Hi, my name is Mario Pi and I am the organizer of Bo's Miami Dog & Pet Festival. In my lifetime I’ve had five dogs. They all came from the same place, the Miami-Dade Animal Shelter. When my last dog Ned died, I was destroyed as we all are when we have to put our pet to sleep. I waited a long time to look for another dog mostly because I dreaded having to go to the shelter, but also because I never thought I would find a dog to replace Ned.

When I walked into the shelter, the first dog I saw was Bo. He was only four months old with huge paws, a white chest that looked like he was wearing a tuxedo, and a face that said, "I am the one, pick me." I continued to walk around the entire pound holding back tears, as it always breaks my heart when I come here.

As I walked passed Bo a few times, he held the same position each time. He would sit and wait as if he knew I was coming back to pick him. On the forth walk, I opened the cage and instantly knew Bo was the one. He was calm, almost zen-like and he was incredibly smart. As a 4-month-old puppy, he learned to sit lay and shake in only two or three tries.

A few days later I went to pick Bo up at the shelter, got him checked out, and he was given a clean bill of health. We headed to the parking lot and upon arriving at my car, I noticed Bo get very agitated and uncomfortable. I thought to myself, "What would the Dog Whisperer do?" The answer was to take my time and develop trust.

It took Bo three and a half hours before he was ready to get into the car. It was the best three and half hours I could have spent as that day Bo learned to trust me, and I learned my perfect pup maybe had not been so well treated in those first four months of his life.

Bo had been with me for about two years and our relationship had developed and grown extremely strong. I was learning this dog was something special and every day he would surprise me. He would do things that I never taught him to do. He would wait outside a store and not run away. He would walk beside me without a leash. I could lay on the grass with my head on his belly and take a nap. I don’t know about you but to me, these were amazing things and there was more to come.

At around three years old, Bo had fully convinced me I had a once in a lifetime dog. Please understand, to me all dogs are amazing and special but some dogs are just exceptional, and Bo is one of them. It reminds me of a famous dog story. The owner dies and his dog is brought to the burial. Upon arriving at the burial, the dog somehow knowing his master had passed away dies on the spot. The man’s friends and family were so moved they built an exact copy of the dog in bronze and buried the dog next to the man. Some dogs just like some people seem to live at a different level.

One day about a year or so ago, I was playing with Bo and suddenly had this horrible thought about the day Bo would pass away. To say it made me sad is an understatement, but it also made me think how can I somehow honor this animal? At that moment, Bo's Dog & Pet Festival was born.

The festival is not just to honor Bo, but all the dogs, cats, and pets that make our lives so much better. The festival's mission is also to help those pets at rescues, on the streets, and in dire need of our assistance.

Thank you for reading Bo’s and my story. We hope to see you at Bo’s Dog & Pet Festival!

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