Melissa and Baxter’s final picture

October 20, 2009 at 11:22 am 113 comments

This the last picture of Baxter and Melissa.  It was taken the day before we lost him.

This is the last picture of Baxter and Melissa. It was taken the day before we lost him.


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Baxter’s final picture Baxter’s little buddy lives on

113 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brenda  |  October 20, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    What a beautiful angelic dog! I’m so sorry for your loss but what a journey you have had. What a loving Heavenly Father we have to bless us with such wonderful furry friends. And Baxter is a friend to so many who knew him and in the hearts of so many more.

    • 2. melissa  |  October 21, 2009 at 10:05 pm

      He’s bigger than life…my little guy

    • 3. melissa  |  November 26, 2009 at 8:09 am

      Baxter gave my life meaning and purpose. He was my
      ritual, my happiness, and my peace. I miss him; however, I
      am grateful for people like you who offer support. Thank you.

  • 4. MaLinda  |  October 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    What a beautiful sight! You have been so blessed to have each other and to have been the “light” of so many’s hearts. Though I don’t even know you, love you Baxter and Melissa too.

    • 5. melissa  |  October 21, 2009 at 10:06 pm

      Thank you for your kind comments.

  • 6. Arla Miller  |  October 20, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    You and Baxter must have been such a blessing to all the people’s lives you touched. I know it must be difficult for you to be with out him. I do not know you or did I know Baxter but I have had experience with Hospice and that is a very special group of people to do what they do. You are a very special person to have done what you did and Baxter was a very special animal to do what he did. I am sure he will be greatly missed by all. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    • 7. melissa  |  November 26, 2009 at 8:11 am

      Baxter was an angel and he fit perfectly with all the other angels
      at hospice. He made each person feel like they were not
      alone. The creed for hospice: no one should suffer; no one
      should die alone.

  • 8. Cheryl  |  October 20, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I was very sorry to read about the loss of Baxter. He will be greatly missed, and I know he was a shining light for so many. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • 9. Holly Churchill  |  October 20, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    This is a great picture! Thank you for sharing it!!! Loves to both

  • 10. Cindy Karasz  |  October 20, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I just learned about Baxter yesterday for the first time, and in looking for more info about him online, I saw that he passed away. He was a blessing to many.

  • 11. Karen Anderer  |  October 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    A True Treasure. You can see he Love in this photo.
    I hope you dream you are with him often.

  • 12. G Hughes  |  October 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    I have been deeply moved by Baxter’s story. Who could measure the comfort that his unconditional love brought to people at the end of their lives. Melissa, my heart breaks for you – you have had to say goodbye to a beautiful soul. Take comfort in knowing that you and Baxter have made a huge difference.

    • 13. melissa  |  November 26, 2009 at 8:13 am

      Thank you. Ironically, the work Baxter did revolved around
      saying “goodbye” to people. And then, I had to say “goodbye”
      to him.

      Baxter, in some way, taught me how to do this. We all have to
      do this. It’s the bitter side of life. Doesn’t make it any easier,
      but I do have so many others like yourself who understand.

  • 14. Florence Kelly from Canada  |  October 20, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    What a beautiful picture of you and your handsome boy…my heart really do break for you….although you’ve had him a long time and he has done wonderful things, your sense of loss must be overwhelming at this time… will see again, and he will be waiting with a smile on his face (which would not surprise me coming from love to you and your family, I feel so blessed and thank you for sharing so much about your precious gem…xoxox

  • 15. Gina & Anna Bahen  |  October 21, 2009 at 12:44 am

    Dear Melissa & Dennis,

    We are so sorry for your loss but know that Baxter was welcomed by all those he took such good care of at Hospice.
    I know your heart is breaking but know he is always close by – you will realize this if you haven’t already. He is being so well taken care of in Heaven by all the angles he touched here on earth.

    Me & Anna are sure Shriley was there to greet him!

    We love you and will try to get a copy of our movie to you soon. Anna turned in a very short version 5 min tape but we have lots and lots more I will work on and get to you shortly!

    You are always in our toughts and prayers..

    If you need anything please let us know

    Gina & Anna Bahen

  • 16. Nilufer  |  October 21, 2009 at 1:34 am

    I’ll miss seeing his sweet face so much… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
    My heart goes out to you…

  • 17. Leslye Dedopoulos  |  October 21, 2009 at 6:16 am

    I nominated Baxter for Person of the Week on ABC News. This is what I sent:

    Dear ABC News,

    I would like to nominate Baxter the Therapy Dog for “Person” of the Week. He died last Friday at the age of 19 1/2. He was the subject of a book entitled “Moments with Baxter,” about his life bringing love and comfort to dying hospice patients. There is already video footage available of him from previous stories done by 4 news stations (see second link below), so half the work is already done for you! Besides being the cutest dog ever, this was a special pup and we could all use a story of inspiration. I am just a fan, no connection to him.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Leslye Dedopoulos

    • 18. Janice Adler  |  October 26, 2009 at 7:30 pm


    • 19. baxieboo  |  October 31, 2009 at 11:39 am

      This is wonderful that you did this. I tried unsuccessfully to
      get my little guy out to the world via national TV. It’s odd what
      gets to be news.

