WATCH: good people make good things happen for a Canadian northern dog named Nala

Watch this video about Nala's story from Pilots and Paws Canada. 

I won’t easily forget when I received the call about Nala.

I was standing in the tackroom of the barn as the story unfolded over the phone.

That afternoon in the community up north, the large, shepherd type dog had just popped out on the street and followed one of the teachers home. The teacher had never seen the dog before, and she figured the smell that clung to her was proof of a good roll on a fish carcass or a dip in some stagnant water. When the teacher got home though she realized that the stench wasn’t on the dog, it was in the dog! 

She named the 6 month old girl Nala and along with a friend, worked through Nala’s fur to find a deep and infected wound that went almost the entire way around her neck. 

It appeared that the rope Nala had been tied on had become too tight, and as she grew, the rope grew into her neck. When the rope had finally rotted, Nala had found herself out of the backyard and on the street. 

Could the International Fund for Animal Welfare help? 

Nala’s community is about an 17 hour drive from me and it was early winter, not a time of year I felt comfortable driving north.

As I was trying to toggle logistics together in my head of how to get her down, I was getting play by play from the community end as they shaved Nala’s neck to have a better look at the wound. It was deep, it was infected, it needed veterinary help pronto.

That’s when the calls started to go out and amazing people came out of nowhere to help.

Air Creebec agreed to fly Nala free of charge to Montreal.

Pilots and Paws Canada came to the rescue with one of their volunteer pilots offering to fly Nala from the Ottawa area to outside Toronto where I could pick her up and get to the vet quickly. 

More volunteers came forward offering to fill in the spaces between her Montreal arrival and her flight out of Ottawa the following morning. 

And when people work together, good things happen.

A couple of glitches in the actual transport, two neck surgeries, a spay and some house lessons later, Nala was healed and hilarious.

In the few months that she lived with us, she showed herself not only to be physically beautiful, but sweet, goofy, and a bit of a comic to boot. This charming girl was a special case regardless of her neck. I just happened to get to know her because of the circumstances.

Luckily for me, I have been able to keep her in my life by finding her a home close by that fits her comic personality to a T. 

This story doesn’t happen without the wonderful community members, Air Creebec and Pilots and Paws Canada, and volunteers down here who came to Nala’s rescue when she needed them most. 

Have a look, and see for yourself.


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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy