By Elijah Robinson
The community came together to remember, pray and reflect upon the life of Lloyd, a pitbull dog who touched the lives of so many, who died on Jan. 11. Lloyd was honored Monday as part of the Niagara SPCA’s second annual “Celebration of Life” Illuminated Memorial Ceremony, held at Otto Redanz Funeral Home.
Lloyd was a rescue pitbull who had kidney failure. Over his last six months, his life story and his various adventures were shared on social media, and his story reached not only those across Western New York, but also the world.
According to many, Lloyd spread love and joy to any he came in contact with.
“Love like Lloyd” and “Lloyd’s Legacy” apparel was worn by some of the attendees in Lloyd’s memory.
Niagara SPCA Executive Director Amy Lewis was Lloyd’s caretaker. She took him in as a stray and, since then, he immediately garnered a following – and became part of a family of several thousands who rallied behind him.
“From the day I met him in his kennel, when I stopped in my tracks and knelt down and said, ‘Who are you, sweet old man?’ and he bit me squarely in the chin, I knew he had a special quality,” Lewis said. “I fought for Lloyd that day, and the days following, knowing his days would be few; but he had an incredible zest for life that couldn’t be extinguished.”
Attendees were given an opportunity to eulogize Lloyd, or any pet that passed away.
Comical, loyal, and at times mischievous, these are the traits that made Lloyd reside in the hearts of all who followed his life, and it brought back precious memories for those who spent time with Lloyd.
“I personally spent a lot of time caring for Lloyd, and there was an immense void left after his passing,” Lewis said. “In my 18 years of involvement in animal welfare, I’ve never experienced an animal who so easily captivated the public.”
According to Lewis, widespread awareness of Lloyd’s condition led to the resurrection of the SPCA’s hospice foster program.
“We believe this was Lloyd’s job all along – to help raise awareness for senior dogs, and particularly those with health issues,” she said.
Ahead of the ceremony, attendees were able to donate $10 for an illuminary bag, with candles lit inside to represent the support Lloyd was given while he was still alive, labeled with the name of a dog who passed away.
Niagara County Sheriff Michael J. Filicetti was among those in attendance. Local singers Cami Clune and Joshua Vacanti, finalists from “The Voice,” were in attendance to sing songs for Lloyd and the other pets that were lost.
Lloyd visited the Fashion Outlets of Niagara in 2022. (Submitted photo)