I have been waiting to tell this dog's story for quite some time but was unable to write it until now. I have dedicated the Accusations and Lies page to this remarkable northern dog because he reminded me, in one of my darkest moments, why we were needed. His name was Soldier and he never lied. His story with us began June 2012.
Soldier lived in Attawapiskat and the first time, in his nine months of life, he escaped his cable to run free his leg was caught in a snare. He dragged himself home and his owners tied him up again, snare and all. A week later, when Floyd heard of this dog's situation, he went to help him. All dogs instinctively trust Floyd so when he sat next to him, the dog leaned into him and allowed the snare to be removed from his leg. Floyd then asked if the owner would surrender the dog and he was told to take him. This sweet dog was flown out and sent down to us. I named him Soldier because of the battles he had fought.
We kept Soldier with us until his leg healed and that took seven months. Muscles, tissues and nerves had been crushed but no surgery could help him. We had to wait till nature mended the injury. Soldier was a dog of character, strength and determination. He did not feel sorry for himself, shy from the pain or lose focus on the end goal. He became my sweet boy.
Eventually we placed Soldier with a wonderful couple who had already adopted three dogs from us over the years. He joined their pack, lived on property in Muskoka and was a brilliantly happy boy.
In the midst of the Facebook attack against us we received an email from the woman who had adopted Soldier. She told us a driver had sped by and hit Soldier while she was putting his lead on at the top of her driveway. The car had not stopped. The other two dogs were fine as they were on the opposite side of her and she too was unharmed as Soldier had moved away from her just enough when he heard the car coming. Soldier was dead.
I knew from the look on Paul's face when he read the email that something terrible had happened. The Facebook group had already contacted many of our supporters with hateful lies and my mind raced as I wondered what they might have done next. I worried they had now found some way to our daughters and grandchildren. I waited for Paul to speak and when he did, all feeling seemed to leave my body. I bent over trying to breathe.
I wondered how much more I could take. No matter what anyone says, unless you have had absolute strangers judging and hating you publicly it is impossible to know what it does to you. Without a doubt it is bullying. Lies were being told and no matter how inaccurate or unfair they were there was nothing I could do about it. I had answered every reasonable email sent to me about Manajanish and written the truth on this website but all they did was copy and post on Facebook. Every word I wrote was distorted or discarded. People who knew nothing about me, MPR or rescue work were condemning me. I told myself it was just a handful of people, north of Timmins on Facebook and to ignore them but that was made impossible. Supporters sent me screen shots of what was being posted on the Facebook pages that had been created for the purposes of judgment, lies and slander. I was being called a racist because I told the dog's stories. They claimed they were all lies, that the dogs we rescued had not suffered, that they were loved family pets. Dog shoots, abandonment and neglect were all denied. Because of the legal issues I had to prepare so was thrust into the ignorance of the situation.
Now Soldier was gone and the pain and shock of how he was killed filled me. I kept asking why, never expecting an answer, but the brain needs to find a way to process brutal information. In time though I felt a calm and somehow understood. For whatever reason Soldier had been sent to me again. He seemed to be reminding me of what he had endured as a way of clarifying why we were needed. Soldier had suffered his truth as had the other dogs we had spoken for. His message removed confusion and made clear that our work was valuable and necessary. Soldier's story was no lie and nor were the others. If I had questioned whether I should have revealed the truth about the dogs there was no doubt now. As sad as Soldier's death was, it had given me certainty and focus. So, standing up for myself, MPR and Floyd is dedicated to Soldier and all the other dogs who never lie.