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A Thank You Letter To An ‘Exceptional’ Dog



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Baron, a yellow Labrador service dog with The Exceptional Sidekick Service Dogs, has died, as announced by the nonprofit organization’s owner Abby Hill.

Baron was recently diagnosed with cancer just before he could be placed as a service dog, as shared in the May 7 “‘Rock Star’ Service Dog Facing The Best Last Days of His Life” story in The Newtown Bee.

As Hill shared on the organization’s Facebook page on June 1, “It is with great sadness that we share the passing of one of our beloved dogs, Exceptional Sidekick Baron. He passed with his puppy raisers by his side on Sunday. As in life, he was surrounded by love.

“It took us time to think of exactly how to capture what Baron means to this organization and the people whose lives he has touched. We would like to share our thoughts and reflect on his short but impactful life through a note to an exceptional dog.

“Dear Baron,” Hill wrote. “Thank you. Thank you for the zeal and spark you brought into a room, whether you were training with your family, staying with volunteers, or working — your true purpose. Not only did you bring the kind of smiles that a beautiful boy like you might, but you also brought healing to those who truly needed you. You were everything we hope for in a service dog: smart, charismatic, loving, and intuitive. You were everything we hope for in a friend: patient, kind, loyal.

“The effects of your life are far reaching. Your face was recognizable through Newtown, whether you were on daily walks, at training classes, or attending high school band events. In our organization you quickly became a favorite. Your work ethic was unmatched. You jumped to offer each behavior and you were always ready for the moment when someone may need you. We are proud of everything you accomplished. You leave behind big pawprints to fill.

“We hope to carry on your legacy as we process this devastating loss. You were born to be a hero. You were a hero,” Hill finished.

For more information about The Exceptional Sidekick Service Dogs and ways to support the organization, visit exceptionalsidekick.org; or to donate in honor of Baron text “BARON” to 44-321, according to Hill.

Eliza Hallabeck can be reached at eliza@thebee.com.

Baron, a yellow Labrador trained service dog with The Exceptional Sidekick Service Dogs, recently died after being diagnosed with cancer. —Heather Kelly Photography photo
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