Providing preventative medication to keep pets healthy

In early February, Spirit’s Mission got the call. There were five dogs wandering in an isolated community in northern B.C. that did not seem to have homes and were looking for food.

Spirit’s Mission’s first priority is to always try and keep pets with their families, but if there are no homes, we will relocate pets to fur-ever homes.

As it turned out, one dog did have a home, and two dogs found homes in the community. The two remaining dogs were turned over to Spirit’s Mission and were named Oscar and Felix.

Oscar Feb 2017 Packing 8 mos old  Felix Feb 2017 Packing 8 mos old

After a check-up with Nechako Valley Animal Health Services, Oscar and Felix were transported to southern B.C. to be placed in foster homes until adopted. Once there, the dogs also received another check-up with a veterinarian. The re-check found that one had a mild case of Demodex Mange. This is the type of mange that cannot be transmitted to another dog or human. Demodex Mange is usually the result of an animal having a compromised immune system from not getting enough nourishment, or who are sick, or who are heavily infested with ticks or fleas. Mange can be very itchy but it is also very treatable.

Spirit’s Mission followed up with the community in northern B.C. and worked with them to educate the community with information pamphlets, and to provide preventative treatment if any family was concerned their pets may have mange as well.

Over the last few weeks, preventative medication was shipped to the community, and to let them know that a booster dosage of medication would be available during our Wellness Clinic 2017.

Because of the support of our volunteers and donations, not only did Oscar and Felix get a chance to find fur-ever homes, but many families were given the opportunity to have healthier pets. On behalf of all of them, thank you for your continued support!

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Donated Aeroplan miles go a long way for the animals

Did you know you can donate your unused Aeroplan miles to Spirit’s Mission to help animals in need? These donations are actually vital in helping us to fly volunteers north to our annual wellness and spay/neuter clinics.

In fact, this year alone, you have already donated enough Aeroplan miles for us to fly 3 volunteers, roundtrip, to our Spring Wellness Clinic! That creates huge savings on travel costs – an important consideration for an all-volunteer, small nonprofit organization like Spirit’s Mission. We can’t thank you enough for generously supporting Spirit’s Mission with your donated Aeroplan miles.

Of course, 3 volunteers aren’t nearly enough to organize a successful wellness clinic.  With multiple veterinarians and assistants, groomers, and intake volunteers and those helping the waiting animals remain calm and stress-free, the travel costs can quickly add up. But we couldn’t carry off these clinics without our dedicated volunteers – it’s most certainly a team effort!

With that in mind, we hope you’ll consider supporting our Spring Wellness Clinic by donating your unused Aeroplan miles. It’s easy to do – just go to the Spirit’s Mission charity page on Beyond Miles and click the Donate Now button. You will be asked to either log in or to create an account – just follow the prompts on your screen and let us know if you run into any difficulties.

We’ll be announcing more about our upcoming wellness clinic soon – including other ways you can get involved. Until then, check out this post from last year’s Spay & Neuter clinic!

Saik'us May 7-8 (17 of 85)

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Support Spirit’s Mission while walking your dog!

Did you know you can support animals in need simply while walking your dog, hiking, jogging, or even horse-back riding?

To get started, just download the free ResQwalk app from iTunes or Google Play and select Spirit’s Mission as your charity of choice. Be sure to hit the “Start ResQwalk” button before you start your walk, hike or any other outdoor activity that can be measured by GPS nd involves a speed of 14 mph or less.

An added personal benefit is that you can track your total kilometres for the week, set goals, and work towards better fitness!

Need detailed instructions to get started? Here you go:

1. After downloading, open the Resqwalk app.

2. Complete the registration by entering your email address and a password or by logging in via Facebook.

3. Hit the ResQwalk button and search “Spirit’s Mission” – be sure to include the apostrophe!

4. Hit the “Start ResQwalk” button and start walking. Be sure to hit the “Finish” button when you have finished your walk.

5. Finally, remember to open the ResQwalk app and start your Spirit’s Mission ResQwalk every time you are walking, jogging, hiking, riding or doing other outdoor activities.

