A self-proclaimed dog lover, Dana is a Lands and Resources Technician at the Mississauga First Nation in Northern Ontario, Canada, This January, we arrived at her community to deliver dog houses made specifically for the northern winters in Canada.
As we were unloading the pieces of the houses into a community hall to assemble them, I was struck with the notion that these dog houses are about so much more than just shelter for dogs in a frigid climate.
They are a symbol of IFAW’s way of engaging with communities. They are also about people around the world — IFAW donors — reaching out to these remote communities where dogs need shelter.
Stanford Owl is the Animal Care and Control Officer for Sagamok First Nation. Back when he first started in his job around 2008, there were dogs running everywhere in Sagamok. People were afraid to go outside because there were groups of roaming dogs. Because they were afraid, people would often throw rocks at the dogs or carry sticks, which only made the dogs become more excited. This, in turn, scared more people. It was a vicious cycle.
Stanford reached out to IFAW’s Northern Dogs Project for help. We brought in wellness clinics with our partner the Animal Rescue Foundation, and supported him in setting up animal control practices. Now, dogs in Sagamok are better provided for by their people and in better condition thanks to Stanford’s hard work — and many of them have dog houses thanks to the generosity of IFAW donors.
Stanford’s work started to gain some notoriety among neighboring Anishinaabe communities, who were having similar issues with their dogs. Stanford is now helping those communities, including Dana, set up healthy practices for their dogs.
During our January trip, when we showed up with a load of dog houses, there was a crew of community members ready to assemble them.
Thanks to Dogs Unlimited Rescue in Toronto we had been put in touch with a home builder who was ready to build dog houses for northern communities. They’re built tough, with the insulation encased so dogs can’t chew through it, asphalt shingles, and carpet flaps on the doors. Through IFAW donors’ generosity, we’ve been able to send the flat-packed dog houses to communities across Canada. From British Columbia to Quebec, First Nations communities we work with have received dog houses to keep their dogs warm during the long, cold Canadian winters.
Once we finished putting the dog houses together, we loaded them two at a time and started delivering them around the community. The response from people and their dogs was heartwarming. We met so many grateful people, and so many excited dogs.
Thanks to generous IFAW donors, tonight there are dogs sleeping in warm new dog houses all over Canada.
-- Janice Hannah, IFAW Campaign Manager Northern Dogs Project - Canada
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