An Outstanding Surgical Team Helps Canadian Dogs

A veterinary surgeon working on a dog in a field clinic set up by IFAW staff in northern Canada.

It’s that time of year when I’m in the final stages of organizing the spring Northern Dogs clinics.  Even though I start working on logistics and organizing in January, there are so many details to get to that with only a few days before departure, I’m still checking off my lists, shopping, writing contracts, contacting the communities and so on.  Because of the remote locations of the communities, I want to make sure that we make the best use of our time while there.  That means hosting the mobile veterinary clinics but before that, it involves going into the schools to talk to the kids, carrying out dog population surveys (like we did in January) and talking to community members.  I am leaving on Saturday and driving for two days with part of the team while the veterinary staff will fly up and meet us later in the week.

On Friday I organized the supplies and got a start on printing the materials.  Today I shopped for more leashes and collars, paper plates for lunches, crayons for the kids’ colouring, cleaner, paper towels, dog biscuits, and so on.  It’s not glamorous, but it’s imperative.  I have three contracts to complete tomorrow for the vet technicians, hotels to book, towels to bag up, vaccines to purchase, new supply orders to amalgamate, crates to take down from over the garage, anesthetic machines to pick up after being serviced and more packing to finish.

I can’t say how thankful I am to have the same two vets again this year.  Cross your fingers that they keep coming!  They are outstanding surgeons and they totally understand the context and the communities.  One of the techs is coming back as well, while the other two are new.  I have two new intake volunteers, one from ARF in London and one all the way from BC.  The two vets work in the back with two surgical techs while the two intake volunteers join me and the final tech out front.  We talk to everyone who comes into the clinic whether they are there for surgery and vaccines, just vaccines or some other medical question.  We see mostly dogs but there can be quite a few cats as well.  There used to be a ferret that we saw every year and there can be a rabbit or a turtle for the vets to look at as well.

On Thursday I will pick up the rental vans and pack them with the medical equipment and supplies.  Heidi and Margaret will be in on Friday to go over initial intake procedures and then we’ll be off bright and early on Saturday morning, arriving on Sunday afternoon.  The plan is to post updates from the field if possible so check back for how we’re doing.  Last year we saw over 400 animals so I expect similar results again this year.  It’s spring… which means Northern Dogs on-the-road-again-time!

-- JH

For more information about the International Fund for Animal Welfare effort to save animals in crisis around the world visit

Comments: 1

7 years ago

[...] Read Jan’s previous post talking about the assembled for this specific effort here. [...]

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