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Sully’s purpose

Posted: January 11, 2018 3:05 p.m.
Updated: January 12, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Why do certain life events grab hold of our heartstrings so tight as though they’ll never let go and others just pass right by without ever having an effect on our emotions?  Some situations we sail through with ease, the wind at our backs; others are like swimming in rough waters with no shore in sight. And in those particularly difficult times, we can all hope there’s a cavalry of sorts waiting in the wings ready at a moment’s notice to unselfishly serve whatever the crisis may be.  All of this brings me to tell you about a broad spectrum of people who came together like a passionate force all because of their love of dogs and of their neighbors.

Over the holidays, my nephew and his fiancé’s boxer, Sullivan, went missing in the country several days after Christmas. Strangely, “Sully” became “spooked”, panicked, and unfortunately ran away from anyone who approached him, and so began our 10-day vigilance.  Our family, including those in town for Christmas were the first responders, coming out in droves, from the youngest to the oldest, to search for Sullivan. Even with all the reasons not to help -- the holidays, the frigid temperatures, the time away from the purpose of the season -- family members along with Sullivan’s owners, Justin and Leah, worked tirelessly to find “Sully.” 

After the first two days of an unlucky pursuit, discouragement began to set in. But on the third day, hope arrived in the form of two bloodhounds named Ginger and Dani, along with the incredible team of Black River Search and Rescue. It is truly hard to find the exact words to describe the gratitude and love we feel for this nonprofit who worked steadfastly in the search for Sullivan. The hope and peace their team gave us in those 10 days sustained us. Their love for dogs is amazing and their expertise is remarkable. We will forever be grateful to Black River Search and Rescue.  As well, the positivity and unselfish perseverance of Joy and Nancy we will never forget.   

In our frantic state to find Sullivan during this week and a half, a feeling of community and the genuine love of neighbors emerged. We were amazed at the support of complete strangers who stepped up to lend a hand in our search; from the people who volunteered information on sightings of Sullivan to the hundreds and hundreds of Facebook shares to the local businesses so willingly posting fliers of our missing dog. 

Sadly, our worst-case scenario came true when a car hit Sullivan shortly before sunrise this past Saturday. But in these 10 days, the outpouring of love, the efforts, the people, the prayers impacted our lives many times over. In the devastating loss of “Sully”, we gained new friends, new relationships, and experienced the best in so many people. For me personally, it was a journey of hope -- the hope “Sully” would be found, the hope he would go home, the hope from the support of many. 

What lingers, what remains in this heartbreaking life event is the goodness and love of people and one dog’s purpose. Rest in peace Sullivan. You will be incredibly missed. Thank you for loving Justin and Leah and Gibbs, and for leaving your paw print on more lives than you’ll ever know.


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