Therapy Dog Shot And Killed By Hunter

What was supposed to be a regular walk for Valeria Calderoni and her dog turned into a tragic ordeal after her dog was shot and killed by a hunter. Valeria, who trains and rehabilitates dogs, was out on a walk with her dog, Kaoru, and a group of nine other dogs, when a gunshot rung out. Moments later, Kaoru died in her arms.

Valeria, who is founder of the Canine Valley rehabilitation centre in Squamish, British Columbia, says that Kaoru, who was a Tamaskan, was mistaken for a wolf by the hunter. The dog was a well-loved therapy dog in the community and worked with autistic children. Her sudden death has left Valeria stunned and calling for changes to be made in the popular hiking spot near Lake Lucille, an area north of Squamish that is popular with hunters and hikers.

Valeria shares how the tragic incident happened on Canine Valley’s Facebook page writing:

“Today, like any other day, I took my beautiful girl with a teammate and nine other dogs on a regular hike. The hike was amazing; the dogs were so well behaved, training went beautifully. As we were finishing the hike, we were putting the leashes back on the dogs. We were going up a little bank onto an old forest road.

“I already had two dogs on the leash when I heard the bang, it was so loud, my instinct made me crouch down, then I looked, and I saw 10 feet in front of me my dog shot. She screamed, and looked at her wound with disbelief and then looked at me with the absolute feeling of betrayal. I ran towards her as she stumbled down the road where she collapsed. I tried to save her, I held her, I just knew it was not good. I did not want her to suffer, and I told her “just go, just let go baby girl”. She died.

“I never cried so hard in my life. I was faint; I could not breathe. The amount of pain I feel should never be experienced by anyone, ever, for any reason. A hunter, a trophy hunter killed my dog. I told him “the only thing that can make this better would be if you never, ever take another life again”.

What kind of human can look in a scope at such beautiful creature and murder it? This man took my dog’s life because he thought she was a wolf surrounded by seven other dogs and 10 feet away from my teammate and me. We could have died.”

She further explains the impact that Kaoru had made on her life and the life of others.

“To say that we love our dogs is an understatement. Some of us have changed our lifestyles completely to be able to enjoy the tremendous feeling of exploring the woods with a dog. My dog was amazing; she was a Tamaskan, a rare breed. Her name was Kaoru (Kah-oh-roo) she was named after a Japanese hero of mine. When she was a pup, she was mischievous always stealing socks, shoes, tapes, toothbrushes hiding them around the house or tearing them apart. I loved this dog; I laugh so much at her antics.

“I spent hours working with her and training her to be a service dog, and I loved that she always remind wild. Kaoru’s favourite pastime was garden design, I planted a tree in one of the yards, and next thing I see is Kaoru taking it out with the roots and all, carrying it to the side and burying it, you see the tree did not match her style.

“Kaoru touched so many lives; she was an unexpected joy, I remember coming home to find princess Kaoru sleeping on top of the fridge, indeed the best view in the house. But the most beautiful thing I ever saw Kaoru do was when she was working with Autistic children. These beautiful kids have episodes and would sometimes be rough with her, but Kaoru was amazing and followed her training perfectly. She would squint her eyes, lay down, and let out a sigh, the kids then would slowly begin to calm down as their hands crunched tightly on Kaoru’s fur.

“Kaoru has worked with many kids and people, from PSD to regular children, elders and adults. I loved my dog so much and watching her give herself so entirely to anyone that let her has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Valeria also made this video of Kaoru to help raise awareness of the issue and hopes Kaoru’s death will bring about a much needed change in the community.

Caution: a graphic image is shown at 1:01.

Authorities are investigating the incident and the hunter is cooperating with the investigation. Valeria wants the laws in the area to be changed to protect the public, telling Global News that she plans to pressure government to create a no-hunting zone 400 metres from the highway between Squamish and Whistler. “There shouldn’t even be any hunting allowed in that area,” she says. “There are so many people there.”

She also wants hunters to be made more aware of recreational users in the area to avoid future tragedies.

“I can’t believe that Kaoru is gone, that someone could do that. I am in pain and I want to use this intense pain to help stop this, we can take a stand, we can change things,” she writes. Valeria has now started a GoFundMe campaign to make changes to the popular trail area to protect people in the community and to train a new service dog to honor Kaoru’s memory.

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