Rocky start, lifetime bond

By Marienne Thomas Ogle

His beginnings were iffy at best. The little white dog with the caramel color markings had been mistreated as a puppy, rescued, then posted on Facebook as looking for a new home.

It was there Frances Brocato, wife of Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato (and also of Italian heritage), saw and fell for the Jack Russell terrier mix, whom she named Cannoli because his coat colors “looked like a Cannoli crust,” said Frank Brocato.

Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato and Cannoli after a run in Hoover’s Ross Bridge neighborhood.

But that wasn’t the “happily ever after.”

“Our nine grandchildren loved him, of course, but he’d go bonkers, jumping and nipping to the point it caused concern and we decided we’d made a mistake,” Brocato said.

A dog-lover friend with lots of land took Cannoli on a Thursday. But on Saturday she called to report the pup was just too hyper, Brocato said.

“Actually, we were glad — we really missed him,” Brocato said. “So, we got a trainer and committed to making him part of the family.”

There were issues, of course.

“We built a wrought iron fence to his measurements then he learned to wiggle through,” Brocato said. “So, we had to line the fence with plastic garden fencing.”

And Cannoli was a digger.

“We had beautiful hydrangeas he dug up, I replaced, then he dug up again,” Brocato said. “We just left it.”

Hoover mayor Frank Brocato and his dog, Cannoli, in front of the structure from which Hoover’s Ross Bridge neighborhood draws its name.

But in time, the now 2-year-old calmed, developing mutually loving relationships with the grandchildren and even the dogs in their families.

And he loves to run.

Himself a runner for 40 years, Brocato leashes Cannoli every Saturday morning, jogging 4 to 5 miles “all over the place.”

“Sometimes we’ll drive to a coffee shop in English Village, run through downtown, past Railroad Park, then Uber back,” he said.

The pair also frequents the roads around the Hoover Met and the many trails of Ross Bridge where Brocato resides.

“We’ll get out during the week, too, and run to catch the grandkids before they get on the bus,” he said.

While Cannoli’s great on a leash, he hasn’t lost his taste for a bit of freedom.

“He loves hanging in the house, snuggling with my wife on the couch, but escapes every month or so,” Brocato said. “But he’ll run right up to our neighbors so they can pick him up.”

Brocato’s eyes shine when talking about his feisty pup, who is the reason many family vacations include dogfriendly destinations.

“We love him to death,” Brocato said. “He’s so affectionate and always there for us.”

And then there’s the deal.

“Cannoli loves my wife’s homemade Italian dishes so he runs with me so he can eat like me,” Brocato said. “That’s our agreement — he’ll go as long as he can have his pasta.”


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