Help Us Build Nunavut's First Animal Shelter
Created September 26, 2011 by Janine Budgell
Through the howling wind I could hear the whimpers of what sounded like a puppy. I bundled up and went outside. The wind was carrying the sound in all directions and the visibility was poor. After an hour search, I knew the sound was coming from a pile of snow. I started digging with my hands and, sure enough, I found a puppy frozen into a solid block of ice. I couldn’t do much with my frozen and tingling hands. I ran home and grabbed a shovel, but it was dark and I was unsure where the body started or ended in the mess of ice and excretions! I was scared to start chipping, afraid I would harm her. I ran and grabbed an extension cord and a hair dryer. I plugged it into the front of the house, pulled it across the street and began working. It felt like hours but I wouldn’t let this be her final resting spot. I freed a portion of the ice cube with the puppy encased in it and headed home. She wasn’t dead; I could hear breathing. I got on the phone and, on the instructions of a kind vet in B.C., I wrapped up that ice block, moved the oven rack to the bottom, turned the heat on 10 degrees, then 15, and so on. I sat peering through the glass door, sobbing. That night she slept in my oven and I slept on the floor next to her. I told her she owes it to me not to die after all this! She listened. The following morning, there she was with eyes wide open. She couldn’t move, so I called a doctor in town and she was hooked up to an IV. In 72 hours, she was eating up food. She had a long road, losing the tip of her ears and tail, but she pulled through. I already had a dog, but she stole a piece of my heart. I kept her for three months until I found a home that would love her as much as I do! Her name is Sash and she lives in Stittsville on a farm and lives a great life considering her bitter start.
The Iqaluit Humane Society (IHS) was started because of situations like the one above, which is just one example of many. The IHS is a non-profit organization aimed at improving the lives of all domestic animals in Nunavut. Nunavut currently makes up over 20% of the land mass in Canada and spans over 2 million square kilometers. With harsh winter conditions lasting up to 10 months of the year, and a city by-law that controls over-population by destroying dogs at the city landfill, an animal shelter is desperately needed to serve the capital of Nunavut, as well as the surrounding communities.
A fully dedicated animal shelter will allow us to embark on a comprehensive, effective, and efficient adoption and foster programs, complete with s spay and neuter requirement, that will benefit families in Nunavut. Professional temperament assessments before animals are adopted will help to better match animals with people - something we cannot do properly at this time. With the highest incident of dog bites in Canada, the wounds left on our community are far reaching.
Having our own shelter will also put us in a better position to partner and be involved with other organizations and government initiatives such as working with disabled adults, inmate programs, and women’s shelters to help build confidence and a new skill set that they can use in their daily lives. Our shelter will also serve as a community hub – a place to find a new family pet, receive dog training, and provide a safe place for pets to exercise and socialize. It will also be a place for our school children to volunteer and learn.
With the high cost of construction materials (a kennel that is $50-100 down south is $450 in Iqaluit), labour and shipping in/to the Arctic, we desperately need funds to help us build a new facility so we can re-open our doors. Our plans for the new shelter utilizes seacans, or shipping containers, as the primary basis of the structure. With community businesses already having promised the seacans, the cost for the construction materials, labour and utilities, is desperately needed. Without these things, we will not succeed. Please be a part of helping us build Nunavut’s first animal shelter by voting every day.