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Beloved Mass. rescue dog goes on honorary last mission before being put to sleep

A mock search was held by the Massachusetts Canine Rescue Team for team member “Mishi,” who was euthanized this morning.
A mock search was held by the Massachusetts Canine Rescue Team for team member “Mishi,” who was euthanized this morning. wcvb.com

Machiko, a 5-year-old black Lab and a member of the Massachusetts Canine Rescue Team, took to the trail one last time. Diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer, the beloved dog got to participate in her last search with her caring team.

According to WCVB.com out of Boston today, Machiko (also called Mishi for short), was able to work one final search mission with her team inside Hopkinton State Park on Tuesday night – a staged search to honor their longtime friend and canine colleague.

Mishi’s handlers were forced to make the difficult decision to have her put down after doctors discovered she was suffering from an aggressive form of bone cancer. Just three weeks after Mishi was taken to a veterinarian and diagnosed, the good natured Lab had already lost the use of one of her legs.

“She's my partner, she's my friend, and she's a family member,” Mishi's handler Russ Doucette said.

On her final rescue, Mishi participated with incredible gusto, joyfully searching out and locating one of the team members who was “missing.” A part of the rescue team’s family and a work partner, Mishi put her suffering aside, and with her tail wagging, found her missing friend.

“More than a dozen volunteers and friends came to see the dog's final search. It was an emotional evening for those who have spent years training Mishi,” says WCVB, who also carried tear-jerking footage of her final day.

While fighting back tears, fellow handler Cheryl Oetting said: “When you train a search dog, you spend thousands of hours together. It creates a bond that's very strong.”

Doucette added: “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.”

Mishi was put to sleep this morning. Please honor Mishi’s handler’s wish and share this touching story.

For more information on the brave work done by canine search and rescue animals, please head over to the National Association for Search and Rescue web site.

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