Brickell the Miracle Dog lived five years after plummeting three stories off an opening drawbridge. People were so taken with her story that Brickell had a Facebook page, adopted families and a doggie brother named Smokey.
They became her survivors Friday when Brickell, a mixed terrier, died after a month-long illness of still undetermined origin. Also unknown was her actual age.
Fabianna Dardati, Brickell’s latest parent, said exploratory surgery last week showed a leaky gall bladder, which doctors removed with Brickell’s spleen. Whether or not those problems came from cancer became a secondary concern to Brickell’s inability to eat without throwing up — even with anti-vomiting medication.
“You can feel an emptiness,” said Dardati, of her Coral Gables home she shares with her parents.
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Brickell got her name and a new life after David Bernstein refused to give up trying to save her in 2012. Bernstein saw the dog in a pale red sweater walking across the Brickell Avenue drawbridge as it opened over the Miami River. Just before Bernstein got within reach, the dog plunged over the edge.
After a sleepless night with his German Shepherd, Bernstein returned to the drawbridge the next day and eventually found Brickell. Her survival of the 30-foot fall came free of broken bones.
Eventually, Brickell was adopted by Jim Doten, Dardati’s friend and neighbor. When the well-traveled Doten went into the hospital early in 2016, Dardati said, he asked Dardati to look after Brickell and Smokey as she’d done so many times before.
Doten never returned home. After his death from cancer, Dardati got his family’s consent to keep the dogs.
Not only did the dogs keep up their regular routine, but, Dardati said, “It was a way to honor him.”
She and her parents grew attached to the pair with opposite personalities.
“So sweet. Very calm,” Dardati said of Brickell. “Smokey would jump all over you while she would be very polite and friendly, try to kiss you if you leaned over.”
Dardati noticed during walks that while Smokey moved at a brisk pace, Brickell ambled to absorb the walk’s sensual delights. She thinks that might be an indication Brickell was older than the estimated four years when Bernstein rescued her.
Brickell’s Facebook page passing post closed with words from Bernstein: “She was a little angel and will always hold a special place in our hearts. We gave her a whole new lease on life and she lived well. I will forever be grateful for the whole experience. I will forever be able to Google Brickell and see the miracle that we all were blessed with five years ago. May she pass over the rainbow bridge.”