About ResQwalk:

ResQwalk is a free mobile app that enables you to raise money and resources for animal welfare organizations, simply by walking. Each month they announce a ResQpool of cash and other resources that have been provided by corporate sponsors. In order to earn part of the pool for your favorite animal welfare organization, all you have to do is download the ResQwalk app and start walking!


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Help Patches the life-changing surgery

The call came in late November. Temperatures were -35C … so cold that nothing could survive for long. Especially not the young male mixed breed dog wandering around on the highway.

We came to know this loveable guy as Patches. Black, white, and under 2 years old, he was having a very difficult time moving around. Witnesses reported him being repeatedly kicked on his back end, which may have been why moving was so painful and debilitating for him. A woman saw him and offered him a warm bed and food in her home at night. She did an amazing job, considering what this little guy was going through. But his days were spent rummaging for food, wandering around, and walking onto the highway, where he was sure to be killed. The kind woman contacted Spirit’s Mission for help.


Once Patches was surrendered to Spirit’s Mission, we had him checked by a veterinarian. Both his back knees were injured and needed surgery, possibly the result of constantly being kicked, or perhaps he had been already hit by a car. Whichever reason, he was going to need serious medical attention.

Spirit’s Mission was given an estimate of surgical costs from $6,000 to $9,000 – much more than our funds could spare. Luckily, there are other organizations who care as much about neglected animals as we do. Prince George Humane Society stepped forward to share the cost with us, and give Patches a loving foster home until his surgery. Only one knee at a time can be done, and his rear right leg will be fixed first.

Can you help Patches with his surgery costs? Any amount, no matter how small, can make a difference. Please click here to donate online via CanadaHelps. Stay tuned, as more news comes in about Patches’ journey. He is now safe and is looking for an amazing forever home of his own! Interested in adopting Patches? Contact us, or Prince George Humane Society, for information.


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Happy Tails: Gus

Our new Happy Tails series will introduce you to some of the animals rescued and aided by Spirit’s Mission. We’re pleased to kick off the series with Gus, our very first Happy Tail, written by our Treasurer, Vicki!


Gus was Spirit’s Mission’s first rescue/surrender from Saik’uz. It is unknown whether he was ‘dumped’ on the reserve in 2013 as a very young puppy, or if he was born to a stray Saik’uz dog, but either way he was homeless.

Gus managed to survive the first year of his life, enduring the brutal northern winter, and when Spirit’s Mission held our first wellness clinic at Saik’uz in 2014, he was brought in by a family from the community who said the whole community wanted him gone. He was a stray, he was a nuisance, he was a pest.

After some discussion amongst the Spirit’s Mission crew, it was agreed that Gus would come home with me.

Gus had a few things going for him. Despite being homeless, he loved people, he got along well with the community dogs, and he had the most gorgeous blue eyes, pleading for love and a home.


The first months with Gus were a challenge. He had never been in a house and was not house-trained, could be destructive, and suffered from separation anxiety when left alone. He would not come when called, and in fact would avoid coming near whenever someone reached out to him, instead displaying his distrust with repeated games of “keep-away”. But he desperately wanted to be close, to be petted, to be loved, and gradually, with the help of his new dog-sister Weezie and big dog-brother Diesel, he learned that coming when called meant really good things could happen including all the perks of being a house dog.


Now, 2 ½ years later, Gus has come so very far. No more “keep-away” for him. He comes like a rocket when called! He has learned so many things, and is in fact trained in the skills of a Service Dog. As a dog trainer for Citadel Canine Society, I train service dogs to help veterans and first responders with PTSD. Gus works with me as my demo dog, helping Citadel candidates learn how to work with the service dogs they have been given. My handsome, very special, very clever blue-eyed partner is a star!


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UPDATE: Poppy gets her first massage!

Back in November, we introduced you to Poppy, one of our recent rescues who required extensive medical treatment after being hit by a car. In December, we showed you just how far Poppy had come in her rehabilitation, as she enjoyed a snowy winter walk with her foster mom.

