Year in Review 2023

Year in Review 2023: In search of Gigi

Over the summer, the North Fork community mobilized when Gigi, a black Labrador Retriever, went miss-ing. Veteran Michael DiSilvio relied on the 18-month-old dog for solace and comfort, and was devastated by her disappearance.

“She motivates me to do things,” Mr. DiSilvio said in August. “I’ve been retired from the military for 10 years and I never really was involved with, like, doing a suicide prevention [program] or any walks or the marches. When [Gigi] came into my life, she motivated me to take part in some of that stuff. I was more private but she actually motivated me to talk more about some of the injuries I had or be more open.”

“She’s been my best friend,” he added. “She motivates me to get up in the morning and get the kids to school. My wife works really hard so she’s not around as much, while I’m fully retired from the military due to my injuries. Sometimes, those days before [Gigi] came into my life, it was hard for me to get up and get the kids going … Not only does she steer you in the right direction, when you’re going outside she can almost see where you got to go, which sounds silly, but she motivates you to get up.”

While Gigi has still not been found as of press time, the community has rallied around Mr. DiSilvio.

In November, he was among the veterans and active service members who were recognized by Mat- tituck High School during their annual Wall of Honor dedication ceremony. And in December, a cash reward was offered by community member Nancy Blasko.

“Please help in a Christmas Miracle,” she wrote on Facebook. “I personally will give $1,000 to the per- son that leads to the return of Gigi, or returns Gigi themselves … No questions asked. Someone knows something. She didn’t just vanish! This could be even your neighbor that has her. This is our local veteran from our home town! This is a service dog and a family pet. To the person that has her … No one knows it’s you, just drop her off at home! Do the right thing! No questions! Be the Christmas Miracle in returning her.”

In the meantime, Mr. DiSilvio has found some comfort in a new dog, Simba, but holds out hope that Gigi will return.

Original reporting by Nicholas Grasso