      Baxter was all love. He represented the most powerful aspect
      of life…the gift of giving.

      Now, he has his book which will hopefully become a nat’l
      bestseller and help hospice and shelters all over the planet.

      Thank you for what you did.

      Melissa, Baxter’s mom

  • 20. Gina & Anna Bahen  |  October 21, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Dearest Baxter,

    What a wonderful gift your friendship was for us.
    Anna loved you and your Mom & Dad very much!

    All the Angels in heaven are so happy to be able to play with you now, so say hello to our Shirley for us.

    And we know that you will never be far just a Moment with Baxter away

    With all our love
    Gina & Anna Bahen

  • 21. Laura Zickus  |  October 21, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I was so saddened to hear of Baxter’s passing yesterday and am so sorry for your loss. He was a true angel and I feel truly blessed to have been able to meet him — and you Melissa, as well! Thank you for sharing him with the world through his book and with all the Hospice patients he has helped throughout the years. He will be missed!

    • 22. baxieboo  |  October 31, 2009 at 11:41 am

      I’m so glad that you got to meet him. I often said that to meet
      Baxter was to have an experience. Once that occurred you
      would never be able to forget him or the aura he had.

      Still, Baxter is in an odd way gracing the world with his love.
      People are reading about him, buying his book, watching his
      videos, and like yourself, writing about your feelings about

      Thank you for doing this.

      Melissa, Baxter’s mom

  • 23. Toni  |  October 21, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Baxter was truly a blessing and touched the lives of so many. While he has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, his spirit still lives on, as does his legacy. Not only will he never be forgotten, the difference he made in the lives of so many will also live on forever.

    God bless!

  • 24. Lani Smith  |  October 21, 2009 at 7:57 pm


    What a wonderful photo of you two. Baxter will be missed by all who knew him, but no one will miss him as much as you. Thank you for sharing Baxter with all of us. I will always cherish my brief time with him.

    Would it be possible to post the lyrics to the song from The Tribute to Baxter? I heard some of the words, but had trouble making out others. I would really like to know all of them. What I heard seemed so appropriate. Thanks.


  • 25. michelle  |  October 21, 2009 at 11:19 pm


    I’ve never met Baxter or Melissa – but I just saw the sweetest video of Baxter posted on Facebook and just had to Google to find out more about him. I was at first happy and then immediately saddened when I found this blog. I’m so very sorry for your loss. What a gentle and beautiful soul he was and how generous of you to have shared him with so many others. I’m wishing peace for you both tonight.


  • 26. Eva Mercedesz  |  October 22, 2009 at 3:21 am

    My God bless this old and pure soul! We love you Baxter.

  • 27. Kimberly  |  October 22, 2009 at 8:16 am

    I am so sorry for the loss of Baxter. He has touched the heart of thousands. I have seen the video of him on the internet and he was an amazing dog with an equally amazing owner. The compassion that you felt for Baxter was echoed in the compassion that you felt for the people that he visited.

    • 28. baxieboo  |  October 31, 2009 at 11:44 am

      We all must leave this world and I believe that the end can be
      just as precious as previous moments in one’s life. Baxter
      made it all better. He touched upon the preciousness of life
      but also the fearlessness of the end. This helped patients,
      family members and friends.

      He was there for all who reached out. He gave all he had
      and now the world can read about him through his book
      and comments like yours.

      Melissa, Baxter’s mom

  • 29. daniela  |  October 22, 2009 at 8:57 am

    thinking of you with all doggy angels… thanks for your love

  • 30. Gail  |  October 22, 2009 at 9:40 am

    I met you at Borders in CMR and saw you often. How people embraced you and you them while visiting the store was so heatwarming. Baxter and you touched my heart and the many other lives and hearts. Thanks for sharing such a good friend. May your many memories lift you up at this time.

    • 31. baxieboo  |  October 31, 2009 at 11:49 am

      Baxter was the ultimate companion. He never complained and
      he always wanted to give love and be loved. The car was his
      magic carpet ride. Always happy to go bye-bye and always
      excited about the destination, the smells, and the people he
      met. No one was a stranger to him. He spoke everyone’s
      language. Perhaps, his eyes will captivate the world.

      Melissa, Baxter’s mom

  • 32. Toni  |  October 22, 2009 at 10:41 am


    I am so very sorry for your loss. Baxter was an amazing dog, and touched the lives of so many. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to know him, as he shared some swim therapy sessions with our Dobie, Smantha.
    Baxter was an inspiration — and his legacy will live on.
    I will never forget this very special boy.

  • 33. Wing  |  October 22, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Miss you.

  • 34. Nancy  |  October 22, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I, too, just saw a video about Baxter on Facebook, and am now wiping the tears from my keyboard.
    I can’t help but think about how my own pets have helped me through my darkest times.

    What a wonderful dog (and mom!). You and all who came in contact with him were truly lucky and blessed.

