the 10-year-old, 150-pound Newfoundland who saved his family from a devastating fire on Wildwood Street – has come to an end.The search for Yorktown's hero dog Nero –
But not the way his family ever wanted.
"We have some very sad news, my friends," read a status Wednesday afternoon on a Facebook page dedicated to finding the dog. "Nero has been found. But not the way we wanted to find him. After more searching was done in the rubble of the home, [Nero]'s remains have been found. Today is a very sad day...."
The morning of the fire on Nov. 24, the family's oldest daughter Marie Eliseo, 26, said she had been sleeping on the coach after coming home late from babysitting. She said she woke up because Nero was standing over her on the couch and was barking "the scariest, howling cry" she had ever heard.
"Rest in Peace Nero, you saved my life and became my hero and now you are my guardian angel," Marie Rose Eliseo wrote on her Facebook page.
She and her mother Maria, who were the only ones at home, were able to escape the fire also with the help of two good samaritans Brian Avery and Robert Cole.
The Eliseo family believed Nero had escaped the fire and was alive since his body was not immediately found in the aftermath. The family's three other dogs – Bandit, 1-year-old Husky; Roxie, an 8-year-old English bulldog; and Buddy, a 4-year-old Chihuahua-Dachshund mix – all perished in the fire. They died of smoke inhalation and their bodies were untouched by the fire, the family said.
The Eliseos had been searching for Nero ever since. Community members have also pitched in, sharing his picture and spreading the news. Several sightings of what was believed to be Nero were reported last week and again on Monday.
"Nero's family would like to send out a truly heart felt thank you to all the wonderful people who have prayed for, thought about and searched for this wonderful hero," a statement on the "Find Nero" Facebook page read. "Never before have they seen such an outpouring of love and kindness from strangers. You all will never be forgotten by the family for all that you have done."
Since information about his passing was posted on social media, people have been sending their heartfelt condolences to the family and remembering Nero as a hero.
"So sad," one person wrote. "Nero touched so many hearts and was a true hero. He sacrificed his own life to make sure his humans were safe. RIP, boy."
"Another very sad but loving thought....," another person wrote. "Nero stayed close to home with his family's safety always in mind.....Nero was a very special pup and touched so many hearts since this tragedy. We will always love Nero and the family pups....they have had an amazing impact to so many. Our thoughts and prayers will always be with this dear family."
Bernadette Eliseo, the family's middle child who is 22 years old, said she and her siblings have always considered Nero their brother.
"Today I officially lost my brother and my hero," she wrote on her Facebook page. "Forever and always loved and missed. Forever my brother never an animal. Always my hero and little bear."
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