For the love of Natascha

The Instagram Dog Community reflects the qualities of the dogs that we love and share – kindness, generosity, encouragement and love – and builds lasting bonds. It was that bond that drew a group of women from around the world to honor one of their Instagram friends with a special gift to Golden Bond Rescue.

That friend was Natascha, a young Canadian woman from Ontario, who spread kindness, joy, laughter and love through her account @kai.the.golden.retriever. In late spring we learned that Nat, as she was known to family and friends, was terminally ill.

In response, a small group of women from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, India and Australia formed to follow news from Nat and her Golden, Kai. We sent postcards and cards, a bouquet, and sizable gift cards to help with Kai’s care.

During Nat’s illness, group members would be excited and hopeful when we saw Nat was having a good day and replying to direct messages we left for her. And when there was a string of days when no one had heard from her, someone would nervously ask, “when was the last time someone heard from Nat?”

Natascha inspired us to do good on her behalf. All members were familiar with the work Golden Bond Rescue was doing in China, and the group organizer, Sandra suggested we collect money to sponsor a China dog’s Freedom Flight. Nat inspired such kindness and compassion throughout the Instagram community that everyone wanted to contribute. GBR gave us a chance to rescue a meat trade survivor to honor her.

Together, the “Nat Love” group donated enough to cover a dog’s flight and some of the dog’s medical fund. President Jill Groves chose one of the No Dogs Left Behind goldens to be named after Nat, and we were able to share this gesture and the pup’s photo with Natascha. She was thrilled and so touched that we rescued a meat trade survivor on her behalf. Sadly, Nat passed away in August, two weeks before Nat the dog arrived in the U.S.

Group member Dawn, of Los Angeles, remembered, “Everyone who ever had any interaction with Natascha fell in love with her. She had this way of making every single friend on Instagram feel so special. Whether she was commenting on others’ posts or replying to comments on her own, everything she ever said was personal and heartfelt. She would remember obscure details from weeks prior or make a hilarious pun that would have me laughing out loud. What a gift with words she had! And no matter how many friends she had (a ton!) she always took the time for all of us. She was truly a remarkable woman. She is so very missed.”

Erica from Ontario recalled, “Kai’s joke of the day gave everyone a moment of pleasure. Nat was a totally pure soul; she always thought of others, even when she was fighting for her own life, even at the end when she found the perfect home for her beloved Kai. We are so glad to have been part of the group who raised money for Golden Bond Rescue and the dog named Nat. Now we can continue to keep the spirit of kindness going by supporting GBR. Paying kindness forward in this way keeps Nat’s beautiful spirit alive”

Julie of Ontario reflected, “Natascha was a light in this world, and all of her friends were brought together to carry on this bright light in her honor. Doing something on behalf of Natascha helped many people find light in the darkness. Giving back and helping Nat (the dog) was such an amazing opportunity for us all to find a way to come together.

At Natascha’s funeral, her parents expressed deep appreciation that so many of her friends were inspired to do something as amazing as helping a dog in need. They were so touched by the kindness of people around the world to carry on their daughter’s legacy.

The ripple effect of this one amazing woman is truly inspirational. The story of hope, determination, and a young woman who never gave up, even in the face of all she went through, inspired so many to want to pay that forward. Natascha had a way of making every friend feel special and loved. She always focused on others and giving love and compassion. Natascha was truly an angel on Earth. Her light will continue to shine bright through the acts of kindness she inspired.

Many group members remain in contact with the new owner Nat and her parents chose for Kai, and they continue to send messages of love to her parents. If Nat’s story inspires you to donate to GBR In her name, we invite you to do so through the Donate Now bone located on the upper right corner of our Home Page.