  • 35. Rick  |  October 22, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I read of Baxter today for the first time. As I read your account of his life on your home page my heart went out to the both of you. He sounds like he was quite a guy. I had a little guy we rescued in ’95. We were at the shelter and asked about him. He was to be put to sleep at the end of the day if no one asked for him. It was 5:00pm and we couldn’t leave him there. He never had such a noble cause as Baxter buddy but such a guy with character and personality you never met! He was with me everyday at my shop and when he had cancer this spring and was gone in a week it was a huge loss.
    At any rate, I can empathize with you at this time of mourning and I hope that you are finding comfort and support from all the people who shared Baxter’s life with you.

  • 36. Margaret Stuhlreyer  |  October 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Melissa, Please accept my deepest sympathies on the loss of your beloved Baxter. I read of his passing via the Shiba Puppy Cam, and the dog files. After a very difficult period of crying, I found Baxter’s web site, and will be awaiting the arrival of your book. Although I did not know Baxter, I will treausure his life and will never forget him. You were blessed to have had Baxter for all of those years, and certainly the world is a sadder place with his passing. But he has now been reunited with all of those people that he aided in their final time on Earth. Thank you for sharing his remarkable life.

    • 37. baxieboo  |  October 31, 2009 at 11:45 am

      I hope that you find yourself curling up with Baxter as you
      read his stories. I believe you will fall deeply in love with him
      and his magic.

      Thank you for your support.

      Melissa, Baxter’s mom

  • 38. Kathy  |  October 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    I just want to say I am truely sorry for the loss of your Bax. Please remeber all the wonderful time you had with him and all others that had the special moments with him. He’s an angel.

  • 39. Perian Carpenter  |  October 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    So sorry for your loss, I had posted a video of baxter on my facebook, what an inspiration he was and will conitnue to be….There are a lot of humans who could learn from him xoxoxox

  • 40. Ron Dexter  |  October 22, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    That you for all the gifts you have brought to people at the end of their lives. May your life continue to be blessed with the memories of Baxter.

  • 41. redstarcafe  |  October 22, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Godspeed, Baxter. You have your angel wings now.

  • 42. Gail  |  October 22, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    I shed a tear watching the beautiful video of you and Baxter at Hospice. I am sure you must be feeling a large empty spot now. He lived a long life and surely because he was being of service and knew he had a purpose. Bless his little heart. The heart of a lion. . . he looked part lion even. What a sweet, sweet loving face. So glad there are people like you that provide this wonderful comfort experience for people during their last days. Thank you.

  • 43. Freya  |  October 23, 2009 at 3:38 am

    Hi, I’m so very sorry to hear about Baxter, but your film is a wonderful tribute to an inspirational dog.

  • 44. Bill Crim  |  October 23, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Hello Melissa,
    Heard about Baxter this morning at breakfast with your dad. I’m so sorry. I really enjoyed the book and love seeing the website.
    Bill Crim

  • 45. Sandra  |  October 23, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Melissa & Dennis: I am deeply saddened by your loss. Thank you for giving the world the chance to know and love BaxieBoo. I was so fortunate to meet Baxter and the both of you back on Aug. 1st in Del Mar. The experience will forever warm my heart! There is a group known as the Shibaholics who have added comments about Baxter on their message board:
    I hope that you find comfort in knowing how many additional lives Baxter continues to touch.
    My love and prayers. Sandra

  • 46. BZTAT  |  October 23, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Thank you for sharing your sweet boy with the patients at San Diego Hospice and with the rest of the world through your book. I wish you peace and comfort in your loss. The Rainbow Bridge is a bit brighter now, knowing that Baxter is there looking out for all of us. May he run and jump and play in the sun at the Bridge. he has earned it.

  • 47. brenda ough  |  October 23, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    angels come in all shapes and sizes and Baxter you were truly one….

  • 48. Angela  |  October 23, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Scusate se scrivo in italiano, ma in inglese non riuscirei ad esprimere fino in fondo quanto sento…

    Ho saputo poco fa dalla tv che Baxter รจ volato in cielo…
    Dolcissimo, meraviglioso, tenero angelo, hai raggiunto un luogo bellissimo, dove potrai riposare, giocare e, sono sicura, dare ancora tanto tanto amore!
    Hai donato momenti di gioia e sollievo a tante persone sofferenti, eri davvero un essere specialissimo…
    Sono sicura che tutte loro ti ringraziano, ti pensano e non ti scorderanno mai…

    Buon riposo dolcissimo, unico, meraviglioso Baxter…
    Saluta il mio gattino Lillo, anche lui รจ in cielo e anche lui sapeva dare tanto tanto amore!

    Melissa… Un grande abbraccio per te…


  • 49. Susan Lathrop  |  October 23, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Melissa, I was at Baxter’s birthday and at the humane society event at the Bernardo winery. I said I was going to be his fan club. You probably don’t remember me. I just put Baxter’s book on my coffee table about a month ago and this is the first time back to the site in months. I was drawn back by Baxter. I wanted to see him again and so I see he is in Heaven where all dogs go. You let his ears grow back into bears. My heart is feeling something…I am thinking of you and what you might be going through and my prayers are with you as you remember Baxter. He touched my life in the four hours I spent with him at the end of his life.

