Hoping for Warmer Nights as Northern Dogs Recover
Last night it got downright chilly and the rain turned to snow. My only concern about the temperature is for those dogs who are going to be recovering from surgery on their porches. However, they do have a winter’s worth of fur to keep them warm but I’m still hoping for warmer nights while we’re doing our work here.
Today was a full day and a sunny day. About 5 degrees but with a nippy spring wind chill. I dropped by the firehall and talked to the powers-that-be about the clinic and our needs – make sure the posters advertising the clinic are up and that an announcement is made on the radio… and don’t forget the oxygen for the vets. Then I went to the health clinic to get data on the number of dog bites or human health issues related to dogs that have occurred over the past year. At the same time, I found a great volunteer in the nurse, who along with his wife and daughter, helped out last year. So I’m really pleased to have them back again.
While I was running around on the less doggy end of things, the other two were walking the streets counting dogs and talking to community members. This is the best way to get a feel for the health of the dogs, the number of dogs, the behaviour and temperament of the dogs as well as a feel for what the community is thinking around dogs and dog issues. Margaret and Heidi had a great time getting to know the individuals, both canine and human, and were happy to hit the streets again in the afternoon.
Over lunch I told them about a dog that one of the techs and I have had ‘ownership’ squabbles over (recognizing that this dog has an owner is the part of our fantasy that we simple disregard when we’re bantering back and forth over who will get him). We neutered and vaccinated Pancake, a husky Shar Pei mix, 4 or 5 years ago and every time we come back, finding him is like finding Waldo.
I explained to Margaret and Heidi what he looked like (a husky with a Shar Pei nose – yes, for real). Mid afternoon I received a text from Margaret saying… “Found the Pancake!”. This made me laugh out loud and I immediately texted Denise to let her know that a Pancake sighting had been made! By now he must be 6 or even 8 years old and it just makes me happy to know that he’s still here and being looked after by his person.
More good news came in the form of Blackie, a young black lab cross who we spayed last year while she was still nursing her litter of 10 pups. I saw her following her owner down the street and got out of the van to ask if it was in fact Blackie. She looks great, well kept and well fed and we’ll do a home visit to vaccinate her later this week. She was horsing around with a beautiful golden retriever who took it upon himself to get fresh by nipping at my pants and humping my leg. You just have to laugh and hope that no one is looking!
And finally, I saw that yes indeedy, the Shar Peis are alive and well in this community. I saw them at a camp outside the community, one fawn and one red. There used to be a breeding pair here that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years so just like anything that is familiar, it was nice to spot them lounging on their front stoop.
So tomorrow will be similar to today. Another community, another school visit and more communing with dogs and their people. Can’t wait!
For more information about the International Fund for Animal Welfare efforts to save animals in crisis around the world visit http://www.ifaw.org