Therapy Dog Killed by Hunter Who Mistook Her for a Wolf

Kaoru — pronounced ka-oh-roo — was a four-year-old trained therapy dog who worked with autistic children and people with emotional challenges. She was a Tamaskan, like the dog in the photo above.

This rare breed, a cross of Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute and German Shepherd, was developed to create “a dog that looks like a feral in appearance with working ability,” according to the Tamaskan Club of America.

Tragically, it was likely Kaoru’s wolf-like looks that got her killed.

Kaoru was near the end of an off-leash hike with her owner, Valley Calderoni, along with colleague Markie Blackburn and 10 other dogs from Canine Valley. The facility, located in Squamish, British Columbia, works with dogs that have behavioral issues.

As Calderoni watched in horror, Kaoru was shot by a hunter who was only 10 feet away.

“I held her and I told her to go, just go, and she died,” Calderoni wrote on the Canine Valley Facebook page.

As a puppy, Kaoru had become traumatized after a cross-country flight. She was brought to Canine Valley and had been with Calderoni ever since. Kaoru was rehabilitated and underwent thousands of hours of training to become a therapy dog.

In one case, a client was having difficulty coping with the death of his wife, who’d suddenly died in a car crash. During a walk in the woods with Calderoni and Kaoru, Calderoni suggested he lay down and take deep breaths. As he did, Kaoru approached the man and settled down on top of him.

“He cried for the first time,” Calderoni told CBC News. “He just let go and Kaoru knew what to do.”

Kaoru worked especially well with children. “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,” Calderoni wrote on Facebook. “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.”

The unidentified hunter who killed Kaoru apparently didn’t realize she was a dog. Although it’s legal to hunt mule deers and black bears in that area — and Kaoru resembles neither — hunting wolves is not permitted, although it is in other areas of British Columbia. The case is being investigated, but no charges have yet been filed against the hunter.

To prevent more tragedies, Conservation officer Kent Popjes told CBC News that hunters should “take your time, slow down, take a breath and make sure you know exactly what you are shooting at is a safe and legal animal. As a hunter, it’s your responsibility to completely identify the target before you pull the trigger.”

To help save their pets’ lives, it’s also a good idea for people walking their dogs in hunting zones to keep them on leash and have them wear bright, reflective vests.

Here’s another good idea: So that no other beloved pets or innocent animals have to die there, a “No Hunting and No Shoot Zone” should be established in the area where Kaoru was killed. Please sign and share this Care2 petition demanding justice for Kaoru.

Photo credit: By Kirsten Dieks, Copyrighted free use

122 comments

Ben O
Ben O2 months ago

All it takes to be a hunter is to be imbecile...

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Janis K
Janis K2 months ago

Another person that shouldn't be allowed to own a gun.

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Berenice Guedes de Sá
Berenice Guedes d2 months ago

Stupid person! Shot at a poor animal!

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Carole R
Carole R2 months ago

He never should have shot at a wolf or a dog. The idiot.

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Julie C
Julie C2 months ago

With regards to my comment below, I meant he thought he killed a wolf.

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Julie C
Julie C2 months ago

He killed a wolf, which is illegal. He shot it in the midst of humans, which is dangerous. He didn't know what he was shooting at, which is wrong. The dog cost thousands of dollars to train, aside from the trauma it caused those watching and the owner. The hunter should be charged and fined the amount of training a therapy dog. It's not justice, but it's as close as we can probably get. Oh, and never get hunting license again.

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Kay M
Kay M2 months ago

Good afternoon and thank you for this article and petition- POSITIVELY- THIS HUNTER NEEDS TO BE ARRESTED AND FINED- HE SHOT FROM 10 FEET AWAY FROM THAT THERAPY DOG AND THE GROUP OF HUMANS WALKING WITH HIM- HE COULD HAVE SHOT AND KILLED ANY OF THOSE HUMANS- THAT BEAUTIFUL DOG IS AS IMPORTANT IF NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY HUMAN- HE WAS A THERAPY DOG -HE HELPED TO HEAL KIDS- ADULTS- THE ELDERLY- THE SICK -THE INJURED- I AM SO SAD AND DISGUSTED WITH MEN IN THIS WORLD - WITH THEIR GUNS AND NO REGARD FOR LIFE---PERIOD---things must change now not later - congress needs to act- the pot us needs to act - every voter needs to act -STAND UP- SPEAK OUT- DEMAND TO BE HEARD - AND LISTENED TO- STOP THE INSANITY OF GUNS- VIOLENCE- MURDER- MASSACRE- sincerely KAY M.

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Ligia M
Ligia M2 months ago

This is so ridiculous...poor dog

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Helene L
Helene L2 months ago

There is no doubt in my mind that this hunter was so thrilled to see a beautiful wolf that he shoot him in such happiness without even a heart beat in his rotten cage.

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Lenore K
Lenore K2 months ago

ok

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