  • 50. Christina  |  October 23, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    I am so sorry for the loss of Baxter..He touched so many people, just by reading the book or seeing videos. Anyone who has seen his adorable face has been blessed.

  • 51. Kara  |  October 23, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    I cried when I watched the video of you & Baxter at the Hospice; it was so beautiful. I cried when I heard that Baxter passed away. God placed such a precious angel on this planet to help those who needed love…and then God decided to call Baxter back home. Can you imagine what your gorgeous puppy is doing right now? Probably kissing everyone insight!
    It’s so wonderful to see & read what you & Baxter did ~ it warms my heart. The world needs more people like yourself. Thank you for sharing your story and for saving Baxter. You’re an angel!

  • 52. Tony  |  October 24, 2009 at 7:25 am

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. While I don’t know you, the video of the work Baxter and you do resonates a great deal. It is amazing what one dog (person with four legs) ๐Ÿ™‚ and an individual can accomplish. I lost an old friend (dog) a few years back and the two poems on this following link I found particularly comforting in some way. I hope you find that same comfort. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  • 53. Lynn Loehr  |  October 24, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    I am so deeply saddened by your loss, I just found out about Baxter a few days ago, only to find out he just died. I was amazed by the video of him visiting the terminallly ill people and the look of comfort on their faces when you laid Baxter down beside them. What you do is so selfless and the world needs more people like you and more dogs like Baxter. I am the owner of 4 dogs, three of them rescues, and they have saved my sanity. My husband and I have only 1 child and he lives in Wyoming and we are in Illinois. If it were not for my dogs, I would not have been able to handle this transition. Please Please know that we are praying for you and mourning your loss. I am going to go get your book because I want to read more about an extraordinary person and her extraordinary dog. God Bless You. Lynn Loehr

  • 54. Diann  |  October 25, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Dear Melissa

    Thank you for Sharing your special Baxter with everyone.He will be missed.I have sent your Video on to many people.Praying and thinking of you through this time.

  • 55. Nadine  |  October 25, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Dear Melissa & Dennis – extending my deepest sympathies on your loss of Baxter. You were truly blessed to be the guardians of such a wonderful doggie, as were the patients you visited and we people who were able to read his blog and book.

    Sweet Baxter, God bless you little doggie. May you be embraced in the arms of angel doggies…

    Doggies Apples & Neeli
    Doggie Angels Keelee, Nikki & Kimba

  • 56. Georgi Mortensen  |  October 25, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    What an absolutely beautiful dog! He has a face like Christian the Lion. Ears and all. Such a cuddle baby he must have been. And all those people who got to meet him were so fortunate. Thank yo ufor his story.

  • 57. Janice Giampaoli  |  October 25, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    I am so sorry for the loss of your gorgeous Baxter. Such a gifted dog, and oh, what a love. May I ask, what happened? I can only imagine the pain and sorrow you are going through Melissa. My heart goes out to you and to sweet, precious Baxter. So very sad! Big hugs and kisses to Baxter, and hugs to you too Melissa.

  • 58. jackie and emily  |  October 26, 2009 at 7:58 am




  • 59. PATRICIA ADAMS MESSINA  |  October 26, 2009 at 8:17 am

    I just wanted to say what I beautiful dog and a beautiful life you have had with Baxter.. Your story brought tears to my eyes.. I pray my beloved dogs Bear and Pepsi are lucky enough to meet Baxter in heaven .. God Bless you and your husband and Baxter for the wonderful work you provide and provided these many years.. These animals are truly gifts from God for all of us .. I am going to get your book and spread the word of Baxter ..may he rest now in peace…

    Love , Pat and my 2yr old Rocky…hugs

  • 60. Julie Clements-Reagan  |  October 26, 2009 at 8:27 am

    How wonderful for patients, families, and caregivers to experience the uncomplicated love of a dog.
    Dogs are such a gift — thank you for sharing the gift of Baxter.
    So very sorry for your loss.

  • 61. Gloria S  |  October 26, 2009 at 8:35 am

    My heart is breaking for you as I view the tribute and videos. Having lost my own “special boy” after 15 years on September 1,2009, I know the depth of loss you are feeling. The special gift he had will never be forgotten. The comfort he brought to so many is his beautiful legacy. He has crossed the “Rainbow Bridge” and is free of pain and running and playing with all of our special companions. God bless Baxter!

  • 62. Janet  |  October 26, 2009 at 8:35 am

    I just happened to stumble upon this story today- my heart is touched by Baxter’s story and by his passing. Monday seems just a bit brighter but at the same time I know it is so difficult to lose a a long time compainon. thoughts and prayers.

