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Six weeks ago, a dog was found in a ditch, covered in filth and too weak to walk. She was picked up by a member of the Alliston & District Humane Society and taken to a nearby veterinary clinic. The dog, estimated to be about ten years old, spent the first week fighting for her life. Over the next five weeks, “Princess” became stronger and quite attached to her caregivers, following them everywhere they went. She also showed an affinity for other animals, children and meeting new people. Medically, Princess continued to have her ups and downs, usually eating well and growing stronger, but occasionally losing her appetite and growing weaker.

This past weekend, Princess experienced the best two days of her new life. She ate well and, on Saturday morning, the dog that could barely stand six weeks ago took a spontaneous run around her new family’s back yard, head held high and tail wagging. On Sunday, Princess made a guest appearance at the Alliston animal shelter, to have her picture taken with Santa. In the picture, Princess is responding to a massage from Santa with a look of sheer pleasure on her face.

On Sunday night, Princess’ health took another turn for the worse. She stopped eating and was in obvious discomfort. Her foster mom, Pattie Dawson, rushed her to the veterinary clinic on Monday morning. Through the day, day Princess became progressively weaker and appeared to experience increasing pain. On Monday evening, surrounded by the members of her new family, Princess passed away of multiple organ failure... the consequence of years of neglect and abuse.

Although Princess’ sudden and unexpected passing is very sad for her caregivers, I can’t help but feel somewhat relieved and happy for her. Over the past six weeks, Princess experienced love and proper care, likely for the first time, she appeared to enjoy her new life and family immensely, and now she is no longer sick or in pain. How much sadder would Princess’ story have been if she had died alone, in a ditch, six weeks ago?

I continue to be very proud of my students and I hope they will come to understand that their efforts on behalf of Princess were not in vain. Through their cards and fund-raising efforts, they sent a clear message to others that animal abuse is not acceptable, they learned that even kids can make a huge difference, and they helped to make the last days of an abused dog’s life happy.

Our class raised $713.09 to assist with the cost of Princess' care, through a classroom coin drive and school-wide "Hat Day for the Humane Society!"  Our financial contribution has been forwarded to the Alliston & District Humane Society, to help pay Princess’ outstanding veterinary bills. If there is any money left over it will be used to support the animals in the society’s shelter. Pattie Dawson plans to visit our class in the New Year, to thank the students and let them know how much their financial and moral support meant to Princess’ caregivers.


Alliston Herald article (December 19 2012):

My daughter Emily (age 12) and I plan to represent our class at Princess' memorial.  We will also travel to Alliston in the spring for the dedication of a new walkway, with memorial trees and plaques, around the two ponds on the Humane Society's property.  This walkway will be named "Princess' Path,"  in memory of the dog who touched thousands of lives with her story and inspired our class and others across Simcoe County to come together, via social media, to assist Princess and speak out against animal abuse.

As Wendy Haugen, of the Alliston & District Humane Society wrote:  "Sometimes it is not the ones who are here for a long time that touch us the most, but the ones who are so grateful for so little and here for such a short time."

If you would like to support the organization that helped Princess
send a donation to:
Alliston & District Humane Society, P.O. Box 1455, Everett, Ontario, L0M 1J0
For online donations, visit their “Canada Helps” page:

Tax receipts will be issued for donations over $10.00.

Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me (Margaret Black): or to add a comment to this page.

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