IFAW Canada: Northern Dogs - Back on the Trail with June Clinic Work
The following report is coming from Jan Hannah, Project Manager of
the International Fund for Animal
Welfare's Northern Dogs Project, which centers its work on dogs living in remote
communities of northern Canada.
Here we are again! Same fantastic, proficient vets and vet techs doing their thing in the back (or in the trailer, as the case may be). Surgery, surgery, surgery, diagnosis, surgery, out-front consult, back to surgery. Laura is out in front with us again working her health check, vaccine and surgery knock down magic, and Ann has volunteered on this trip to be my intake companion. Ann is a nurse and runs a project in Cat Lake, northern Ontario that is similar to IFAW’s and I’m happy to have her and her experience. There are two students from Tuft’s University coming up so we have an extra van – two vans fit eight people, their gear and all the clinic gear. Any more and we have to rent another van.
First things first. We set up the clinic as best as we can for the vet team and then we headed to the Bay to dip our feet in the icy spring water. Then we went to meet Cloud Nine Rescue Flights who had once again flown in the team from Montreal. The flight was longer than in May and Martine was quite air sick when she arrived. Straight to bed… we’ll worry about set up in the morning.
Today we have Ted, owner/operator/pilot of Cloud Nine Rescue Flights helping with intake while his girlfriend Laurie is in the kitchen warming puppies and taking care of surgery patients. Small puppies have a hard time getting warm after surgery and the last I saw her she was hugging a ball of blankets that held a pup who was definitely on the cold side. There are now more small dogs in the communities than when we first started and shihtzus are particularly popular. These dogs need ongoing grooming and if they are not brushed, or they live outside AND are not brushed, their fur mats into uncomfortable knots tight against their body. Meet Gizmo. Gizmo came in one matted mess. Shaving dogs is time consuming and really wears out the clippers that are meant to be used to prep animals for surgery. Regardless, Laura committed herself to transforming Gizmo and making him more comfortable. It took over two hours – interspersed with health checks, vaccinations and rests for both Giz and the clippers thrown in -- but with Ann to help hold him, Gizmo’s was released from his pelt! His owners didn’t even recognize him when he was done but I bet he feels heeps better. Day one down… 10 spays, 10 neuters, 26 vaccinations and one shave!
The vet team works in a trailer when we are in this community. It’s cold in the trailer when it’s cold outside, it’s hot in when it’s hot out and it’s not ideal. But every year they know it’s coming and they never complain about their less than ideal work space. Today is no different. I zipped into the trailer to watch Martine work on an interesting surgery that involved an infected salivary gland.
She went into the infected pouch from inside the mouth and released all the puss that had accumulated there. Then she stitched it but actually stitched it open so that it could drain. Back out at intake we were visited by Emma, Lucky, Jobshie, Lucas and others who we have seen in past years and some who we have seen since the beginning of the project – a testament to increasing responsible dog ownership of community members. After 11 surgeries and 18 vaccinations, we took down the equipment and packed everything into 6 plastic containers. We’ll eat and sleep and it will be time to hit the road soon enough. Tomorrow is a full driving day to reach our next destination.
For more information on IFAW's work around the world, please visit: www.ifaw.org