This September Spirit’s Mission volunteers were honoured to be invited back to Saik’uz First Nations by Chief and Council. Saik’uz is a remote community outside of Vanderhoof, BC without easy access to veterinary care and is leading the way in Northern BC remote communities by their commitment and vision towards a long-term sustainable animal wellness plan in their community.
Our September visit incorporated an Animal Wellness Clinic where we were joined by Dr. Cori Stephen from Nechako NValley Animal Health Services. Dr. Stephen has donated hundreds of hours of her time to help the animals of Saik’uz. Outside of this annual two day clinic Dr. Stephen is always on call for Spirit’s Mission for veterinary care. We cannot thank her enough! We also thank Dr. Sylvia Hall Andrews, from Petroglyph Animal Hospital in Nanaimo, who has organized all the logistics of hosting an onsite clinic including permits and medical supplies over the past several years. We also had a Band Office employee help us this year who learned how to do a wellness clinic for the community in the future!
In two short days, 55 dogs and 9 cats were given health checks as well as vaccinations, deworming, microchips, and medication for a variety of conditions as needed. Additionally, 1 dog and 2 cats were re homed at the request of the owners. And the emergency pet food bank was replenished.
Since the 2017 Wellness Clinic, 23 dogs and cats received spay/neuter and vet care off site, and 5 dogs were re-homed as requested by the owners. Since the Wellness Clinic in September 2018: there have been an additional 10 requests for spay/neuter of companion animals; a dog that needs re-homing; some cases of cats with ringworm which has the potential to spread quickly throughout the community without intervention; and a feral cat colony that needs to be managed prior to winter setting in. We are also working on trapping a feral cat colony, to give them shelter before winter sets in.
We have just finished a 5 year contract with Saik’uz and will continue to work with them towards sustaining an animal management plan if they request us to do so. We would also be happy to continue providing food for the emergency pet food bank in the Band Office. Outcomes of this contract have been that the pet population is now under control through spaying, neutering and education. Dog packing and bites are no longer a regular occurrence. Saik’uz’ new Band Manager commented on how pleased he was with the health and happiness of Saik’uz’ pets.
We are thankful for the Band Office staff and people in the community who have supported the animals along this journey. We are deeply grateful, and have deep respect for Chief and Council’s leadership in this unique initiative.
Donations from you, Saik’uz First Nations, and others have helped this community’s companion animals lead a healthier life. Spirit’s Mission volunteers have travelled with donated Aeroplan Miles, and the veterinarians have provided their services at no cost. Animal drug companies and veterinarians have also donated medical supplies whenever possible.
We are all about healthier animals = healthier communities. Gail would be proud.