Petey didn’t have much going for him when his owner, St. John Cantius pastor the Rev. Joseph J. Zingaro, passed away in May from health complications.
Suffering from Cushing’s disease, his own health was in limbo.
At 13, age wasn’t exactly on his side.
And, with Zingaro no longer residing at the rectory in Bridesburg, he needed to find a new home.
A fellow Cahillite did, however, have a soft spot for him.
Roman Catholic High School alumnus and Director of Development Adam Gault came across Petey’s story after being tagged in a post by his aunt when Zingaro initially passed away and staff at St. John Cantius was trying to find him a new home.
“I was hoping to get a little more involved and help him find a home, especially with the Roman connection, I just wanted to help,” the Bridesburg native said. “And, then I was tagged again when Sammy was adopted, and I really saw Petey needed a home, I couldn’t just ignore it.”
Gault messaged Jamie Holt, an animal rescue advocate and a volunteer at ACCT Philly, who had been working to find Petey a home, and a meet and greet was set up.
“I was too much in a position to help out. Being in Bridesburg, being close to the rectory, knowing the story, Father Joe being a fellow Roman guy, it was a Cahillite helping out another Cahillite,” Gault said. “His dying wish was to make sure his pups had good homes, and if I could help out and do that, it was the right thing to do.”
Zingaro was a member of the class of 1970 and Gault was a member of the class of 2008.
Although Gault didn’t know Zingaro personally, the pride and brotherhood established at the high school goes beyond books and the walls of a classroom.
“I think Father Joe would be happy to know another Cahillite was taking care of one of his pups,” Gault added.
Holt couldn’t agree more.
“The overall goal for Petey is just for him to have a home again, where he has ‘a person,’ where he is loved and cared for beyond measure and can be the sole focus of someone’s attention,” she said. “That is what he had with his dad. With Adam, it became so clear that this was Father Joe’s plan for Petey.”
And, while Zingaro is no longer with him, the staff at the rectory are still part of Petey’s life.
Gault is currently fostering Petey through J&Co Rescue, but he brings him to the rectory for visits when he goes to work.
“I wanted to see how he was going to do, but honestly, he’s doing very well,” Gault said. “We’re taking it day by day and trying to do right by him.”
Initially, there was an emphasis on placing Petey in a home with another dog since his longtime four-legged companion was adopted separately.
“We had a great conversation about fostering dogs in need and he sounded wonderful,” Holt said in regard to her first contact with Gault. “At the time, though, I let him know that we wanted to try and find him a home with other dogs but that we would definitely keep him posted should anything change.”
But as his health deteriorated, Petey’s well-being became a priority.
Holt reached back out to Gault.
“Adam met Petey the next day and committed to taking this sweet, loving little boy under his wing,” she said. “Not only did he live two minutes from the rectory, but he made arrangements to drop Petey off at the rectory on the three days that staff is scheduled to work so Petey can still visit his St. John’s family. It couldn’t be more perfect.”
Gault officially brought Petey home as a foster on Sept. 1.
For Gault, having a dog with health issues has been an adjustment, but not something completely foreign to him.
His family dog, Diesel, a black labrador, was experiencing poor health when he passed away at 11 in 2016.
Seeing Petey’s progress has been inspiring.
“He wasn’t eating great at first and I had to spoon feed him a few times, but now he’s eating on his own, and he’s averaging about three walks a day,” he said. “Just like a good, old senior dog that he is, when we’re not walking, he’s napping. He’s a really sweet dog. And, with the walks and some TLC, I think he’s been adjusting pretty well.”
In addition to Cushing’s disease, Petey had a UTI and kidney stones when Adam took him home and is on several medications.
Gault hopes to keep Petey in good spirits for the rest of his dog days.
“I think if we can keep this up and give him a good rest of his life, that’s great,” Gault said. “So far, so good. We’re taking it day by day. If he’s only getting better, and doesn’t regress at all, I think this would be a good fit for him long term. He’s bringing me a lot of joy. Just as much he needed me, I needed him.”
For Holt, and all the staff at the rectory and the Bridesburg community as a whole pulling for Petey, Gault has been an answered prayer.
“It has only been a few weeks, and I can already say that Adam has been Petey’s savior. He treats Petey as if he’s had him his whole life,” Holt said. “The level of care that an older dog with health issues requires is on a different level than that of a younger, healthy dog. Adam is going above and beyond to make sure Petey is comfortable, happy, loved and all of his needs are met.” ••
In addition to support from J&Co Dog Rescue, Jamie Holt has organized a GoFundMe to help cover Petey’s medical costs while he is in foster care. To donate, visit http://gf.me/u/yvwndt.