February 18, 2019 6:42 pm
Updated: February 18, 2019 7:12 pm

Community comes together to support the ‘treat lady’ of Moncton-area dog park

WATCH: The community is showing support for a New Brunswick woman who has become a fixture at a Moncton-area dog park. The 'treat lady' has become ill, but with an outpouring of love and support she's received, she's excited to get back and see her furry friends.

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While four-legged friends are what you expect to see at a dog park, there’s a human who plays an important role at a Moncton-area park.

A friendly face to pet owners and dogs alike, Cheryl Rushton has been going to Isaac’s Run Dog Park in Riverview for over five years.

“It means everything to me; I love the dogs,” she says. “They give me the greatest joy.”

Rushton recently suffered right central artery occlusion, or an eye stroke, and has lost vision in her right eye.

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While it’s a new challenge for Rushton to face, she’s been taking it in stride as she’s been hospital-bound for about a week, missing the dog park each day.

She comes Monday to Friday rain or shine, in the summer or winter, all to socialize with dogs and their owners.

Edith McCormack has become friends with Rushton from visiting the dog park together. She posted a note on Facebook about Rushton’s condition, and support started coming in.

Callum Smith / Global News

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“That day we had everything… it was pouring rain, and then it turned to snow and hail, and we had sideways snow,” says Edith McCormack, who has become friends with Rushton through park visits. “But she was still here, and we were here for two hours on that day.”

Rushton makes sure the pets have water during the winter months when things freeze up, and hands out treats, as long as it’s okay with the owner.

“We’ve come here and she’s been the only one here, just reading a book, waiting for people to show up,” says Kim Gould, who has been coming to the park for nine years.

“You can always count on her being here, and she’s just a wonderful person. She… loves the dogs as much as we do, so she takes care of them like we would.”

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Her own dog passed away over five years ago, so she simply comes to see the others.

“I have been suffering from depression,” she says. “This is one thing that I get my joy from — is being with the animals. They give me love and they’re not judgmental.”

Rushton used to volunteer at the SPCA, but health and mobility issues forced her away from that and to the park.

It may be a place for dogs to roam free and play along with others, but it has a special place in Rushton’s heart.

Some of the cards Rushton has received in hospital from friends and family from the dog park

Callum Smith / Global News

Known as the ‘treat lady,’ she hasn’t taken the role lightly, making friends with many dogs and their owners.

That dedication has led to an outpouring of cards and support while she’s been away.

A slideshow was made, showing some of her furry friends along with messages of support.

“I don’t think she realizes how much she does for people,” says McCormack. “People really do appreciate it.”

In the meantime, the dogs and their humans are patiently awaiting the return of one of their best friends.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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