Earlier this month, Poppy had her first massage and red light therapy appointment, both designed to help improve the mobility in her injured leg and help the wound, which is still open, to better heal.

Here are some photos from Poppy’s treatment – she looks pretty relaxed!



Poppy’s wound continues to heal very well and her mobility has dramatically improved. In fact, it is our hope that she’ll be ready for regular exercise within the next month or so!

Our girl has come such a long way – and we must thank her amazing foster mom, Willow, for providing such dedicated and loving care during Poppy’s rehabilitation, as well as our donors who have so generously contributed to Poppy’s medical costs. Poppy thanks you too!


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Happy Holidays from Spirit’s Mission

As 2016 rapidly comes to a close, we reflected on the past year and wanted to share with you some of the highlights of our work with companion animals in remote and northern BC communities.

This past spring, we hosted another successful wellness clinic in the Saik’uz First Nations community. With our volunteer veterinarians from Petroglyph Animal Hospital and Nechako Animal Health Clinic, 37 dogs and 14 cats were given health checks, deworming, vaccinations and grooming as needed. These animals would not have had access to veterinary care without our clinic. Lakes Animal Friendship Society representatives also attended the clinic to offer humane education to the community’s youth – including making doghouses together for local dogs.

Also in the spring, we celebrated our founder, Gail Moerkerken, at a special celebration of life. We were honoured to present the first annual Gail’s Spirit Award to local Nanaimo student, Emily Holmes. Emily is a dedicated volunteer in her community, a passionate advocate for animal welfare, and will be pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.

We also accepted five surrendered dogs and two cats into our care this year, including Poppy, a young dog we rescued after she was hit by a car, and received no pain relief or medical treatment for weeks. You can see an update on Poppy further down in this newsletter. We also funded several spay/neuter surgeries in the Saik’uz community.

We’d like to thank you for your support this past year, including coming out to our annual Santa Paws photo sessions – your generous donations will help us maintain and continue to grow these programs next year. Please keep our Pawsitive Links bracelets in your gift giving, and also remember that horse hair bracelets (your horse or ours) are also available with a portion of the donations going to Spirit’s Mission. We also thank you for continuing to spread the good news of our work, and asking others to sign up for our newsletter through the Spirit’s Mission website.

On behalf of the Spirit’s Mission Board of Directors, I’d like to wish all of our supporters and volunteers the warmest of holidays and a happy and healthy new year. Here’s to working together to help more animals in 2017!

Joanne Caldwell
Spirit’s Mission

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UPDATE: Poppy’s Recovery Is Going Well!

Last month we introduced you to Poppy, a young yellow lab mix who was surrendered to Spirit’s Mission after she was hit by a car and her injuries left untreated. Among her many injuries was a severely damaged leg, which made walking quite difficult.

We’re happy to report that not only is Poppy recovering well in her foster home, but she has improved enough to enjoy the snow and go for winter walks with her foster family. Here are some photos that her foster mom has shared with us.



Look at those ears! Poppy is a sweet dog and it warms our hearts to see her enjoying life the way a dog should.

Poppy still has a ways to go in her recovery – unsurprisingly given the extent of her original injuries, her knee does still give her some pain and she’ll be visiting the vet this week to find out what more can be done for her. We’re looking into getting her some massage treatments as well. We owe a big, big thank you to Willow at Crooked Leg Ranch for providing Poppy with an incredible foster home!

Thank you to everyone who has donated to help out with Poppy’s medical bills. She still has a ways to go before she’ll be ready for adoption, and your continued support is welcomed appreciated. We’ll keep you posted on Poppy’s ongoing recovery – follow us on Facebook or sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to stay up-to-date on stories like hers and other news from Spirit’s Mission.

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Thank you to everyone who came out for Santa Paws photos!

Yesterday we wrapped up our final of three Santa Paws photo sessions, and we want to send a huge THANK YOU to everyone who brought their pets out to visit Santa and get a photo. Thanks to your generosity and support, we raised an astonishing $1750! These funds will go a long way towards our work in northern BC, including helping dogs like Poppy, who we introduced you to last month.

