The loss of a mindDog can be shattering. On this page you can share your memories.
Losing a mindDog is a special kind of loss. For some of us losing our mindDog can be a greater sorrow than the loss of a person. We all grieve differently but we hope that the information below may help you in a time of stress and despair.
If your dog is aged or has a life threatening condition you will probably have developed a good relationship with your vet. The decision to euthanise can be one of the hardest you will ever make. An empathic vet can help by giving you an honest assessment of your dog’s health. And your dog will know. Listen to him because he will be telling you if he wants to go. It is essential to not prolong your dog’s suffering. You must do the right thing for him despite your sadness and fears.
A supportive friend can be a great help at this time if you make the decision that you need to have your dog euthanized. This can be done at the vet’s clinic and his body can be cremated and the ashes returned to you in an urn or the container of you choice. Your other choice is having your vet coming to your home to euthanize your dog. There is usually a home visit fee involved for this but this may be a less stressful thing for your dog particular if they don’t like going to the vet.
It is important to give yourself all the time you need to understand your loss. Initially you may be in shock especially if his death has been unexpected. There are no rules for how long this process will take. Just as your mindDog was unique, your grieving process will be different from anyone else’s. It may be that only another mindDog handler will really understand your pain and loss.
Talking to someone is going to help. This can be your psychologist, psychiatrist, or counsellor who will probably know your dog if you have been taking him to sessions. If there is no one you feel you can trust, call us. We have lost mindDogs and we know how you may be feeling.
You may wish to create a memorial for your dog. Growing a special tree or shrub will mark his grave and you will always know where he, create a photo album, write a journal of his stories or you can put a tribute on this page.
When you are ready, you may need to think about another dog. This is OK. It may feel disloyal but remember that your first mindDog loved you, took care of you and would want you to keep going. A new dog will bring different experiences and help you create new memories.
Buddy was Cath’s dog; the first and original mindDog. Read Buddy’s Legacy.
Feel like a piece of my soul has gone
Before Koda, I wasn’t able to leave my house for almost four years. I struggled with agoraphobia, depression and anxiety. But getting Koda changed all of that!
He saved my life. I didn’t know that I was even capable of being happy but he made me so glad to be alive. He gave me the confidence to go outside and start living my life again. He was always by my side, looking after me. I didn’t have to say anything, he knew exactly when I needed him and even times when I didn’t know I did.
He loved me so much and would do everything in his power to help me through anxiety, panic attacks and meltdowns. Even my doctors called him a miracle worker because he changed absolutely everything. He gave me not only a life worth living but so much happiness and joy. He was my entire world.
He was so greatly loved and words cannot express how deeply he will be missed.
I’m so sad that Ava sprouted her angel wings and moved off this world last week. She had osteosarcoma in her sholder that made her quality of life difficult, letting us know it was time to go.
I was her third person after a short racing career, she was said to be stubborn and useless but we just clicked and she started working for me straight away. I don’t know about the term ‘rescue greyhound but she definitely rescued me from many dark times as my minddog assistant dog for four years.
I can’t express how much she has meant to me and the road we’ve travelled together.
RIP my darling Ava.
I started painting during our time together and it was important to me to make a tribute memorial piece.
12 July 2017 to 14 June 2023
The day we picked up Nanuk from a farm near Cooma, we found out the town where we were staying was having a bonfire night with fireworks and a party. That night, as the fire raged and the night thunderously lit up, Nanuk had a quick look and then curled up under our chair and fell asleep; we had found ourselves the immoveable object, an anchor for the stormy seas of our lives, our “bomb proof dog”.
She immediately burrowed herself into our hearts, and not a moment too soon, because she immediately grew. She grew, and she grew, and she grew. She outgrew her fur-brother Wilco faster than he might have liked, but she still let him win their regular wrestling matches. Her booty grew faster than she could comprehend, and she knocked many things over. She stopped growing once she reached 63kg and the vet told us she needed to go on a diet. At a healthy, 58kg, she was still one of the largest female Leonbergers around.
She fell in love with everyone and everything she encountered – an avid “reader” of books, a green-thumbed “gardener” and an interior-decorator-cum-carpenter who tried her hand at window “design”. She was always a little bit wet; if there was water nearby, she was in it. She even liked to dip her front half in the toilet if you left the bathroom door open.
Nanuk transformed our home and lives. She would perform nightly patrols, checking in that we were all alive by breathing heavily and stinkily in our face. This eventually became her first tasks – waking me up from panic-inducing nightmares before they escalated.
She started accompanying me to work, sleeping under my desk and alerting me to triggers before my symptoms could escalate. Once the vest came, she learned quickly that this was official. She was calm and steady, she knew what she was there to do and she did it. She couldn’t be distracted, my bomb proof dog, and she couldn’t be happier than to be by my side. She regularly caught the bus into the city and stayed at the very fanciest hotels.
Nanuk was a part of our wedding in 2019 and she came to the hospital for the births of both our children, in 2020 and 2022. She was a favourite of many midwives on the maternity ward at Mater Hospital, who would stop by to “check on us” but really to see the extra-large assistance dog.
