The hardest and most severe time of year is quickly approaching for the northern dogs. Most will not watch the snow fall through a window nor hear the wind howling from the warmth of a well protected house. Instead, they will seek shelter and make their own way through one more desperate season of raw cold. It is not, however, like past seasons for MPR. I have not prepared for our eighteenth winter of rescue as I have before. Uncertainty prevented the usual preparations and created confusion for some.

Well intentioned people have been asking the obvious question for months now, but I had no response. I offered vague replies instead, hoping that would suffice but there was no hiding from responsibility. I knew the weight and power of any answer I did give though, so I took care not to mislead. I mumbled a few insignificant words, smiled and moved on as if distracted. Empty reassurances served no one but I couldn’t find the answer, it had to find me.

What would we do about the dogs was the question. How could we continue rescuing I was asked? Knowledge of my brain tumour loomed over everything. I understood the worry and appreciated the concern but what seemed obvious to others, was unthinkable to me. Being told I couldn’t save them all and that I had done enough was kind, but didn’t help. Saying I had to take care of myself implied that was all that mattered now, but dogs still waited to be rescued and believed we would come. We had all that was needed to respond, Moosonee Puppy Rescue remained intact. It was me who wasn’t.  

The dogs have always led me to where I was meant to be and I trust their simple wisdom over the logical reasoning of humans. What seems most obvious to us, is rarely based on instinct. We tend to cheat ourselves out of meaningful outcomes by choosing immediate relief and gratification instead. The dogs we rescue rely on instinct. Their very well-being depends on it. And to them, time is much more crucial than it is expedient. The dogs taught me not to rash, but to be patient instead. Over the years, I learned to trust my senses. After all, intuition is simply accumulated life wisdom, and I have lived well and long. 

From the very beginning I was determined not to be defined by my brain tumour. I have good days and bad days but promises have been made and they needed to be kept. No dog left behind, so to speak. I needed a person. A person to do what I no longer could. The answer I was seeking was, whose heart would beat as one with the dogs as mine had done. Who would sit in silence for hours, sharing a calm of understanding? Dogs in need don’t trust easily. They know who is worthy and who is not. Paul and I had been trusted by almost two thousand dogs and now someone else had to earn the privilege of being believed in by a dog.  

Mocha was a sweet and darling dog who was placed with a family in Huntsville ten years ago. Harper was adopted by a member of the same family a few years later. Both dogs trusted and adored the person we needed now. A thought, that began as an inkling and a mere hope, has been considered, challenged and imagined for a year now and has just become a promise and a pledge. I am pleased and proud to introduce a young woman, who comes highly recommended by two dogs I admire greatly, by the name of Holly Marko. She is the new executive director of Moosonee Puppy Rescue. Mocha is no longer with us, but she will always be remembered and honoured as the dog who led the way to this new beginning. Harper will take over from Ruth, Huck, Trillium, Lady Rose, Stillwater, Will and Trumpet in watching over and guiding dogs yet to come. Paul and I will remain as administrators and mentors until we simply no longer can. We will not go quietly into the good night as long as we are needed.

Holly and her husband Trevor are the new caretakers of a rescue that has stood strong and true for eighteen years and they will do us proud. Holly will now be the one to kiss each dog on the forehead and whisper sweetness and joy in its ear just as it leaves for its forever home. This has been the last gesture shown to each of the 1,876 dogs I have been fortunate enough to have known and loved. I am grateful to them all.

Holly is hosting a gala event November 16, 2019 to introduce herself and allow Paul and I to bow out gracefully. Please see the information on Black Ties and Tails on this web site. Hope to see you there. Sharron

Sharron Purdy