A dog rescued by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz during the relief effort after Hurricane Katrina died early Monday morning.
The Maltese, named after the hurricane which he survived, died of natural causes.
In September 2005, Commissioner Diaz and a group of Miami-Dade elected officials organized a convoy of 24 trucks to deliver much-needed supplies to victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. The officials distributed personal hygiene products, food, water, and clothing, all donated by Miami-Dade residents and businesses.
During the trip to New Orleans, Commissioner Diaz spotted a Maltese puppy in a makeshift pet holding site. The dog was in distress and Commissioner Diaz, being an animal lover, decided to adopt him.
“The loss of Katrino is almost as heartbreaking as the day we met in New Orleans. He looked so sad, and it would have broken my heart to leave him there that day. I brought him back and he has been a loving part of my family ever since,” said Commissioner Diaz. “Few things soften our hearts than the loss of a faithful friend. Today, my family is saddened by the loss of Katrino, but we will always cherish the wonderful memories of the seven years we spent together.”
Katrino also fathered three puppies, Elvis, Whiney and Cutie, who also live with Commissioner Diaz.
Diaz, who has been an advocate for the animals of Miami-Dade County, was instrumental in helping to get the Pets' Trust on the November ballot in Miami-Dade County.
A once-homeless puppy that was brought to the commission meetings is also credited with getting the initiative on the ballot. He was named Pepe Sal in honor of Diaz and Commissioner Sally Heyman, who also supported the initiative.