Late Greensburg bishop's beloved dog settles in with new family


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The small white terrier rested on a blanket where he had often slept in the lap of his late owner, emeritus Bishop Anthony Bosco of Greensburg.

Joshua II is now part of the family of Jim Bosco Jr., the bishop's nephew, in Mt. Lebanon.

"He's quiet and still suffering from his loss, but he perks up when the girls take him out," said Beth Bosco, Jim's wife and the mother of Anna, 11, and Juliet, 8.

After the death of the 85-year-old bishop on July 2, the question most often directed at the diocese was what would become of Joshua. The 4-year-old West Highland white terrier -- and his predecessor Joshua I -- was as well-known as the bishop, even issuing the invitations to the bishop's annual party.

On the night he died, the bishop was found as if he had fallen peacefully asleep in his chair, with Joshua in his lap.

While friends cared for the dog at that house for a few days, a priest reported that Joshua continually ran to the chair where Bishop Bosco died, as if looking for him.

Mr. Bosco had already told his family that he wanted to add a dog to their four cats and two rabbits. They recalled the time two years ago when Uncle Anthony -- as they knew the bishop -- called after they had visited at Easter.

"He said the girls were so good with Joshua. He told us, 'You should think about getting a dog like Joshua,' " Ms. Bosco said. So it seemed right to take him.

Bishop Bosco had adopted Joshua I in 1995, after researching breeds for a smart, friendly, small dog. He once wrote a column on what Joshua had taught him about faith, noting that the classic canine name Fido means "faithful."

The bishop retired in 2004, and Joshua I died about four years later. Bishop Bosco was devastated and doubted he could ever love another dog. But he eventually went with his secretary, Pam Merlino, to visit a Greensburg breeder.

"It was love at first sight," Ms. Merlino said of Joshua II.

"Joshua II is the dog that our girls grew up with," Ms. Bosco said.

As his predecessor had, Joshua II went with Bishop Bosco as a therapy dog for patients at St. Anne Home.

"If this dog could drive he'd be over there every day," Bishop Bosco once told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I've seen people who are almost catatonic break out into beautiful smiles when he walks across their bed."

The Boscos took Joshua to the reception after the funeral.

"It lightened the atmosphere when Joshua walked in. People felt like Uncle Anthony was there," Ms. Bosco said.

In Mt. Lebanon, Joshua was thoroughly polite to the family cats. When they had guests, "Everyone wanted to play with him. He was the star of the party," Mr. Bosco said.

Bishop Bosco smoked a pipe and cigars -- something that Ms. Bosco forbids in the house.

"I do smoke cigars on the deck, and he likes it," Mr. Bosco said of Joshua.

They plan to take Joshua to Greensburg to visit his friends.

"I want to give him some time. I'm sure he's still grieving, but we will do our best to love him and give him a new home," Ms. Bosco said.

neigh_westmoreland

Ann Rodgers: arodgers@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1416.


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