Part One: Keewaywin
Our group, hailing from Barrie, Alliston, Penetang, New Lowell, and Guelph, left for Keewaywin on September 30th. They drove to Nakina where they were picked up by Alex, their fantastic pilot, who would also pick them up following the clinic. They arrived in Keewaywin on the 1st of October and were absolutely spoiled by community organizer Frank, and community members Brian, Ryan, Pat, and Clayton. These amazing men made sure our team not only was treated to wonderful local food, but helped facilitate the trip, including many rides to and from the local airport.
Part Two: Kingfisher
On October 5th, the FTH team said their goodbyes to Keewaywin and were reunited with pilot Alex, who brought them to Kingfisher. There, community organizer Agnes looked after them, even bringing them to see the bears at the dump, the sight of which was a first for many of the team! They also befriended a NAPS officer by the name of JP who was instrumental in helping them catch a female dog with ELEVEN two-week-old puppies. They wrapped up on the 9th, at which point they met a new (but equally wonderful) pilot by the name of Ted who flew them back to Nakina. After the long drive back from Nakina, they made it home in the early hours of the 10th.
At the conclusion of both clinics, 91 surgeries had been successfully performed and 26 surrenders were accepted/transported for fostering, vet care and eventual adoption.
Anytime FTH heads up North for these clinics, we are always struck by the level of Northern hospitality we are treated to. However, we also get glimpses into the issues these communities face. One such example was the plane schedules: these communities are accessible only by air, and yet the planes were unpredictable, sometimes arriving and departing early, making it difficult for our team to facilitate the transport of the surrendered dogs. So often we take for granted how easily we can access anything and everything: vet care, medical care, groceries, transportation, and so forth. This was an eye-opening snapshot of the realities of northern living.
Despite minor flight hiccups, the trip was filled with highlights: they were befriended by Askem the dog who followed them EVERYWHERE, even sleeping on their porch at night! They also met Gavin, a virtual high school student who first came to the clinic when he arrived with his dog. He spent the day assisting with pre- and post-operative care and even saw our team off at the airport. He was a young man who made a big impression!
These clinics are always a massive undertaking. They involve significant amounts of time, coordination, and, yes, money. We are so pleased to share that these clinics were made possible through a grant from Canfel. Thank you so much, Canfel – this would not have been possible without you!
Of course, thank you as well to all of our volunteers, be they in Keewaywin or Kingfisher, our many fosters who helped absorb this influx of dogs, and the awesome team who used their personal time to conduct the clinics. This mission is truly a collaborative effort, and we couldn’t do this without everyone’s contributions, be they large or small.
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And finally …
Finding Them Homes wants to thank Northern Reach for helping with sending up crates, accepting surrenders flown out during the clinic as well as sent up food for the team and meeting back in Nakina to hand over the surrendered dogs to head south.