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As a child, Maria Isabel Ramirez was always bringing home stray cats and dogs, but could never keep them because of her mother's allergies. When Ms. Ramirez got her own apartment five years ago, on 96th Street in Canarsie, one of the first things she did was to go to a kennel and pick out a dog. She named him Mozart. He was black and brown ‹ the vet called him brindled ‹ and he was part German shepherd and part pit bull.
"She brought him home on her palm, he was so tiny," said her mother, Elsie Cintron. "She treated him like a little baby. She used to feed him well. He was a fat little dog."
Her mother said that Ms. Ramirez often asked what would happen to Mozart if anything happened to her. "I used to say, 'I don't know, Maria. I'm allergic. But don't worry about Mozart. He will be fine.' "
And he is. Ms. Ramirez, 25, died in the elevator at 90 West Street, where she worked for Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, when the building was damaged by falling debris from the World Trade Center. Mozart, now 82 pounds, is in Orlando, Florida, with Maria's mother. "I have to keep the dog," Ms. Cintron said. "Even though I am very allergic to it, I have grown used to it. It's something I have to do for her."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 10, 2001