Sarena Moore’s lifelong dream was to have a ranch where handicapped children could ride horses. When she was a young girl, she performed gymnastics on horseback to raise money to benefit horsemanship for the handicapped.
On Oct. 1, the 44-year-old mother of three was attending a class at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, where she was working toward a degree in business. Because she suffered from severe back pain due to sciatica, Moore used a wheelchair and had a service dog, Bullet, who was always by her side. Moore had trained Bullet herself.
As usual, Bullet was right by Moore’s side when a shooter ordered everyone in her classroom to the ground. They all obeyed him, including Moore.
Her classmate Tracy Heu, who was wounded, told FOX8 the shooter told Moore to get back in her wheelchair. As soon as Moore did so, he shot and killed her. She was one of the first victims.
During the entire ordeal, Bullet lay next to Moore’s wheelchair, cool and calm.
“That’s what he is trained to do,” Moore’s grieving fiance, Travis Dow, told FOX8. “He’s trained to stay right next to her no matter what.”
Dow feared the worst for Bullet. But the day after the shooting, police officers brought the dog, his tail wagging, to Dow and Moore’s apartment in Myrtle Creek.
“I was ecstatic,” Dow told FOX8.
But Bullet — who got his sadly ironic name from his previous owner — has not been the same, Dow said. “He’s been acting really droopy. He knows she ain’t coming home, ’cause he was there when the fatal day happened.”
The two have spent the past week comforting each other.
When Dow received Moore’s personal belongings from the college, he gave Bullet the hat Moore liked to wear. “He uses that, lays down on it and everything else,” Dow told KOIN. “I’m not going to take that from him because it’s part of who she was. He walks around every now and then with that in his mouth.”
Bullet was a part of Sarena, Dow told FOX8, “and I was happy to get him back.”
“Sarena Moore will be missed for many reasons, but the one that stands out the most is that Sarena had a caring heart that was bigger than life itself,” her family said in a statement, according to KPTV.
“Whether it was for the horses she loved, the dog she adored, the family members or even the many friends she had since being a young girl, she cared for them endlessly.”