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Martin Greene was a man of integrity, with a huge heart and big accomplishments.

He would be 90 today. (January 28)

During his 50-plus year career in the construction industry, he built exquisite private homes, classy shopping centers and beautiful apartment complexes all over Southern California. He was an avid sportsman who loved boating, snow and water skiing, horseback riding and just staring up at the Giant Redwoods. He founded a Boy Scout troop, guiding his three sons to each earn their Eagle Scout Badges and announced play-by-play at his sons’ Little League baseball games. A skilled airplane pilot, he volunteered his time and airplane to transport patients and medical equipment to remote sites.

His projects and involvement won him the respect of everyone he met. But everyone who knew him, also knew what he felt was his biggest accomplishment: his incredible family. Martin left behind his wife (of 66 1/2 years), Eileen, his three sons, Richard, Larry and Ed, six grandchildren… and last but not least, his dog Nicky. Nicky followed four silky terriers (Dusty, Josh, Mini and Munchy), a German shepherd (King), and two beagles. (Binky and Tiny).

“My whole life, my father always showed great emotion towards animals — all animals. But dogs were closest to his heart,” recalls Richard, Martin’s oldest son. And he goes on to remember that while the Greene family always had a family pet, none captivated his father more than his last one, his precious Havanese, Nicky. “I’ve never seen my father as much in love as he was with Nicky,” recounts Richard. Wife Eileen says that she and Martin often joked that if the house were on fire, Martin would grab Nicky and just suggest Eileen come along!

Martin’s love for Nicky was hardly unrequited. The dog was crazy about him. As Martin’s health began failing, the two were inseparable. Eileen remembers even during medical procedures that lasted hours on end, “Nicky never left his side.” And Nicky was with him as he passed, peacefully, to the sounds of a violin being played by a friend in the early evening of January 20, 2015.

Richard truly believes that Nicky played a vital role as a family member during Martin’s final years. “There’s no doubt in my mind,” says Richard, “that Nicky’s companionship added to the length of my father’s life, the quality of his health and the quality of his life. She meant so much to him.” That’s why, when Martin passed, the family wanted to do something that honored him and honored dogs.

Remarkably, just a few weeks after Martin’s death, Richard was approached by Cesar Millan for the Cesar 911 television show. It was as if Martin himself had orchestrated it! Richard was to appear as a human body language expert helping troubled pet owners. Richard filmed the show at The Dog Psychology Center in California. That’s when he approached Cesar about doing something to help dogs as a way of honoring his father’s memory and great passion.

So on January 20, 2016, a year after Martin died, the Greene family started the Martin Greene Fund, an endowment to the Cesar Millan PACK Project. This thoughtful donation will help meet the PACK Project’s goals, which are to improve the health, happiness, and harmony of dogs and people — while helping both species learn from and support each other.

The fund is a generous gift from the family who meant the world to Martin Greene. Eileen recalls, “Marty’s greatest thrill was having his family together and in his later years he shared his feelings with great emotion. His last Thanksgiving, he looked around the table with true appreciation and tears in his eyes and said “I love dearly each and every one of you. I don’t know that there’s any other way to say it. It’s so simple. I love you very, very much.

And of course, Nicky, the dog who taught him so much about love, was right by his side.

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