Bill Burr lost a furry friend of 13 years, his dog Cleo, in early October 2021. He shared the saddening news through his podcast Monday Morning on October 25, 2021, paying a heartfelt tribute to his beloved pit bull. 

"People who follow me on Instagram know. The great Cleo Renée Diego Burr passed away this week. My beloved Pitbull," he opened the episode.

Burr stated Cleo was his best friend and summarized how he met the puppy and what had happened in the years. 

How the Pitbull Came into Burr's Life

Burr's dog, Cleo, was born in 2008 and was abandoned soon after birth. A woman from Burr's office had found it shivering and hungry nearby a river in L.A. Then she brought the puppy to work. 

Upon inspecting the helpless dog, Burr and his wife, Nia Renee Hill, agreed to foster it.

They raised it as their own child and soon fell in love with it. Meanwhile, they also realized their dog was aggressive, a trait Burr claimed that transferred from him. 

"Dog feeds off your vibes, you know," he had opined during one of his comedy presentations in 2014. He shared his dog had imitated his pessimism, scaring people away. But he only realized that when it was too late. 

Cleo bit one of Burr's friends and even scared his parents. Whenever friends and family visited his house, they had to stay in the back room and lock the doors for hours. Initially, the comedian and his wife were in denial that Cleo was aggressive. Every time, they defended Cleo, saying it was a scared, abused rescue dog. 

Things couldn't stay the way it was. So, the duo hired a dog trainer named Linn Boyke. The first meet was as dramatic as it could be, with Cleo's big mouth biting into Boyke's protective trousers.

The trainer asked Burr to leave the place despite the tension. And soon as he did, the pooch calmed down. Boyke later told Burr that the pitbull was not entirely aggressive but just protective of its owner. 


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With his suggestions, Burr improved his petting habits and spent a healthy time with Cleo, taking her to hike every morning. 

Bill Burr Had to Give Away His Dog

2016 brought a tremendous challenge for Burr. He and his wife were expecting their daughter Lola Burr, and they knew from their heart that they couldn't have their crazy dog around. So as November kicked in, the pair decided to let go of Clea. 

The first option for them was to put the pitbull in a shelter. But Burr knew no one would ever adopt a nine-year-old crazy dog from there. So he talked with Boyke and asked him to foster his pooch, proposing he would pay for all the financial expenses. 

Thankfully, the trainer accepted and took Cleo to his home in Arizona. However, the decision wasn't easy for either Burr or his wife. While Nia cried most of the evening, Burr tried to hide his pain behind his smiles. 


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In 2019, the Canton native expressed his emotions about letting go of his dog in a stand-up. 

I just walked out, handed the least to the new owner, pet her on the head, didn't even look her in the eye because I knew I couldn't. And just turned around and walked away from something that I loved more than I had loved anything in my life. 

Although his hound was no more in his house, Burr could see him once every six weeks when the dog keeper came to the city from Arizona. He would take it to walk and pet it. 

Once, the comedian even tried introducing Cleo to his baby daughter, hoping it would behave well and be kept in his home. 

To his dismay, Cleo growled at the baby at first sight. Although Burr felt guilty that he couldn't be with Cleo every time, he was glad he could give it the best 13 years of its life. 

"Rest in peace buddy. There will never be another one like you," the 53-year-old lovingly stated at the end of his tribute.