Of course, an event like this doesn’t happen without some hard work, and we’d be remiss not to thank those who made this all possible. We’d like to first and foremost thank Ron and Karen Potter, our Santa & Elf, who not only organize the event, but also volunteer their time on three separate Saturdays. This  event wouldn’t happen without Ron and Karen, and we are so appreciative to have them as part of the Spirit’s Mission family.


This event also wouldn’t be possible without our volunteer photographers, who not only give up a Saturday in order to take the photos, but who also spend hours afterwards doing touch ups and editing work to make sure your pets look their best with Santa. Our deepest gratitude goes to Alice and Leroy from Summer & Co. Photography, Sue Williams, and Bill Brown. You can view some of the photos from this year’s sessions on our Facebook page.

To the staff at Bosley’s – thank you for welcoming us into your stores and for whole-heartedly embracing the spirit of the event by bringing your own pets in to see Santa! We can’t thank you enough for your hospitality, and the amazing goody bags you had prepared for participants!

Of course, we also have to give a shout out to our very special volunteers – the true elves of the season. They gave their time to help out at each photo session and also worked hard behind the scenes to ensure the event was a success.

And finally, thank YOU Nanaimo! Even with all the hard work of our volunteers, these events wouldn’t be successful without your participation, and you took our breath away with your support this year. Thank you for your concern for animals in need – it is your donations and generosity that make our life-saving work with animals in northern BC possible.

From our families to yours, we wish you joy this holiday season a a happy and healthy 2017!

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Making a difference with alternative gift giving

I dread the idea of shopping at Christmas.

As I get older, thinking about fighting the crowds and line ups at stores seems grueling. So is wondering how much to spend on each person’s gift, and hoping to find just the right item. Going to the mall to search for that perfect gift can take hours, if not days. It wears me down and by Christmas Day I can feel too exhausted to really enjoy the holiday spirit. And in my case, mailing gifts away to family and friends before the postal deadline is expensive and pretty stressful too. It just doesn’t seem to fit what the “giving” in Christmas represents. For me, there is a much deeper meaning than just exchanging gifts.

When I give a gift, I want it to mean something. I want whoever receives my gift to know that that gift made a difference in the world.

As my children got older, got married and had families of their own (families that are now growing up fast too!), they seemed to have everything they needed, which made buying gifts even harder.

So I started a new family gift-giving tradition. Instead of all the guessing what they might need, I “give” in their names, to those who need someone to make a difference in their life.

Have you considered this type of alternative gift giving? Did you know you can give this type of gift by donating to Spirit’s Mission? Every year, we are called upon to help animals with rescue, spay/neutering, vaccinations and other preventative health care. I know when I give to Spirit’s Mission, I am making a difference in an animal’s life. I am helping them to be safe. I am helping to give them the life they deserve.

And my family and friends love receiving the gift of knowing that, on their behalf, an animal’s life was saved.

Please consider helping an animal in your name, or someone else’s name, this Christmas. Any amount, however small, makes a difference. If you donate $20 or more, we will send you a tax deductible receipt. If you find it in your heart to give $50 or more, we will send you the tax deductible receipt and will also send a Certificate of Appreciation to the recipient you chose, with a handwritten note of thanks (acknowledging you as the gift giver) and a Pawsitive Links bracelet.

If you would like to make a tribute gift of $50 or more in honour of a loved one, for any occasion, please indicate the following information in the “Message for Spirit’s Mission” box on the CanadaHelps donation page:

  • Full name and address of recipient
  • Occasion for gift (Holidays, Birthday, Memoriam, etc)
  • Size of Pawsitive Links bracelet – available in 1/2 sizes from 6.5 (Child) to 9.5 inches

Donating to Spirit’s Mission means you are giving a gift that makes a difference. Let us take away the malls and line ups and do the mailing for you. It will help to ease some of the stress of the holidays for you, but also, you will have made a tangible difference in an animal’s life.

Seasons Greetings,

Joanne Caldwell
Spirit’s Mission Rescue Society

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