When the vest came off, she was a goofball. She loved to jump into the pool or go swimming at the beach, then get out and shake all 10,000 L she had collected on you. She slept with all four legs in the air, and when she ran, she resembled a garbage bag caught in the wind. She loved food – all of it – and her fur-brother; she tolerated her skin-siblings (and loved the food they dropped).
In November 2022, Nanuk was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her left leg; she immediately retired after three years in the vest. Although it was still small, limb-sparing radiation therapy and a full run of chemo and bone strengthening medication wasn’t enough to stop the development of the tumour and we were only allowed 6 months for her retirement.
In the end, the pain was so great, even Nanuk’s desire to always be with us couldn’t compete. She said goodbye in the arms of those whom she loved and who loved her more than words can express. She will be sorely missed.
Erica was an amazing companion, she was so helpful. She had a great personality, she had such a kind and loving nature, everyone who met her loved her.
She is very missed by everyone who got the pleasure to meet her. Her passing happened suddenly and we will always miss her presence
At 6:15pm today we said goodbye to Anzac.
It was my PRIVILEGE to have had him in my life. He saved my life and brought me BACK INTO life.
We are devastated but it was very calm & gentle, at home, with all of us patting him. I will miss him dearly.
Vale Anzac. Rest forever in peace!
My unexpected hero
Polar came into my life when he was 12 months old. I had previously owned 4 shelties and Polar was my first boy and the first of my Shelties with the most beautiful blue eyes.
He was my constant companion and when I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression, he became my lifeline. And not long after I started getting migraine attacks that affected me as if I was having a stroke. There was no warning and if I was out somewhere I had to stay put unwell enough to drive again.
I decided to try to get Polar accepted into the mindDog program and fortunately he was accepted. (I always new he was a special dog).
After he completed his training and passed his first PAT, we were never apart. And he seemed to be able to sense when I was getting a migraine. He would push into my hands with his head and get me to sit and cuddle him. It didn’t click with me at first what he was doing, but after a couple of attacks I worked him out.
Polar suddenly became very ill and none of the vets or specialist vets could determine what was going on. The whole time he was sick he never left my side and even the night he died, I was the most important thing in his life. Still laying beside me in bed and silently slipping away.
He left a huge void in my life and for some time I struggled with the loss of my best mate. He gave me so much comfort and security and I managed to do so much more than I ever thought I would.
Ode to mr ripley
You were spac filler for my soul
You clung to my rough edges
You forced your love into my open wounds
You wrapped yourself around me
You who refused to leave me
You who saw me at my worst
You who saw it all
You who heard it all
You who remained
You who was happy with me
in spite of it all
You whose love was true
You who’s eyes were without deception
You were the only light in my endless night
You who kissed away my tears
You who leapt to my defense
Without thought for yourself
You who had my back
And led the way
You who made me laugh
You who made me keep getting up
You who never complained
You who was above reproach
You were the wellspring from which I flowed
And the gentle loving catchment
To which i will return
In loving memory of ripley of the sweet delight
This is a photo of Snuffy.
He was a trainee mindDog up until 2015 when his handler (owner) Ariah sadly passed away at the age of 12.
Ariah and Snuffy were inseparable.
We rescued him when Ariah was 3. They had a special bond.
I remember how happy Ariah was when we discovered MindDog.
She could take Snuffy out with her to the shops. He helped her so much.
Sadly, recently Snuffy also passed away.
I’d like to acknowledge this incredible team and keep their memory alive 💙💚
Thank you mindDog for making it possible for Snuffy to be with Ariah when she needed him most.
Always remember beautiful Willow.
My gift from God, you saved my life, gave me confidence to leave my home, meet new people, make friends, join a church and change my life. You were with me through the happy and the sad, fighting for my life and enjoying life’s simple pleasures.
You saw it all. Not only did you alert me you also alerted those I love. Your gentle loving caring heart was so reliable. I love you my Willow girl and look forward to seeing you when God takes me home too.
Hello all, this is Charlie.
Today, I am in the big kennel in the sky. Too soon, you say, but it was a relief from the pain of the last two days – probably more days than mum and dad knew.
On Sunday morning, I was not well, and couldn’t walk properly, didn’t want to eat, and was generally out of sorts. I came good in the afternoon, and the next morning, but by Monday afternoon was not well again.
So mum and dad (Helen and John) took me to see the Vet. I was happy to go, but didn’t follow the vet around as usual to get my vet treats – I didn’t feel well enough.
Gabby, the vet, checked me over, and said my heart rate and breathing were a little fast. She suggested an ultrasound.
After I was shaved on my tummy, Gabby looked at my insides and found lots of fluid build-up. Then she checked further up my chest and found a very large tumour strangling my heart. No wonder I was having trouble breathing.
Gabby then showed mum and dad the picture, and we all agreed that this was very bad news, with prognosis of a few days if I was lucky.
We then all agreed that I go home for the night, and that mum and dad bring me back on Tuesday (today) so Gabby could take the pain away forever.
So I wrote this note and asked mum to send it after I was at peace.
I have had an amazing life – having visited 7 countries, and I even went to the theatre in Canberra last Saturday afternoon.
