Because we allowed Moosonee Puppy Rescue to grow and find its own way we have followed where the dogs have led. Of course we always knew how the dogs would benefit from our rescue work and what it would mean to us but we never could have known the personal stories that would unfold as we connected the dogs with the people who needed them.
One of the first inspiring stories was of a man who had suffered a heart attack and was afraid to get up and move for fear of having another one. He had become paralyzed in his own mind. His wife contacted us and the dog they adopted led this man outside and into life again.
I once watched an eight week old puppy wander away from his litter mates to join a young boy who was sitting by himself in the back yard of his house. We were at a home visit and the rest of the family was playing with the remaining six pups. I quietly turned and asked the mother if the child outside by himself suffered from anything she felt comfortable telling me about. She looked slightly shocked and asked why. I explained that he had just been chosen by a pup who had wandered over to him. She looked out the open screen door to see both the boy and the small white pup sitting side by side in silence. Apparently, the child was bullied at school and had been depressed and withdrawn for months. The pup had known where he was needed and had found his way there. The boy and the pup are still together and the bond they share is greater than the actions of any bully.
A developmentally delayed man, who lived in an apartment with his mother, had no interest in leaving his bedroom until the pup she adopted gently demanded they go out into the world together. The man trusted the dog more than he trusted himself so he followed. This began the relationship of a man and his dog taking long walks and joining a world they could only face together.
Our world has become much more than we could ever have imagined thanks to both the dogs and the wonderful people they have introduced us to and we are most grateful.
Never before though, have I appreciated the influence of the dogs as much as I have this last month. It seems we now live in an age where anyone, of any intelligence, can take simple and noble actions and turn them into a scandal on social media. A handful of people can create lies and spread them like wildfire through hundreds of people who only want to believe the worst. Nothing has to be proven or even make sense. It has been decided by these people that for years now I personally have been stealing dogs from northern communities and that Moosonee Puppy Rescue is actually a theft ring. Their claims are so outlandish and impossible that you would not think they could gather a following but they have and it includes a fellow rescue organization from Barrie. That is what is most shameful to me – that one rescue group would turn on another because of one members personal agenda.
This ordeal has been all consuming and three separate police investigations and a crown attorney’s decision not to prosecute me for theft and possession of stolen property have not slowed them down. Why would it though, when all that is required of them is to sit in ignorance and write hateful words while they hide in cyber space.
These people have contacted every business that has ever supported us and harassed them for the work they do for dogs in need. They then published the business names on Facebook to be black listed. They have contacted every person on Twitter who wrote happily about us or the dogs they adopted from us to tell them their dogs had originally been stolen. One woman writes about a community that supposedly banished us after we stole one hundred of their dogs. Does not name the community or explain how that is even possible?
The veterinarians that have worked with us for years, and helped hundreds of dogs, had a complaint made against them to the Veterinary College because they operated on a dog we brought in recently. The claim was that the dog had been stolen from Attawapiskat and the vets, for some reason, should not have saved his life. We have also been accused of raising money for spay/neuter clinics we never held. They accuse Moosonee Puppy Rescue of lying about the clinics we have hosted even though the pictures, names of the vets and pilots involved and the costs are posted on our web page. We are proud of our accomplishments, full disclosure and transparency have never been a problem for us.
There are contradictions within the Facebook group, I encourage people to question the truth of their claims being made against Moosonee Puppy Rescue.
An individual from Fort Albany states quite emphatically that we have sold 1400 dogs for $400. This claim in itself is false, but this person then goes on to say that the only money we have spent on the dogs over the years is on three spay/neuter clinics. The individual invites their Facebook readers to calculate how Moosonee Puppy Rescue have profited from rescuing 1400 dogs. Disgraceful enough that they cannot agree on whether we have held clinics or not but more concerning is the fact that our accuser would not know or understand the enormous and ongoing costs of rescuing and caring for dogs.
They do refer to our hard working volunteers as minions though so we know they have little regard or respect for much of anything.
No one even asked why I was stealing so many dogs that were severely injured and required thousands of dollars of vet care.
No one allowed for the fact that hundreds of people were comforted by the fact that they could send dogs to us rather than killing or abandoning them when they could not care for them any longer.
In the limited world of Facebook it seems many people are as stunted in their feelings and beliefs as the haters.
I could continue with the absolute absurdity of their claims but there is no point because the saddest part is that they were willing to sacrifice what was best for a dog just to be right. I do not participate on social media so I did not engage with these people and I asked my supporters not to be involved either because they were being threatened for speaking their truth. There were of course times when I wanted to act out but the dogs kept me focused on what was truly important. I represent the northern dogs and I speak for the many people in our organization. We are an organization that works at rescue full time and no one gets paid a dime. The people involved in our organization include those who volunteer their time and efforts, our supporters and the families who adopt from Moosonee Puppy Rescue. It is on behalf of the northern dogs, our volunteers and supporters that I speak so I must remain as honourable as they all are.
These will be my last comments on the subject but being a victim of bullying has caused me to launch our “Do No Harm” campaign. It is, of course, a belief we have always held but one I may have naively taken for granted. Withstanding the bullies of this world is hard and not something anyone should have to do on their own. By raising awareness we may just strengthen one person and that will be enough for all this to have been worth it.
We have created a line of t-shirts that have quotes from our own dogs on them. They are wise and wonderful animals who are the voice of reason. Watch for the “Do No Harm” products coming to this web site soon and available at the upcoming reunion September 19, 2015.
Again I thank all the people who reached out in support over the last month – some I knew and some I did not. I greatly appreciate all the pictures of gleeful dogs I received as statements of their gratitude and to all the worthy rescue groups who pointed out that you are not really making a difference if you have not been attacked for it along the way, I say you must be right.
Sweetness and joy to all.