Much needed shelter for Northern Dogs

By the time we arrived in the First Nations community that morning, half the dog houses were already out of the transport trailer and the remaining ones were being pulled out and wheeled down the ramp to sit in rows ready to be distributed.

The Northern Dogs Project has been working with remote communities to assist them in finding ways of dealing with their dog issues.  Tools include provision of vet services, education, support and rehoming.  This year, the Northern Dogs Project was invited to partner once again to build dog houses for needy dogs in the communities.

Because of El Nino it’s not yet a typically cold, snowy and blowy winter but there’s no way around it… low temperatures and inclement weather will arrive soon.

And thanks to generous IFAW donors and the amazing building skills of the construction students at College Heights High School in Guelph, Ontario, the dog houses will provide cozy havens when the snow starts to fly.

As we put straw in each doghouse, Echo, a young lab cross, weaved in and out of the rows of houses as if she was carrying out the dog version of quality control. As it turned out, Echo was one of the recipients so maybe she was actually choosing her new abode!

Stanford Owl, who runs the community’s animal care and control, already had a list of people who had requested dog houses and they were stopping by to ask when they could get them.

Stanford scheduled to distribute the majority of houses after the community’s holiday celebration, but we wanted our chance to play Santa to at least a couple of dogs. We loaded two houses into the back of the pickup truck and made our way over to Bingo and Bonehead’s places.

Bingo was a friendly, medium sized mix whose short coat means he’s a prime candidate for additional protection, which we were happy to provide. Bingo came out to welcome his new home as they came off the back of the pickup decorated with a big Christmas bow.

His best friend Bonehead, who lives next door, was second in line. While he already had a house, it was serious disrepair. Unlike outgoing Bingo, Bonehead was shy when we first showed him, but it didn’t take him long to come out of his shell.

A few cookies were thrown strategically towards the back of his new house. First his nose, then his front feet, then his entire body, tail wagging vigorously, disappeared into the house!

Dogs in northern communities are going to be warm and cozy this year and for many years to come because of the generous partnership between north and south, students and dog owners, communities and donors.

The cold weather will come, but that doesn’t mean the dogs need to feel it!

--JH

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