  • 63. Corry  |  October 26, 2009 at 9:01 am

    My heart goes out to you and Dennis as you mourn the loss of your family member, Baxter. What a gift God has blessed us with, when he gave us animals…especially ones like your little angel. May you find comfort in your memories. I know there is a special place in Heaven for animals, and I can only imagine that the place he has made for Baxter is nothing less than magnificent.
    Thank you for sharing Baxter with the rest of the world.
    Very sincerely,

  • 64. Kathy  |  October 26, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Dear Melissa & Dennis.
    I laughed and cried so much this morning when I read about your beloved Baxter. I too, have a therapy dog, a black lab mix named Valentine, and the joy that she brings to our patients is beyond comphrension. She has taught me so much about the human spirit and I know that Baxter did the same for you. These “fur kids” are truly God’s creatures and they are the very definition of love. Thank you so much for the work that you and Baxter have done, I know that it was deeply appreciated.

  • 65. Margaret Metzger  |  October 26, 2009 at 9:46 am

    What an angel.
    I am sorry for your loss. What a wonderful time you have had over the years with him.

    Think on those days you had him and it will bring a smile to your face
    The best to you

  • 66. Don Teed  |  October 26, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Melissa, Dennis,
    I’m so sorry once again…wished I had met him. Perhaps one day I will.

  • 67. Dave Patenaude  |  October 26, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Dear Melissa,
    So very sorry for your loss.
    What a wonderful boy Baxter must have been, thank you for sharing him.

  • 68. Max & Diane Little  |  October 26, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Baxter, your God-given comforting therapy dog, was phenomenal in his uncanny capacity to work with dying hospice patients, even as he was approaching his own last days. There is indeed a point of incongruity (as the You Tube video astutely noted) that Baxter was effectively bringing love and comfort to others, even as he was approaching his own end. A older loving dog crippled by arthritis and informities of his own, Baxter was an unequivocal demonstration of God’s love, solace and comfort to others.

    May you find peace and tranquility in your loss of Baxter, knowing that his time with your family was God’s gift to you and the countless others he comforted. Baxter’s astute ability to pass the rigorous therapy dog test, with no training or preparation, is truly a testament to his purpose of fulfilling a divine mission. Baxter will be greatly missed, but he epitomizes selfless love in his ability to transcend his own pain and yet bring happiness and peace to others.

    May the Lord shine his countenance upon you all and grant you peace during this time of loss.


    Max & Diane Little
    Orrington, Maine 10/26/09

  • 69. Vixen's Dad  |  October 26, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

    You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

    “If there is no heaven for dogs, then I want to go where they go when I die.” ~ Anon.

    . . . by the living God that made you, youre a better man than I am . . . Rudyard Kipling

  • 70. Amy Wallace  |  October 26, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I am touched by this dog. I wish I had the chance to meet him! I’m now considering training my dog Buda, a 4 1/2 yr old beagle/corgi mix, to be a therapy dog as he has a great personality like Baxter’s. I’m also hoping he will live to be as old as Baxter was, and am taking your advice to heart (only dog food from now on!)
    Thank you for your dedication to both your dog and to the many patients you’ve touched with him. If everyone in the world had a tenth of the amount of love and care you have, all our problems would be gone!

    Love, Amy Wallace

  • 71. P. McCarthy  |  October 26, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    What a special dog!!! Rest in Peace Baxter. The world will miss you.

  • 72. Jeanne  |  October 26, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    What a touching and wonderful story about a dog who was able to comfort so many. I hope the memories of your sweet Baxter will help you in the days ahead as you face this loss. I cannot imagine a life without dogs, and my 2 add so much joy to my life. God bless Baxter, and you, for tending to so many over the years.

  • 73. Jerry Carver  |  October 26, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Dear Melissa n Dennis,

    I watched the video and cried. I am so sorry for your loss. Having lost and 18 year old rescue dog last year I still feel that pain. May God comfort you during this time as you have comforted countless others.

    This is an awesome ministry. I can only hope to have one of my own or one like yours with me during mylast hours.

    Once the pain subsides some please consider getting another to continue the legacy.The comfort they provide is immeasurable.

  • 74. Kathleen Daniel  |  October 26, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Melissa and Dennis,

    Baxter,was of course an Angel in a dogs body. How blessed
    you all were to have found each other. You were such a
    lovely family to have shared you special boy with the world.
    Know he is still with you and you now have a special Angel
    of your very own.

    Kathleen and Don

  • 75. Erica  |  October 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Melissa and Dennis,
    Your video and pictures of Baxter brought tears to my eyes. We just lost our dog a month ago at 13.5. I have a chow/shiba inu mix I dearly love also. I am so touched by how much comfort that Baxter seemed to provide with just his presence. What a wonderful, beautiful soul and face he had! Condolences to you both. I know Baxter is having a good time waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge. Are you burying him?

  • 76. Katrinna Jovillar  |  October 26, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    My first time to read about Baxter. Sorry that it was his time to go and rest. His story is amazing and so touched about how he was an angel dog, giving comfort to those who are in their last days. Wow…He’s so cute and still look like a puppy. Thank your for sharing him to us even here in the internet. God bless you and Baxter will never be forgotten. I’d like to meet him one day in Heaven and give him a big hug. Thank you!

  • 77. melissa  |  October 26, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Don, Thank you for sending the card. We really appreciated
    that. You’ve been very kind and helpful.

