Eliseo Family Says Goodbye to Nero, Welcomes New Puppy Faith

Photo courtesy of Eliseo family.
Photo courtesy of Eliseo family.
Yorktown's Eliseo family, who lost their home and four dogs in a house fire less than a month ago, will have a chance to say goodbye to their pets – including the dog that saved their lives – with a prayer service at a Shrub Oak parish on Saturday, Dec. 14. 

While the family of five is grieving the loss of their four-legged companions, they had welcomed a new addition to the family to help them heal – 4-month old Newfoundland puppy named Faith. 

"You can never really replace what you have lost," Giulio Eliseo said of his deceased dogs – Nero, a 10-year-old Newfoundland; Bandit, 1-year-old Husky; Roxie, an 8-year-old English bulldog; and Buddy, a 4-year-old Chihuahua-Dachshund mix. "They had their different characteristics."

He described Faith as a "spoiled, little girl" who looks almost identical to his hero dog Nero, except she doesn't have the white patch on her tail that Nero used to have.

In addition, before Faith goes to sleep in Bernadette and Marie's room – the Eliseo's two daughters – Faith would do a "bed check" to make sure everyone in the family is accounted for. 

"She is helping my kids to heal tremendously," Giulio Eliseo told Patch. 

The fire, which reduced their Wildwood Street home to rubble on Nov. 24, threatened to kill Maria Eliseo and her oldest daughter Marie had it not been for their 10-year-old, 150-pound Newfoundland mastiff Nero who woke them up.

"Without [Nero], they would have been dead," Eliseo said. 

Marie Eliseo, 26, who had been sleeping on the couch after coming home late from babysitting, said she woke up because Nero was standing over her on the couch and was barking "the scariest, howling cry" she had ever heard. 

She said she saw smoke in the kitchen and on the deck. When she went looking for the fire extinguisher, but couldn't find it. By the time she came back to the room, she saw flames and thick smoke in the kitchen. Then, all the glass on the windows exploded. 

She knew she had to get out of the house through the garage. She ran around the house to her mother Maria's second floor window. Eliseo had had a hip replacement surgery three weeks prior and wasn't able to get out of the house. 

That's when two men – Brian Avery and Robert Cole – helped save her mother from the burning home and brought her down safely with an extension ladder.  

Since the Eliseo family lost everything in the fire, they stayed with relatives in Somers before renting a condo in Mohegan Lake. 

"We can replace the house," Eliseo told Patch. "We still have a home no matter where we go because we are a family unit."


The prayer service will be held on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 12 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Shrub Oak. The Eliseos will bless their new dog Faith and remember their four dogs who perished in their house fire. Everyone is invited to arrive by 11:45 a.m. The Eliseo family hopes to see volunteers, friends and family at the service and thank each person for their help and condolences during their time of loss.


Frankie & Augie’z restaurant, located at 3673 Hill Blvd. in Jefferson Valley is holding a "Dine to Donate" event on Dec. 16 from 3 p.m. to closing. The event will benefit the Eliseo family. Read more about it here.

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