Mum and dad took me everywhere they could, and we had lots of fun.
Thank you for being my friends, looking after me, patting me, feeding me, and being such good doggy people.
I look forward to seeing Toby, Elle and Bo very soon.
2 March 2008 – 5 November 2019
My best friend always knew how to make me feel good about myself.
No judgment. Always was there through the sunshine and the grey days.
Small in size; big in heart.
Kali was the kindest, gentlest dog I’ve ever known. She was an eight year old retired Federal Police bomb dog when I got her. Having been an outside kennelled dog, she thought living inside and sleeping with me was just the best thing ever! She was a Labrador with a very thick coat and she used to swim pretty much everyday in our dam. So she was always muddy. I once told her she was too dirty to get on the bed. She looked at me then rubbed one side of herself on the wall, turned around and rubbed her other side then looked at me again. What can you say when your dog does something like that? She got on the bed!
I miss her.
In loving memory of, my beautiful Sweet Charee; my pint-sized superhero.
6/11/2001 – 14/4/2018
I love poodles, and after losing our lovely Tiffany the year before I decided it was time for another. In January 2002, I came home with a tiny little piece of black fluff, with a perfect petite poodle face. She sat in the palm of my hand and her name was Charee.
I had picked her from the litter four weeks before, she had so much attitude, and would growl and pounce. After she picked me, I visited her every few days until I was able to bring her home.
She grew to be a super intelligent little girl, that constantly needed new challenges. Obedience classes were a flop to start with, as she would constantly bounce other dogs, or bark incessantly. We were asked to leave.
I continued working with her at home, and when she was nearly 2 years, we started agility classes. She loved it! We had found what she needed, and she loved all the activities. We only ever did it for fun, no competitions, but suddenly she was eager to please, and was now looking to me for guidance. We established a bond that hadn’t been there before.
She loved swimming, and any water soon became a game. Her first time at the beach was funny, as she ran straight in, only to be tumbled by the surf. She came out, barked aggressively at the waves, and then dove back in. Nothing, not even the ocean, was too big for her to tackle.
When she was 7 years old, I developed anxiety, agoraphobia, and a panic disorder, and had to leave work. I became depressed due to my inability to leave the house without someone with me. After about a year, we noticed that, at times, Charee would come and lay or sit by me, and lick and talk to me. Despite her tiny stature, 2.5kgs, she was never a lap dog, but now, she would climb onto me, and often try and lay across my chest. Being only human, it took us a while to realise she was doing this a few minutes before I would get a panic attack. After consulting with our Vet, and my doctor, we worked out she was alerting me to oncoming panic attacks, as she was able to smell the subtle change in my hormones just before an attack.
For the next 9 years, she continued to do this for me, the last 3 as an Assistance Dog with MindDog.
Charee changed my life, in so many ways. Firstly as my loving companion, shows, trials, and playing at home, and then later, in being able to give me the confidence to go out in public again, without the fear of unexpectedly collapsing. She was always feisty, full of fun, and for her, life was a game.
Sadly, more likely than not, we will outlive our wonderful four-legged companions. This happened to me, after Charee had a stroke. It was sudden and unexpected, and to start with it looked like she was going to get better. But that wasn’t Gods plan for her. In the last two days she deteriorated, and I had to decide to let her go. Our last day together was spent with friends and family, on the acreage where she enjoyed running around, tracking lizards, playing with the birds, and having fun.
From the time Charee entered my life, she carved out a place in my heart. She loved, and was loved, by all who knew her.
This sweet girl was my everything. She was not only an assistant dog, but she was a family member with the love and loyalty like no other. She greatly impacted and improved our lives and happiness. And losing her has left the biggest void. Loving you always baby Gi.
Bayles was my precious teddy bear who lived for work. So many adventures and people who loved her. She is dearly missed by all those whose lives she touched.
I loved always to watch her have a well earnt sleep and loud endearing snore.
Where have you gone?
Up to the Golden-creek,
To forever roam.
So beautiful and strong.
In my arms i held you,
As you kept fighting on.
So frighteningly fierce.
What was happening inside you?
To make you turn.
My MindDog you were.
My treasure,my gem,
The love of my life.
Forgive me now you have gone,
Up to the Golden-creek,
To forever roam.
Who says old dogs can\’t learn new tricks! Andy at the age of 9 learnt to be my best friend, rock and savior.
After struggling depression, anxiety and pain attacks I could not longer get out of the house to perform normal daily tasks people take for granted. He became my lifeline to independence and rediscovering the outside world. He taught me so many things and he would keep me safe in this scary world.
He also touched the lives of many other people in his early days as a therapy dog for a nursing home and was never a dog you would forget with his soft eyes and gentle calm personality. Andy\’s final gift he gave to me was holding on until one week before my new assistance dog arrived as he knew I would be OK and he could let go.
My best friend, my angel, you will never be forgotten. My Andy pants.
Woofa was so in tune with me and how I was coping and knew how to help! He learned pressure therapy easily. He was always by my side. He has left a huge hole in my heart! It’s taken some time to start moving forward. mindDog helped our bond grow!”