by Joan Reddy
Categories: Animals, Causes, People.

Machiko, a five-year-old black Labrador and a member of the Massachusetts Canine Rescue Team, saved another lost human for the last time.

Machiko (also known as Mishi for short) was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer. The dog’s handlers were forced to make the difficult decision to end her suffering by having her euthanized. Even though it was in the best interest of the animal, letting her go was not easy and a very emotional experience for those who loved her. “She’s my partner, she’s my friend, and she’s a family member,” said Mishi’s handler Russ Doucette.

In honour of Mishi, the team staged a mock search inside Hopkinton Park, pretending that a colleague had gone missing. More than a dozen volunteers and friends came to share in the beloved canine’s final search. Although Mishi no longer had use of all her legs, she used her three functional ones with incredible gusto to walk around the park sniffing out clues to try and locate her lost friend. Needless to say, it was a very emotional experience to watch this brave dog put her own suffering aside to help a human.

While fighting back tears, fellow handler Cheryl Oetting said that “[w]hen you train a search dog, you spend thousands of hours together. It creates a bond that’s very strong.”

Throughout New England, Mishi has helped to rescue many people who were lost. Her trainer and guardian hopes that the work of the Canine Rescue team is not forgotten.

“I hope that the story gets out about how hard these people work, and how much they sacrifice to get themselves and their dogs ready to help people that do get lost,” Douchette said.

Mishi has now crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and is joyfully frolicking with her new playmates. She will be dearly missed and remembered by all who loved and admired her.

Lets honor Mishi’s memory, and her handler’s wishes, by sharing the story of this brave little soul.

Photo Credit: courtesy of

About Joan Reddy

Joan Reddy is a professional photographer, writer, animal rights activist, and environmentalist. Joan holds a Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Toronto, and a Masters of Environmental Studies from York University, in Toronto, where her thesis focused on Animal Rights. Through her writing, Joan wants to help to educate the public about the way animals are abused and exploited, in cultures around the world. Joan is also founder and president of the Federal registered non-profit organization "International Communication for Animal Justice." Her organization's website can be found at, and her professional profile on LinkedIn at

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