The Great White North Puppy Rescue 

Tuesday December 10th, 2013 – Fort Albany, Ontario

3 Week Old Rescue Puppies

3 Week Old Rescue Puppies

The temperature had dropped to -25 degrees with colder, windier temperatures in the forecast. Karen and Jassen hadn’t seen the pregnant mother dog in over a week and were concerned for both her and the puppies’ safety. They decided they better head out on this day, which turned into one of the most difficult rescues yet due to the cold temperatures and high winds.

They headed out on the snow machines as far as they could go and then had to abandon them to trek on foot through deep snow that was up to Karen’s hip in places. Staying on the well-used dog path led them to the dens that they had been keeping an eye on and knew they were still being used as they had often seen fresh dug dirt. She proceeded to slide down the hill on her butt (good thing for snow pants). It didn’t take long to hear the unmistakable whimper of newborn puppies. Since the mother was also in the den they decided to bring them back with them on this day. Jassen was sent back to get crates, blankets, leashes, food and most importantly Jennie Lee! Karen would remain and keep an eye on the mom so she wouldn’t disappear. It was freezing cold high up on the riverbank and she needed to ease her body part way into the den to get out of the blistering wind. (I guess that would also prevent to mom from making her getaway.

Puppies enjoying the Blankets

Finally Jassen returned with his Dad, Jennie and two snow machines. They managed to block off all the entrances while Jennie crawled into the den and put the leash around the mom to allow them to guide her out and into the crate. Jennie then managed to get all seven week-and-a-half old pups out of the den where they wrapped them in blankets and into another crate. Unfortunately there was one puppy who didn’t make it and they buried him before sliding down the steep snow-covered banks with the crates of precious cargo.

 

Heading for Warmth and Food

Heading for Warmth and Food

After Jassen and his Dad loaded up the crates, they headed out on an often scary, adventurous ride home on the edge of the river on ice with open water flowing a mere few feet away.

 

 

Transferring to a Clean Crate

Transferring to a Clean Crate

During the journey the mom barfed up the most putrid, rancid smelling mess they had ever witnessed – the poor girl. It was likely a combination of the birthing sacs and perhaps even any stillborn pups. The stress she was under combined with the stomach contents was probably very hard on her. However, this is the reality of the pack dogs’ life in the north and the reasons these people risk the cold and danger to help these beautiful animals out.

 

Warm and Cozy

Warm and Cozy

The mom and seven pups were then safely settled in front of a wood stove warm and safe from the elements with plenty of food and clean water. After giving mom some time to settle in and feel a little safer, Karen had her accepting food from her hands and petting her face. She even has a name now, Lexi.

 

The next step was to give her and nice bath and get the dirt and barf cleaned up (a layer of skunk was hidden in there somewhere too). Lexi is turning to be an amazing girl, very loving and friendly. They had been trying to get her to come to them for over a year, as long as she was running with the pack. Recently when she was expecting she would come closer while the food was poured out and she even let Karen pet her. Now she can stick her hand in the bowl while feeding and pet her head and face near her mouth while she is eating… what a change.

Relaxing with Mom

The puppies were curled so tightly into little balls in the den, and now they are safe and warm enough to stretch out and appreciated the love surrounding them.
I was told by another resident in the area that on that day the temperature was around -30 and with the wind chill as cold as -48. There is a good chance that not all, if any, of the pups would have made it through the week and perhaps not even Lexi. Thank you so much to Karen, Jassen, Jennie Lee, and Jassen’s Dad for all they do to help our fuzzy friends.

Happy at Last

Happy at Last

6 weeks old – preparing for the trip south to their new Forever Homes

 

bathtb

Ready for their bath

barrel-of-puppies
After the bath

All Cleaned up - 6 weeks

All Cleaned up – 6 weeks