    Melissa, Baxter’s mom

  • 78. Susan Lathrop  |  October 26, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Don, this comment is for you. I wrote Melissa and forgot to include you. I talked to you at Three Dog Bakery(?) on Baxter’s 19th birthday and bought his book there. You told me a very moving story that wasn’t in the book about a girl seeing him on a run that Baxter attended and didn’t realize he was the dog that gave his love to a relative. When she realized it she started to cry because Baxter had given so much to her family. I hope that is the story. And you told me one other one and I fealt like I was in on a secret about Baxter and it was so precious to me. You were in on the hospice therapy and the doggie events as Baxter became a celebrity. You were Baxter’s caring dad. And I so loved the red wagon, his bed, and his pillow. So I wanted to say I am thinking of you also and today as I looked at Baxter’s business card it made me smile.

  • 79. Susan Lathrop  |  October 26, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Sorry Dennis. You are not Don. Think I am having a senior moment.

  • 80. Janice Adler  |  October 26, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    God speed, sweet Baxter. You had the best Mommy….you look like my Tucker….a stuffed animal come to life. Thank you for all you did in your (short) life.
    Janice, KaelaMarie, MatelynRose and TuckerOwen in Indiana

  • 81. Luis  |  October 27, 2009 at 2:12 am

    As as dog lover I feel your loss. You both are wonderful beings and God will reward you.

  • 82. Sophie Bertin  |  October 27, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Dear Melissa and Dennis,

    I heard about Baxter for the first time about a month ago. I saw a video of him on You Tube, while he was working as a Therapy Dog. Then yesterday, I heard of his passing on Oct. 16. I’m so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful companion he was, and the three of you have been blessed to share so many years together. I will be thinking of you and Baxter tomorrow evening, during Baxter’s memorial service; a well-deserved honor for such a faithful friend.

    May God bless you and Baxter – I’m sure God has a special place for Baxter in His kingdom.

    There will never be another Baxter.

  • 83. TMcG  |  October 27, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Baxter was truly a gift. Watching the videos of his interactions proves how much of an angel he was.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • 84. Max & Diane Little  |  October 27, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Baxter was truly a miracle and a blessing to those people he comforted in their final days and hours. It was, indeed, inconcruous that as Baxter was dutifully providing comfort to others, licking and cuddling with them, he was approaching his last days with us. Baxter was truly a miracle in that he passed the therapy dog test with virtually no prior training or preparation, not to mention that God was obviously with you all when you took Baxter to the hospice orientation.

    We also mourn the passing of Baxter and your loss; yet, we are also mindful of the unconditional love that Baxter gave to scores of people in their process of experiencing the end of life. Baxter was truly a blessing to others and was obviously destined to bring peace, solace, and joy to others. Baxter certainly enjoyed his intimate interaction with others who needed his comfort, and Baxter was undoubtedly imbued with the reciprocal love he felt from them.

    Baxter’s loving memory will be memorialized with the slides and photos; many thanks for sharing them with us.

  • 85. Denise  |  October 27, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    I just today learned of Baxter’s passing and I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for your family and close friends who knew and loved Baxter. I’m also sorry for people who, like me, never had the opportunity to meet Baxter. We’ve missed a real blessing, I think. Peace to you and yours.

  • 86. jb  |  October 28, 2009 at 6:34 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about your devistating loss.
    From what I’ve read and seen through words and pictures
    Baxter meant so much to so many.
    I’m sure you will be touched by the outpouring of love
    tonight at the Memorial Service.
    I hope to meet Baxter one day at the”Rainbow Bridge”
    and thank Him myself for all He has done for so many

  • 87. Mary  |  October 28, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Dearest Melissa and Dennis –

    I am sorry to hear of your loss. I saw the news this morning on the AOL website. I cried when I had read that Baxter, the World’s Best Therapy dog, had passed away a few days ago. I had to see the hospice youtube video again and cried again. I’ve never met Baxter and have only realized who he was through the internet the last couple of weeks. The hospice video is on every dog lover’s facebook page.

    I honestly believe dogs do go to heaven. They have more heart and soul then many humans. I know Baxter is in Heaven and he is running!

    Baxter being a good, wonderful. loving, caring and compassionate life can be attributed to his good, wonderful, loving, caring and compassionate owners. It is said that pets take on the personality of their owners.

    Thank you for sharing him. I know he has made such a difference to so many people, even to those he hasn’t met. I will keep you in my prayers. And your your furry friend is watching over you with the most love.

    With sympathy and love, Mary B. from Austin, TX

  • 88. Phil  |  October 29, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    My wife came home today & told me about a video she saw & had to show me. We are both animal lovers, especially dog lovers. She put the video on & left the room for me to watch it. I cried my eyes out when I found out that Baxter had just passed away. All I can say is that you were so very fortunate to have owned him & the joy he brought not only to you, but the joy, comfort & peace to others. Baxter showed us, that all dogs want to do in life is give out unconditional love. The world was truely a better place for everyone that met him. You were exceptionaly lucky that he lived as long as he did. My heart felt condolences to you & your husband. Remember, Baxter hasn’t left you, he’s where he always was & will be, & that is within your heart.

