This has been a sad week for Pet Pals TV’s health reporter Tom Dock and his family: They had to say goodbye to their 9-year-old English Mastiff, Loki, who had been treated for cancer. Tom is director of communications and public information at Noah’s Animal Hospitals, a partner to Pet Pals TV, and Loki has been featured on the show.
Loki wasn’t just any dog. Not only was he special to Tom’s family, he also was the first live mascot for the Indy Eleven soccer team. Known as “Victorio” at the stadium, Loki has been cheering on the team since 2014, wearing his own team jersey. In 2017 he was joined by Nike “Victoria,” the Docks’ second Mastiff, to help interact with the crowd and keep fan energy high. When Tom posted the video tribute attached to this blog on social media, hundreds of Eleven fans posted condolences and support.
This laid-back pup has an interesting backstory! Here it is, in Tom’s words:
“Loki joined our family after we found an ad for a family looking to rehome him. He was given to the family in trade for a tattoo. The family did not know how big he would get and when he was 28 pounds at 10 weeks old, they knew they wouldn't be able to keep him where they were staying. We drove to Richmond, Ind. and met the family at a McDonald's. Loki (called Buddy at the time) was put on the grass with our son, Keegan (18 months old at the time), and they were instantly friends.
“Loki meant a wide variety of things to our family. For me, it was the chance to own a giant breed dog, a passion I have had for many years but never fulfilled because of work hours, being single, etc. For Kristen, this was her first dog of her own. She never really had a house dog growing up and the bond she felt with Loki was a brand new, wonderful sensation. For Keegan, a best friend and protector. He would sleep on the couch when Keegan was sick and Loki even followed two-year-old Keegan out of the back sliding porch door one day and down the block about 400 yards . . . never left him. (Dad received a little bit of guilt for allowing that to happen!)
“Loki was bonded to Keegan in a special way. He was a nurse, best friend, protector, sometimes a pillow, a confidant and an accomplice in Keegan's playful activities. We have
Keegan sharing his vanilla pudding with Loki by putting it on his back instead of in his mouth. We have Keegan taking a sharpie and drawing ‘evil eyebrows’ on Loki so that he would look like a cartoon character. As Keegan grew, Loki became his responsibility for care and Loki responded well to that. Keegan even worked on tricks with Loki.
“One day in 2014, while at WISH TV, Peter Wilt, the original president of Indy Eleven, was on Daybreak. He and two players came down through the break area where Loki and I were waiting for our segment. Peter immediately recognized the breed, told the story of how the English Mastiff was the official mascot of Indy Eleven, and invited us to attend a game. After that first game, Loki became the live mascot and attended all of the home games in the fall of 2014, all of 2015-2017 and the spring games of 2018 until his injury/illness.
“Loki was very intuitive about people and loved almost everyone. He always seemed to find the dog lover in the crowd and pick him/her to lean against (it's a big dog thing). He also loved kids, especially toddlers and babies. At Michael Carroll stadium at IUPUI, we had full access everywhere. We could go into stands, out into the Fun Zone and generally all over so that people could pet and appreciate him. Loki was APPROACHABLE, and that makes all the difference. Plus, his size didn't hurt his appeal at all! And, most importantly, very little "bothered" Loki . . . noise, crowds, etc. were just another day for him.”
The Docks have three more Mastiffs at home: Three-year-old Nike and 15-month-old littermates Orion and Andromeda ("Andi").
About the video: “I tried to keep this video short, but there are just too many wonderful pictures of his short time with us,” says Tom. “He’s out of pain and probably chasing ducks and squirrels and making new friends somewhere over the Rainbow Bridge. We will miss you, Loki man. Rest in peace until we meet again."