Philadelphia family honors late pet by donating toys to parks

A Philadelphia family is paying it forward to other pets in the area to honor their late, beloved dog.

Jen and Jason Grayson welcomed Vito into their lives when he was just a puppy.

“Vito was a special dog who we got to love for 6 years,” Jen told FOX 29.

As a puppy, Vito underwent two orthopedic surgeries that resulted in arthritis in his back legs. That never slowed him down, though.

“Even when he was too tired to play, his ball still went everywhere with him,” Jen said.

Vito crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Aug. 23 and his family says that even ‘til the end he kept his “beloved ball at his side.”

It was Vito’s love of toys, particularly tennis balls, that inspired the Graysons to honor his memory. However, the idea came from Vito’s trainer, Cassi, who trained him in agility and obedience at South Jersey Unleashed.

“After Vito passed, Cassi gave us the idea to make baskets of tennis balls to share with other pups in Vito’s memory,” Jen added.

Around the city and surrounding suburbs, Jen and Jason are distributing baskets filled with tennis balls for pets to share and play with in Vito’s memory.

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Have a ball for Vito

“Vito was a sweet soul and loving companion. We hope by sharing his story it will spread some happiness and encourage others to cherish the time they have with their pets,” Jen stated.

The first basket was taken to Mario Lanza Park in Queen Village and another one will be taken to West Chester.

Altogether, 10 baskets will be distributed but Jen also explained that she might make more in the future for times when she is really missing Vito.

For those interested in sharing photos or participating in "Have a Ball for Vito", use the hashtag #HaveABall4Vito on social media.