It is with sadness that we share the news that Meg Ogden lost her Belgian Malinois, Sasha in mid-September. After a difficult summer, Sasha seemingly-unconnected symptoms were diagnosed too late as an aggressive form of meningitis or encephalitis.
Sasha was adopted as a 9-month old rescue through the American Belgian Malinois Club about three years ago. Once a fairly timid little gal, she immediately excelled at obedience training, then thrived in agility (it's too bad that her handlers couldn't keep up!). That being said, Sasha was usually most interested in one thing: simply giving and getting attention to and from anyone willing to share.
Meg and Sasha joined Ottawa Therapy Dogs only earlier this year. Nevertheless, Sasha had adapted quickly to her new job and looked forward to her after-dinner visits with residents of the Assisted Living Facility at Ottawa’s Central Park Lodges. Her work often began before she even entered the building; weather permitting, she would visit with three ‘regulars’ who awaited her arrival while enjoying the last bits of daylight sitting on benches outside the front entrance. Inside, albeit brief, her individual visits always had noticeable impacts, whether one resident moved his/her hand and fingers much more than usual to give her a scratch behind the ears or another spoke-up after a lengthy silence to tell a story about a dog he/she had years ago.
Through her polite but insistent demands for attention (those who know a Malinois know all too well what this means!), Sasha made her way into the hearts of residents, visitors and staff alike. Her life was far too short, but it's reassuring to know that this part of it touched so many others.
Meg will continue her involvement with OTD and hopes to carry on Sasha’s work with another canine friend, sometime down the road.