This submission is by Crystal Loschko, whose everyday Hero Dog is Stella, a Rottweiler.
My Dog is My Hero Because…
I have a new puppy now who is a frequent visitor of Zoom Room, but just wanted to share my last dog’s story because I think it is unique. Thanks!
In 2005, I moved to the small country of Honduras, Central America, to be an English teacher in the Peace Corps. Stella was a gift from the Hondurans – an 8 week old puppy that would supposedly grow into a ‘bravo’ (fierce) dog to protect me. While she did grow to be a 90 lb Rottweiler, she never did turn fierce. Stella loved the students in my music and English classes SO much, that she became my teaching assistant. We taught Kindergarten through 6th grade classes in our village all about math, grammar, music, and American culture. Stella understood her commands in English and Spanish – her students were so proud to know a ‘bilingual dog’. She was an amazing teaching tool who kept our students engaged and excited to learn. After my Peace Corp service ended, Stella acquired her own Green Card and came back to the states with me. We moved to Milwaukee’s East Side where Stella made MANY friends in the neighborhood.
She was my best friend and had been through the mill with me. This March, right before her 6th birthday, she fell ill quite suddenly and an ultrasound found a rare and aggressive (and inoperable) form of cancer
that was causing her to suffer – so I did what I felt was best – we had her put down to end her suffering. She and I were a good team, but all dogs go to heaven, I hear, so I’m sure she’s chasing squirrels, eating dirt and giving high-fives to her heart’s content now.
If anything positive has come out of this, her illness was so rare that they have decided to use her story and results to write a medical journal to help track this disease. Someday when another person has to lose their pet to this cancer, there will be some answers.
Stella taught along side me in the schools of Honduras, led a fine example for the Rottweiler breed, teaching countless youth that not all ‘bully breeds’ are really bullies – and now she’s helping science. Not a bad for a dog. Truly one of my heroes. RIP Stella.
Learn more about the Hero Dog Awards.