Up to the Great North again…
On March 10th Dr Lechten, Natalie, Melissa and Sarah will be making the long journey north to Peawanuck Ontario. Peawanuck is an isolated Cree community in the Kenora District, Ontario, Canada, about 35 km from the Winisk River's end in Hudson Bay.
It is a fly in only community, which means there is no road access. Being so remote there is no access to veterinary care, causing an overpopulation of dogs and medical issues being left un- treated.
This was Sarah’s first trip with the team. She wanted to share her experience with you.
“I was beyond excited to take part in a spay and neuter clinic for the first time. I have never heard of Peawanuck, ON and knew nothing about it, so I did my research. What I found out was; Peawanuck has a population of about 150 people, it is located way up north near Polar Bear Provincial Park, and you can only get there by bush plane. Our adventure started Tuesday evening when we flew out of Toronto to Timmins. The following morning, we were set to fly out of Timmins to Peawanuck, which unfortunately did not happen because we found out when we landed that only 5/9 of our luggage made it to Timmins with us. Without our luggage we were unable to perform spays & neuters because those totes contained all of our medical supplies. To make it even worse, one of the four pieces of luggage that did not make it onto the flight was my personal luggage! Thanks to Dr. Lechten, I had clothes to borrow until I received mine back (which came 14 hours later with the rest of our supplies). Since we had to miss our flight Wednesday morning to Peawanuck, Dr. Lechten arranged a charter flight for us to take Thursday morning. We were then back on track and landed in Peawanuck. The flight went much smoother than I imagined considering the plane only had 8 passenger seats. The best part about the plane ride was every seat was a window seat and an aisle seat.
Once arriving in Peawanuck we settled into where we were staying. We stayed in a three-bedroom apartment which was known as the nursing residence. Friday morning, we set up all of our supplies next door at the ambulance bay and opened the clinic. At first, we started off slow. Our first patient was surprisingly a cat. We saw a few dogs that day, but as the days went by, we got busier & busier and by time Sunday came we were all running around. We had a dog come by named Mostos (which means “cow” in Cree). She was spayed Saturday morning and spent the day with us. She was the most affectionate dog and there wasn’t a minute in the day where she wasn’t being loved.
We met plenty of people, all who were very friendly. We met an eight-year-old boy named Jacob who stopped by every day we were open and brought multiple dogs. He would spend hours with us observing and asking questions. I spent most of the time in recovery with patients after surgery, and Jacob became my little assistant. After his puppy’s surgery, Jacob kept a close eye on her while giving extra love and cuddles.
Although this adventure had a rough start, I’m grateful that I could be a part of this spay and neuter clinic and give back to people close to home. I couldn’t thank Allandale enough for this opportunity!”
- Sarah Carcasole (Veterinary Assistant)
Thank you to Karen Nicholson, Heather Fisher, Boehringer Ingelheim, Elanco for their donations!