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Muskrat Dam and Bearskin Spay/Neuter Clinic

From January 19-27th, vet Dr Pauline van Veen, techs Ginny McLeod and Tara,
Animal Care Partner Meghavi Patel of Animal Care Zone, volunteers Miranda Green, Sarah
King, and Mercedes Barrow headed north for another FTH-sponsored Spay and Neuter Clinic.
After almost two full days of travel, the clinic got off to a bumpy start with the first dog having
some distress from anesthetic, but nothing the team couldn’t handle.

On day four, the team received an urgent message that one of their patients from the day before
had split her incisions (likely from chewing them) and her bowels were falling out of her
abdomen. They immediately came together for the emergency bowel resection which was, very
happily, successful. This dog remained in care for a day or two for monitoring before being
released back to her family. Unfortunately this emergency depleted many of their supplies and so
they ventured to the nearby health clinic to request any supplies that could be spared in order to
replenish their stock. The health clinic did not disappoint, donating enough supplies not only for
this clinic, but for future clinics as well!

Though the hospitality of the residents of Muskrat Dam was exceptional, on day five it was time
to say goodbye and make the 2-3 hour journey to Bearskin. A lovely Bearskin couple
volunteered to pick up the team and bring them down the ice road to the remote community. It
was a bumpy ride (we are told Gravol was involved), but they made it unscathed. Upon arrival,
they were treated to a wonderful lunch before setting to work and having a very productive day!
The last patient of the day was bleeding a little more than normal so her worried owner requested
she remain in care overnight, to which the team happily agreed (she turned out just fine!)

A new record was set on day six when the team completed 26 spays/neuters in a marathon 14 hour day! In addition to the surgeries, they took in 18 dogs of varying ages (along with the previous surrenders they had accepted) to return south with them for eventual adoption.
Day seven was intended to be spent chartering surrenders out to Thunder Bay, however all flights were cancelled due to weather. Not to be discouraged, the team loaded up the van with gear and pups and made the long trip back to Muskrat Dam. It took a little bit of logistical creativity to find somewhere to house the surrendered dogs until they could be transported south, but they succeeded nonetheless!
Day eight was meant to be spent returning home, however continuing poor weather conditions prevented this, so they enjoyed another day with the community, who generously gifted them with beautiful hand-made moccasins, mittens, and a fur-lined hat for Pauline !
Finally on day nine the weather had subsided enough for the plane to come get our crew home. A total of 77 dogs were spayed or neutered, and 25 dogs were surrendered into care. A massive thank you not only to our spay/neuter team, but to the communities of Muskrat Dam and Bearskin for hosting them, and to our sponsors for helping make this possible.