Candian Northern Dogs: Making the tough, but necessary calls

Two of the feral pups with one of the owned dogs where they live.The Northern Dogs team retraced our steps back to the first community again today so that Jessica and Karen could go into both the elementary school and high school while Heidi and Stef walked the street. 

After five classes in the morning and half the community walked, we all gathered for lunch to share what we had seen and heard and done.  

As it turns out, Heidi and Stef had seen a whole bunch of dogs and remembered some from last year.  They had also bumped into a woman who was feeding a mum and her four pups. 

These were not her dogs.

She had two of her own but the mum and pups were living in a big wooden box at the back of her house and she wanted to know if we would take the pups home with us when we left. 

This is not a novel request except for the fact that puppies have high value in the communities for their cuteness so four older pups still with their mother is a bit of an anomaly. 

When we went to find out more at the end of the day, it was apparent why the pups had not found homes yet.  The mum was extremely wary of people and had passed this survival quality on to her pups. 

She was a smallish, short legged girl with four black, long legged pups.  You can’t take someone like that off the street and expect her to thrive so I decided that we would try to capture her when the vet team arrived, spay her, and return her to street where the good Samaritans could continue to feed her. 

She may very well come around to people if properly rehabilitated but to be honest, I already had my doubts about capturing her and you need to have the right place for a dog like her to go to for possible rehabilitation. 

Her pups looked to be almost four months old and while older than ideal for rehabilitating their behaviours, leaving them was not an option. 

You can assume that two of the four are girls and they will be reproducing alongside their mother by the end of the summer -- creating more unowned, unwanted and potentially unhandle-able puppies. 

Decision made. 

We will deal with the whole family when the vet team arrives with the intention of taking the pups home after the clinic and leaving the mum – spayed, vaccinated and dewormed. 

-- JH

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Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Jan Hannah, Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Campaign Manager, Northern Dogs Project
Kate Nattrass Atema, Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Program Director, Community Animal Welfare
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters