mix; Buddy, a 4-year old chiweenie; and Roxie, an 8-year old English bulldog, also died in the fire and will be memorialized.
About 70 people attended the funeral, and Monsignior Thomas Sandi blessed the dogs that came, including the Eliseo's new dog, Faith.
Sandi sprinkled some holy water on the dogs and said a prayer.
"It was extremely touching," Guilio Eliseo, the patriarch of the Eliseo family, said.
The Eliseo family have received an outpouring of support since the fire destroyed their home. Nero's story has received national attention, and a fundraiser was held foe the family at Frankie and Augie'Z in Jefferson Valley.
"I feel like I am the richest man in the world," Eliseo said. "People are showing their love and support it, words cannot justify it. The only thing that would make it better is if Nero and the other dogs were still alive."
Nero saved the life of Eliseo's daughter, Marie, and wife, Maria, when he began barking and howling, waking up Marie as she slept on the couch.
"It was a very serious howl," Marie Eliseo said last week. "He woke me up before the alarm went off. By the time the alarm went off, the flames were over where I was sleeping. If it wasn't for Nero, I wouldn't be here."
Eliseo said Faith, who is four months old, is doing wonderfully. Eliseo said Faith reminds him a lot of Nero.
He said recently a friend of the family brought their baby and Faith stayed with the baby to protect it, just like Nero used to do.
"When the baby whined, Faith would bark," Eliseo said. "She is extremely smart for a 4-month old dog. I pray she stays that way."