On September 25, 2015, the animal rescue community in BC and throughout North America lost a great human being. Gail Moerkerken was a fearless, tireless, intelligent, perceptive and articulate advocate for all creatures and a great friend and colleague to VOKRA.
Gail founded Big Heart Rescue Society, which rescued dogs and cats throughout BC, with a special focus on Bella Bella. She was a coordinator for Noah’s Wish, an emergency disaster response organization for animals. This took her to the heart of numerous major incidents. In Fire Storm 2003, she worked flat out to save and rehabilitate companion animals and livestock in Kamloops and Kelowna. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she lived in the disaster zone for many weeks on end, working long hours each day to rescue abandoned and injured animals.
In her home community on Gabriola Island, she was the Emergency Social Services Pet Care Coordinator, a volunteer with GROWLS (Gabriola Rescue of Wildlife Society) and a volunteer with Gabriola Cats Alive. In 2014, she founded Spirit’s Mission, a rescue organization dedicated to eliminating disease, neglect and overpopulation for cats and dogs in BC’s remote communities. Spirit’s Mission will continue, albeit with a heavy heart, to fulfill Gail’s vision of a province in which no cats or dogs are abused, neglected or left to suffer disease and starvation.
Gail’s last cat rescue was a few months ago, of a cat who lived on Gabriola and for whom Cats Alive had no foster home. Oskar was slated to be killed as he had developed a chronic urinary problem that his family could not manage. Gail asked VOKRA to accept Oskar and he is now fully healthy and has been adopted into an adoring home. Despite her failing health, Gail kept on rescuing and advocating for animals. They always came first.
She leaves behind a legion of people who are devastated by losing her, but who will continue to pursue her ideals. She was a mother-figure, a soul-sister, a teacher, a mentor, a counsellor, an inspiration and an unshakeable rock of conviction for countless individuals.
Gail, we and all of the animals cannot thank you enough. We wish you the peace that you brought to so many. Farewell.
~ Dania Sheldon, on behalf of VOKRA
Memorial donations may be made to Spirit’s Mission Rescue Society via their website at http://www.spiritsmission.com or by cheque to Spirit’s Mission Rescue, PO Box 95, Gabriola, V0R 1X0