If it weren't for a generous offer from a couple of strangers, Molly the German shepherd wouldn't be here today.
"It really restores faith in humanity, in compassion, and empathy, and kindness," said the dog's owner, Tim Brink. "I'm super blessed."
Brink, a well-known artist and musician in the Eastern Townships, has had 10-year-old Molly since she was a puppy. Last month, he was devastated to learn that she had spleen cancer.
"I don't think I've ever cried so much in my life," Brink said, adding he and Molly have always had a special bond, as if they "met in another life."
"She's super in tune, super loyal. I don't know, she's like my best friend," he said of his beloved dog, which he described as having a "strong character," with "lots of bark and no bite."
Brink explained that Molly would have to be put down just a few days after the cancer diagnosis, unless he could come up with the $2,000 he needed for surgery, which in turn had only a 30 per cent chance of success.
Being a musician during a global pandemic, Brink couldn't afford the operation, and was wary of the risks.
He posted to his Facebook page that he was looking for private beach access or a boat to take Molly out and enjoy one last day on the water.
Despite receiving a few offers, Brink decided to take Molly out on the water with people he had never met before — friends of a friend — on their pontoon boat for the afternoon.
"It was the first time I'd ever met these people, and I already knew I had a good vibe from them, something called me out there that it was the right spot to go," Brink said.
After a few hours on the lake with Molly, his other German shepherd, King, his stepsons and the couple, Brink was on his way back to shore, when he started to cry.
He recounted that when Molly started to lick the tears from his face, and the woman approached him.
She asked whether he'd do the surgery if he had the money, and when he said yes, the couple offered to pay for it.
Couple moved by special bond
The couple — who asked to remain anonymous — said they were moved by the special bond that clearly exists between Brink and Molly.
"Tim was such an endearing person," the woman said.
"I know some people would say it's absurd," she added, "but sometimes you have to go with your gut."
"We help other people here and there when we go with our gut."
The man said they tried to give Brink time alone with his dog, but they could still tell he was in tears.
"We knew he was crying, and when Molly came to lick his face and wagged her tail, we knew that dog was getting an operation," he said. "We discussed the logic of it, but the emotions took over."
The group got off the boat with less than three hours until Molly was set to be put down.
Brink said he called the vet the moment he had cell reception.
Molly had her spleen removed the following day, during a surgery that will give her another three months to a year to live.
"We're just trying to have as much fun with her and be as close to her as we can until she goes," Brink said, adding Molly seems even more energetic since the surgery.
"It's just been a really amazing life lesson for me. Now I've had three weeks with her that I never thought I'd have," he said.
"It's been hard through the pandemic, I've seen some people who have been pretty selfish, and you kind of lose faith," he added. "But these people totally restored my faith that good things can happen to good people … and good dogs."