What would you do if you lost your father or your best friend, if he suddenly passed while helping your friends during a state of emergency, if his generosity overwhelmed
everyone, even himself?

On Monday, November 5, 2012, that's exactly what happened to Mugsy's dad… His human companion, his best friend, the guy he spent every daybreak and nightfall with, was suddenly taken from him just one week after Superstorm Sandy took his home.

When Sandy made landfall that terrifying October night, more than 100 miles south of Queens near Atlantic City, the storm pushed an incredible amount of water into New York Harbor and Jamaica Bay. That water rose — and rose — and rose — coming over the banks into the streets and driveways, basements, living rooms, kitchens and dining rooms of residents in many towns including Howard Beach, New York, the place Mugsy called home.

Less than 24 hours after the water rushed in, the sound of generators and emergency sirens echoed through the streets of their town. The water reached higher than seven feet outside the homes, flooding basements and first floors completely with water levels of 4 to 6 feet inside the homes. Families were forced to relocate, evacuate, and move out.

Now, a month later, the devastation still echoes in the lives of so many families of Howard Beach. Walking through neighborhoods there, you will find entire families and friends living on second floors with the first floor gutted, floors pulled out, debris and mold overcoming the homes. Many are unfit and unsafe to live in. It will take months before the homes are inhabitable again.

This was Mugsy's neighborhood. Mugsy is a gorgeous 2.5 year old Cane Corso / Terrier mix. He was raised in a loving home environment and took his job seriously as a canine companion and guardian to his immediate family of three - his dad, Gary, along with Gary's 86-year old mother, and his 20-year old son. In a word - tragic.

Because of Superstorm Sandy, the family had to take temporary shelter with friends, sleeping on sofas, and making the best of a situation that will take months to rebuild. Unfortunately, the friends who are taking care of the humans are unable to accommodate Mugsy.

Gary, Mugsy’s human companion, was a caretaker himself. The days following Sandy, Gary walked door to door handing out coats from his own closets to people in the neighborhood and to the Hurricane Relief Center across town. He did whatever he could to be certain his neighbors, his family, and friends were ok. On November 5th, after caring for his neighbors, Gary returned home to Mugsy, where he tragically suffered a heart attack and died. How any one family could suffer so much is beyond comprehension. Gary took care of others. Everyone who lived in that home depended on him. And now he is gone. He lived his life caring for others right to the very end. Friends and family are helping the best that they can. And now we need to pool our resources together to help Mugsy - for Gary, for his family, and for Mugsy.

Mugsy remained alone at the house for weeks after the storm passed, without the family he knew, without his dad. He lived in the home’s storm damaged first floor. There was no heat, no love, no walls, no blankets, no sofas, nothing. Everything was damaged. Mugsy is a survivor. His strength amazed the neighborhood as he stayed all alone in a house that ONLY Mugsy still believed his family would return to.

Can you imagine for a moment if you said goodbye to your pet one day to run an errand and never returned? Can you imagine if, at the same time, your pet, who snuggled on the rug at your feet or on your lap on the couch, was now alone, confused, and surrounded by debris and cold cement floors? Can you imagine if you left this earth and there was nowhere for your pet to go and absolutely nothing you could do about it? I can’t.

Mugsy was at least blessed to have a wonderful young man down the street walk and feed him each day while he anxiously waited for his master to return. But life is hard in this Howard Beach neighborhood. This young man and his mother also lost everything in their home's first floor and are struggling to get back on their feet and define the new normal in their lives. Something had to be done if Mugsy was ever going to have a chance at a normal life again. Leaving him alone in that house for 23 hours a day would destroy him.

Fortunately for Mugsy, many people responded when we started to network his urgency. His story captivated those involved in his “rescue” and on Thanksgiving Day, he was taken into foster care for boarding and socialization with Mary Hannigan (Bullmastiff Rescue Barn).

If they hadn’t rescued him that day, Mugsy would have been surrendered to the NYC ACC with hopes that the "Urgent" community could network him and find a home. But we all know that after what Mugsy’s been through, he needs an opportunity to decompress before going into any old home. He needs to reset, relax, learn to trust again. Sending him into a home without this preparation could put him and the family at risk. There is nothing sadder than a dog who gets a second chance and then ends up being euthanized because he was misunderstood by his human counterparts.

Now here is another element in this truly tragic story that demonstrates how amazing and compassionate people can be. This "Mastiff Alliance" agreed to help Mugsy without any financial “commitment”. They agreed to help Mugsy based on donations alone. In return, I promised to share Mugsy’s story and do whatever I could to raise funds for him. Holistic Pet Services even arranged to have Mugsy neutered. This will help with his behavioral training.

We need your help sharing Mugsy's story and contributing whatever you can for his care. Boarding and rehabilitation costs alone are estimated at over $500 per week. This doesn’t include food or vet visits. Not surprisingly, Mugsy is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Losing all of your structure as well as your physical home is trying, to say the least, especially for an animal whose nature depends so much on stability and companionship.

Mugsy was born a protector and raised as a family dog. Please help him get the care he needs so he can trust again and be adopted into a loving home. I would love nothing more than for Gary to look down and see that Mugsy is on his way to finding a new home and family to love.

Let me also share that Gary's family is deeply moved by everyone's generosity and support. They are suffering on so many levels and cannot begin to express their appreciation for our help. I will maintain contact with them and be their voice when it's too hard for them to speak. And rest assured, the Mastiff Alliance as a whole, will be Mugsy's voice and help him to recover.