  • 89. Gina  |  October 29, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Baxter, rest peacefully, sweet angel.

    Sending light and love to you and your family.


  • 90. LUCI  |  October 31, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Heaven has a new angel.

    I have loved dogs and worked with dogs, particularly abused dogs, for most of my adult life. Their ability to forgive, forget and dole out an endless capacity of love and devotion has certainly been exemplified by Baxter. I cannot imagine the depth of your grief or the heights of your love and appreciation for having him in your life so fully. My heart is heavy for you. Thank you for the opportunity to have known him.

    Heaven definitely has a new angel. xo

    • 91. baxieboo  |  November 9, 2009 at 10:13 pm

      I just made a presentation at the La Jolla Country Club about the ability to not only forgive but forget. It’s the forgetting that creates the
      space inside ourselves to accept more love, more positive experiences, and to be resentful. Baxter did that. I never really understood the
      infamous line, “let go” until I put this 1-2 punch in tandem. You must forgive and pair it with forgetting. It’s the only way to really move
      Thank you for what you said. It resonates with me. Melissa, Baxie’s mom

  • 92. Susan  |  October 31, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    I am saddened and heart-sick over the news of Baxter’s passing. Baxter was amazing and I know that your grief and sense of loss is beyond words. Thank you for sharing Baxter with the rest of the world. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

  • 93. Audrey  |  November 2, 2009 at 10:38 am

    I am so sorry for your loss.

    For all that Baxter was an extraordinary dog that helped so many people – he was able to achieve that only because you loved him so much and gave him the opportunity to do what he did.

    Having Baxter pass away is a terrible loss. I hope you can take comfort in the fact that you gave him a wonderful life. As sweet as he was, you were the blessing that not only showered Baxter with love, but gave others opportunities to love him too. There are sadly few animals in this world, even within the best and most loving families, who benefit from as much devotion. Your gift to him was the most extraordinary life he could possibly have had. Nothing else could have matched the importance or joy of the life you gave him.

    • 94. baxieboo  |  November 9, 2009 at 10:10 pm

      I take comfort in words from people like you who pour out their hearts to me. That is amazing! I have never been in this position before
      and I am indebted to Baxter for introducing me to you as well as all the other warm hearts that seek to embrace me here and on his

  • 95. Lorie  |  November 2, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Dear Melissa and Family,
    I just learned of Baxter’s passing and wanted to extend heart felt condolences. I will light a candle in celebration of his loving spirit and service to others. I know you and your family miss his huge loving presence. Animals are wonderful teachers of Love and Baxter’s work will live on through you, his book and other’s as they share his story. Thank you for sharing your sweet loving angel and your heart with the world. It is so inspiring and heart opening. Thank you for all your caring service. Hugs, L

  • 96. liuia  |  November 3, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I’m so sorry to read this!
    We’ll always love you, Baxter.

    • 97. baxieboo  |  November 3, 2009 at 3:50 pm

      It seems that the love just keeps pouring in. It almost makes me believe that Baxter is all around us. Melissa, Baxter’s mom

  • 98. Debbie Laverty  |  November 3, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Dear Melissa & Dennis, my heart goes out to you both over the lost of Baxter. He was truly a beautiful & special dog. I recently had to put a dog to sleep, it was the hardest thing I have ever done. We now have a new dog & she comes & goes everyway possible with me. Baxter has truly touched the hearts of many people over his 19 years. It is just amazing how they as dogs touch so many people in their own little ways. lve all dogs. ddl

    • 99. baxieboo  |  November 5, 2009 at 8:15 am

      I’m curious, how long did it take for you to be able to get another dog? Right now, I just can imagine. One day, I believe, a rescue
      dog will want me and I him or her. All I see now are dogs that aren’ Baxie.
      Thanks for your kind, thoughtful comments.

  • 100. Cathie  |  November 3, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    What a precious gift to the world your pup was. He will be missed immeasurably. So glad, for him, that he’s frolicking about on the other side of the rainbow bridge now without anymore pain or discomfort. Thank you for sharing your special boy and making the end of life a bit easier to bear. Hugs and prayers to you that your heart can find comfort and peace during this time of loss.

  • 101. Zara Benton  |  November 5, 2009 at 6:22 am

    I wish I had met you and your mom Baxter. You did such wonderful work beautiful boy, but now your work is done and you are young once more. Run free sweet angel and visit us once in a while. Your presence graced this earth now it graces Heaven. May your light shine forever in Melissa’s heart and may all your memories be happy ones. God bless you xx

  • 102. mike leonardo  |  November 5, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    My dear mother-in-law is facing her final moments as I write this, and beside me, comforting me though my tears is my Millie. The moment I have the chance, I will get her involved in this most touching, noble and inspirational path of becoming a therapy dog. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • 103. Lani Smith  |  November 5, 2009 at 11:23 pm


    Thank you so much for writing “What Happened to Baxter.” Writing it must have been difficult. You are as good at sharing yourself as Baxter was at sharing himself. I wondered what had happened. Now, I know. I’m forever grateful to you for sharing your last moments with Baxter. Love to you and Dennis.


