JB is doing well, but a very dear friend of mine–another with a real heart for rescue–passed away recently.  I have been busy planning his memorial service and working to place his remaining rescued greyhounds, so I have not had time to update JB’s blog.  As a tribute to Mike, I am posting the obituary that I wrote for him; hopefully you will be able to see him through my eyes, and why (to many) he was so special.

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MICHAEL L. MASSARO        1947-2009

Retired racing greyhounds lost a true friend and advocate when Michael Lester Massaro passed away on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at his residence in Pensacola, FL.

Mike was born to Thomas and Dorothy Massaro on March 15, 1947 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He grew up there and attended school, building many lasting friendships. A few years after high school he joined the Army. He served five years in Vietnam as a medic and staff sergeant, and was awarded the Bronze Star (with V device) for heroism in combat. Mike had several jobs during his lifetime, but was probably best known for his pest control business. He treated the properties of some of Pensacola’s best known residents, but was equally at home donating his services to the less fortunate.

Mike was a colorful man who lived his life with enthusiasm. He was a diamond in the rough—he had a wicked sense of humor and spoke his mind without reserve, but was truly gentle to those who knew him well. He was a fiery Italian, a steadfast Republican, a tenaciously proud Veteran, and an incredibly generous man. But Mike’s true passion, and what he will most be remembered for, was animal rescue. He was actively involved with the Humane Society of Pensacola for many years, serving on its Board of Directors and as caretaker for Pet Haven Cemetery. Mike was also founder and sole proprietor of Escarosa Greyhound Adoptions: he truly adored his greyhounds, and would eagerly discuss their wonderful qualities with anyone who would listen! Still, at the end of the day, it was only the company of his beloved hounds that Mike needed and wanted most.

Mike was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his brother Tom Massaro and niece Stacy Massaro, of Pensacola, FL, and by a legion of friends from here and across the country. Mike will be greatly missed—not just by the animals, but by everyone who knew him.

The memorial service for Mike Massaro will be held at Eastern Gate Memorial Funeral Home on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 6:00 p.m., with Reverend Thomas K. Frizzell, Jr. officiating. Interment will follow at a later date.

Although Mike appreciated flowers, his dedication to animals should live on. If you wish to contribute, please send memorials in Mike’s name to the Humane Society of Pensacola (Pensacola, FL), Greyhound Pets of America-Emerald Coast (Pensacola, FL), or Rowe’s Orphanage for Cats and Kittens (Pensacola, FL).       

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The memorial service for Mike was crowded, and was unique in that 25 of his greyhound adoptees were in attendance (and actually welcomed in the chapel!)  It really was a fitting end and tribute to a TRUE FRIEND OF ANIMALS.

Not to hurt our humble brethren (the animals) is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough.  We have a higher mission:  to be of service to them whenever they require it.                                                                           ~St. Francis of Assisi

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