Despite Stories of Cold and Neglect, Canadian Clinics Persevere

IFAW Northern Dogs Project patient: Dexter!

There is a wonderful family living in this community who is working with the youth. But compassion knows no bounds and they are also providing food and love to a motley crew of dogs.

Margaret and Heidi, Northern Dog volunteers, met the family the other day while they were counting dogs. Some of the current pack members living at the family’s house were pups when they were rescued during the deep freeze of winter as they lay almost frozen to death. Some were taken in as adults and some are still owned by community members but spend time lounging with the family. And that’s just fine with everyone involved!

On day two of the clinic here, these dogs were brought in one by one and then two by two for surgery and vaccinations. First were Noodles and Buster, 4 month old littermates that I marked down as spaniel crosses (since then, I have re-evaluated… their noses are plastered to the ground like hounds!). Noodles and Buster’s mom was the only survivor from her litter and then, at only six months old she had her first litter. I was told that she looks like a small spaniel with long hair covering her entire face (there is the spaniel… where is the hound?!). Unfortunately, we didn’t see her at the clinic so she remains out and about making more pups. We didn’t see the dad either -- a large lab/husky cross -- who will no doubt be making more pups. Buster had found a home in the community but was returned the next week -- he barked too much. So we ended up with Buster at the clinic and thankfully he’s going to leave a neutered boy! Humane population control : )

Then Dexter arrived, a petite and prancey grey thing with a white chest and socks and some crazy bits of fur. Long legged with big prick ears, Dexter can only be described as a cartoon waiting to happen. He was picked up one February night in minus 30’s weather. His rescuer said she sensed eyes staring at her and turned to look out the sliding door to see this little grey creature staring at her.

She took him in and all of the girls at the youth centre took turns holding him to warm him up. He was nowhere near any houses – just windy fields of ice and snow. People who visited thought they knew where he was from, but his mom’s owners had let the puppies loose, not wanting to take care of them. Dexter was so frail that he slept with his rescuers and they kept him with them at all times. Despite bouts of illness he has now developed his spunky free-spirited attitude in the small package that is Dexter!

Scooby the dog being weighed prior to surgery.

After Dexter was Scooby -- who looked very much like Lux who the International Fund for Animal Welfare brought down in the dog lift in July. So we called him Baby Lux as Margaret actually fostered the original Lux in the summer for ARF.

Scooby looks very much like a large male we saw the other day on the street so I assume they are related. Unfortunately, assumed-Scooby-dad was not brought into the clinic so I hate to say it, but I expect to see others who look like him next year.

A young teacher has taken in a pup who is thought to be Dexter’s sister. NJabway is a very social and confident black and buff 5 month old husky cross with an under bite and a serious forehead. She was found in the middle of winter also in an area with no houses.

When she was picked up, it was thought she was dead because she didn’t/couldn’t move. She was pooping out black oil (as it’s been described) and couldn’t stand up because her legs were curled underneath her and useless. They thought she would die but with warmth, food and care she managed to stand and flop her front feet. By the end of the week, she had found her working legs and has now made a full recovery. It was heartening to hear the teacher describe what great company NJabway is and how having a pup gets her out and about.

Rocky, a short legged adult blond husky(?), lab(?) was brought in next followed by Bruno and his two year old mother Priscilla. We actually saw Bruno and Priscilla running along the road last night at 11 pm when we ferried the vet team to the lodge from the airport. They were jauntily heading down the middle of the road apparently going somewhere. It wasn’t until later that I learned that Priscilla goes down to the lake and fishes. Fishes! Brings fresh fish back to the house – I’m not sure she shares. Inseparable, these two are beautiful free roaming animals who embody the true spirit of unconstrained dog living.

Twenty two surgeries and 56 vaccinations (34 of these already spayed/neutered at a past IFAW clinic) later, it’s time to take the clinic down, pack the vans and move onto the next community which is an hour and a half away. We were scheduled to stay overnight here but there has been no heat at the lodge and like Marie Josée and the weather people predicted, the weather IS cold now.

Unfortunately, while we were packing up, a young owner brought his dog in for a neuter. This is the tiger striped boy from an earlier blog and I was disappointed because I really wanted to get that dog neutered. I gave his owner our schedule for the next four days and told him to meet us. I have my fingers crossed that we’ll see him over the weekend or on Monday or Tuesday.

-- JH

Read Jan's previous Northern Dogs clinic journal entry here.

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5 years ago

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