Our morning routine started ordinarily enough, but it turned into a day of sorrow as we watched our beloved family companion die. Misty has been our family dog since 1999, and all four girls have enjoyed getting to know her.

Misty Bear, November 2010
Here's Misty just a couple days ago at Womblebank. She was happy to be travelling with us.

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at one side of Charlie’s Creek, and David took Delaney for a little stroll while I packed up camp. Misty followed him, sniffing around, and David spotted a wild emu in the distance.

Calista and Misty, October 2010
Every member of our family has really been enjoying Misty's company.

After everyone was packed into the truck, we continued our drive to Mount Moffat. We pulled over at a little old house tidily labeled “Slab Hut” and opened the back door to let the dog out.

When Misty jumped out, she was walking in a strange way and uttering distressing noises. Initially, I thought she had jumped out of the truck the wrong way and had hurt her hind legs.

But when she collapsed, David and I both realised that she had been stricken with poison. Many property owners distribute poisonous baits to kill wild dogs and foxes, and Misty had eaten one of these at Charlie’s Creek. We have since seen a sign warning of 1080 baits being used in the area.

Comforting Misty, November 2010
After we realised what was happening, I comforted Misty until the end.

We stayed with Misty, comforting her and offering water, and her death was mercifully swift. Only once, right at the beginning, did she display fear. It appeared that she accepted the situation and welcomed our comfort.

Before she died, she lapsed in and out of consciousness. During one period when she was out, we picked her up and moved her away and placed her at the base of a grand old tree.

We began to carve her name through the bark into the wood of this tree. Misty was gone before we finished our work.

Lauren, November 2010
I was grieving as I used the tools to mark her name.

Misty's burial spot, November 2010
It's fitting that we should leave our beloved friend at such a notable location — perhaps we'll visit her resting place in the distant future.

There’s no way that I could put into words all that Misty Bear has been to me. Ever since David unexpectedly brought her home in August 1999 as an adorable, timid puppy, she’s been part of our family.

Misty was my baby before I had babies. David started calling her Bear, and she soon learned to answer to both names. Misty was my daily walking companion for years before we had children and less frequently after the girls were born.

Misty has been a cuddly teddy bear to me, a friend to the girls, a safe animal to have around children and part of our general household. She would run into the house whenever she could, eager to forage for crumbs under the baby’s chair.

One of the girls’ first sign language words was “dog” because of Misty’s ubiquitous presence. I’m saddened because Dell is already saying this sign, and now she no longer has a dog to speak about. I’m also disappointed that she won’t grow up with such a calm, safe dog from whom to learn how to be around animals.

Although I feel the loss of Misty’s presence keenly, already I can see the wonderful timing in her death. She died before we had to work out the tricky logistics of keeping her locked up in the truck while we were in the national parks. She was also one of the concerns that kept us close to home, and made travelling difficult. Now we’re free to travel a bit further afield.

Losing a friend and companion is sad, but although my heart is breaking, I feel at peace. David and I knew that this time would come, and the girls have been being prepared for death recently, so they handled the incident stoically.

We know that Misty’s death is a good thing, and we praise Father for bringing this experience into our lives at this time.