    • 104. baxieboo  |  November 9, 2009 at 10:08 pm

      Thank you Lani. You have that lovely photo of you and Baxter to always treasure. I’ll bet than when people see you and Baxter
      together, they mistake him for yours. It was his ability to bond with others that made him such an exceptional therapy dog.
      Hugs to you, Melissa

  • 105. Dora Sesler  |  November 7, 2009 at 10:44 am

    dear melissa, baxter’s wonderful site and story was brought to my attention on october 9th and i was in awe of him as so many are…he was truly a special boy! i only learned of his passing the other day when i checked your blog and i am so sad and so sorry….my thoughts are with you and i know how hard it is to loose our special soul mates. I must tell you also that baxter looked(in appearance, personality and spirit) so much like my dog bear that it took my breath away. i lost bear in june 2007 and still miss very much. i adopted bear when he was 15 years old and lost him when he was 16 and even though i only had him for 10 months it was like he was with me forever. he was also my soul mate, along with my dog miko (who i lost in march 2008). bear like baxter looked like a puppy till the end. bear would have been the same age as baxter at this time…. 19…..and i cannot stop thinking that they could have been brothers. they are both so unique looking – have the same fur, same coloring, same eyes, same size and would have been the same age. i know it is probably unlikely, but seeing baxter that first time a month ago just made me smile and feel happy and i could not shake the feeling that they could be related and i just wanted to share that with you. my thoughts are with you during this difficult time. baxter will be with you always. take care, dora

    • 106. baxieboo  |  November 7, 2009 at 4:20 pm

      Dora, Thank you for taking the time to share with me. I have never seen a dog that looked like Baxter and I must tell that I looked
      all the time. Especially since the book came out, I’ve been surrounded by dogs and doggie people @events where I was selling my
      book. No Baxter but my Baxter. I can surely appreciate that your bear and mine were similar and I know that you must have fallen
      for yours like I, mine.
      Baxter actually grew into what he looks like in the end. When I rescued him, he didn’t at all look like these photos that you’re seeing.
      He became, he developed, he was a child that matured into a spiritual being and it changed the way he looked. Perhaps you think I’m
      nuts for saying this, but I witnessed it. I know that changing his diet, tapering him off these toxic meds, and swimming him when
      he could no longer walk, enhanced his well-being. And, it was volunteering that helped to nurture his spiritual well-being.

      Again, Baxter Became….and what you see at the end is the highest form of being with whom I’ve ever been. I miss his golden ways,
      his intense look, his kisses, and just sharing my everyday life with him. Melissa, Baxie’s mom

  • 107. stephen wallace noel  |  November 9, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I miss him already and will always love him.

    • 108. baxieboo  |  November 9, 2009 at 9:52 pm

      When I begin to miss him, I reach inside and turn off the valve. If I don’t do this, I will fall apart. Then, I read all these incredible
      responses, like yours, and, all of a sudden, I feel that he’s here with me through you and others. It’s kind of an amazing experience.

      It’s as if his heartbeat is what is between you and me.

      Melissa, Baxie’s mom

  • 109. Denise  |  November 26, 2009 at 12:33 am

    The day of Baxter’s journey to heaven, I cried. He is an inspiration to me of unconditional love. Our family has lost 3 dogs this year and we know that Baxter is up above greeting them in heaven with open paws.

    Thank you for sharing your journey of Baxter with us. I have purchased 2 of the books and plan to give one as a gift this year to my Step-Dad who will love your book. I have a feeling, I will most likely purchase a few more.


  • 110. Paula  |  November 28, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Dear Melissa, I had the pleasure of meeting you and Baxter at a book signing in Carmel Ranch this year. Moments with Baxter sits on my coffee table and as I mentioned to you at the book signing, I hope my pup Paxton will someday follow in Baxter’s footsteps. I routines exclain ‘mentor!” to Paxton while holding up Baxter. Thank you, Baxter and your family for giving us so much. My deepest condolences.
    Paula Barker

    • 111. baxieboo  |  November 28, 2009 at 4:56 pm

      I laughed out loud imagining your holding up the Baxter book to Paxton….saying “mentor”….Very funny.

      Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to write. Melissa, Baxie’s mom

  • 112. Valarie & Tim  |  January 5, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Baxter and his family have been such an inspiration to me. He has inspired me to embrace life and to cherish each moment. I couldn’t help but to be brought to tears when I met Baxter for the first time….knowing how he helps those who are suffering. When I held him I imagined myself in hospice and was deeply touched picturing the moments he creates. Thank you for all that you have done; your wonderful spirit will live on forever. We love you and miss you.

    • 113. baxieboo  |  January 6, 2010 at 12:30 pm

      Wow…thank you for your most kind comments. I always would say that if I were close to the end, I, too, would want Baxter with me. Oftentimes, I
      thought it could possible work out that way. Death is so random, one never knows when the time might come. And, Baxter was living such a long
      life. They are comforting, too, because they don’t fear death.


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