FEBRUARY 12, 2020
Our hearts were broken when we first saw a photo of this sweet young pup. She is from Northern BC, and was attacked by a pack of free roaming dogs. This resulted in her having extensive injuries and her front leg will need to be amputated. The cost will be between $800-$1,000. We were asked to help and we couldn’t say no. With this surgery, this pup will be able to lead a wonderful life. Welcome to Spirit’s Mission, little one. We will make sure you are well looked after.
If you are able to help with the vet costs for this sweetie, donations are gladly accepted. Any donation will go straight to her care.
She has a long road to recovery, so she is not available for adoption at this time.
JANUARY 30/31, 2020
We went to Calgary to liaise with leading northern dog rescue groups and to take a Managing Dogs in First Nations Communities workshop. As an organization, we have traveled far and wide to learn best practices to work with Indigenous Communities. Our leaders have national and international experience for sustainable dog population management in Indigenous Communities. We have learned that communities are separate and unique and our approach needs to be customized to each community.
JANUARY 6, 2020
Sustainable Animal Wellness in Remote and Under-Served Communities
SPIRIT’S MISSION RESCUE SOCIETY
The call came from Bella Bella just after Christmas in 2012. A pup had been immersed in gasoline and needed help.
Within a few shorts hours this little girl was delivered to Spirit’s Mission’s founder. A wee little face filled with sadness and despair. She was named Spirit because she was a fighter. Her tummy rumbled from lack of food and her rear legs wobbled back and forth. There was no steady gate on this little one and no playful antics of a well-loved pup. The first seizure hit a few hours after little Spirit was rescued.
On New Year’s Eve, all the love and medical miracles could not save little Spirit. She was overcome with a massive seizure, was unconscious and experienced additional seizures on the frantic five-minute drive to the vet’s office. As the vet approached, the tears flowed. Spirit had distemper and did not have a fighting chance. This puppy survived being immersed in gasoline, but died of distemper. A $10 vaccination could have saved her had there been regular vaccination of dogs.
From this tragic story Spirit’s Mission Rescue Society evolved and is a registered, non-profit charity. Since then, they have helped hundreds of animals in isolated and under-served locations focusing on Indigenous communities that want change towards healthy companion animal populations.
At the end of 2018 and into 2019, the Spirit’s Mission Board of Directors realized that even though they were providing an essential service, the work wasn’t sustainable. Animals continued need help after they left communities. How could the community be supported to care for the animals after Spirit’s Mission left?
“The Board needed to learn how to bring tools for sustainable change to these communities. We realized the service we were providing did not address the root cause of why so many animals needed help. We were just providing a ‘band-aid’ approach for people and animals, who deserve much more”, says Kerri-Lynne Wilson, Vice-President of Spirit’s Mission Rescue Society.
The Board started talking to the leaders of successful provincial, national and international animal welfare organizations. These are the “movers and shakers” that are making sustainable changes in animal welfare. The Board worked for a year researching how to identify root causes and learned best practices to sustain animal welfare in Indigenous communities. They took formal training and worked with their partner communities to gain a deeper understanding of cultures. Their research and collaborations were put together to design a workable program for sustainable change. The result was the new Spirit’s Mission’s Animal Care Program, designed to provide the best possible animal welfare/management sustainability program tailored for each community.
This program is a first for BC and one of the first in Canada. “At present, there is a huge gap that exists in the way companion animal rescues have been dealing with animal management issues. Most rescues are busy, under-funded, overextended and overwhelmed with vaccinating, deworming, removing and rehoming strays/unwanted animals, and sterilizing pets”, says Wilson. “This is vital and crucial work but it isn’t solving the root cause of why these issues exist in the first place. This is where Spirit’s Mission is focusing”.
Partnerships with other rescues who are working within isolated and under-served Indigenous communities are very important. Typically, these communities are in Northern, BC. Spirit’s Mission is hosting an upcoming animal rescue meeting in Northern BC to collaborate and form partnerships.
“When a community is ready, willing, and wants to partner with us to implement jointly-created sustainable programs, we are here to share tools and resources. Responsible companion animal management resides with the Chief and Band Council within each community. “In the end, we take direction from the Chief and Band Council. We are their guests”, says Wilson.
Spirit’s Mission has partnered with Saik’uz First Nation which is located in Northern BC, southwest of Vanderhoof. They are the first community in BC to start using this program. Spirit’s Mission is also in the initial stages of working with another Northern BC community to potentially deliver this program. This past summer they also provided animal health services to 84 cats in Tsah’alh, a community northwest of Lillooet. “Our best references come from the communities we have worked with and learned with,” Wilson adds. “This is about helping people to help animals”.
Spirit’s Mission’s Animal Care Program is a comprehensive, culturally appropriate and humane animal management program. Joint partnerships with communities’ help create and continuously improve on the program so it can be shared successfully in other communities. This is the cornerstone of sustainable animal welfare.
Interested communities are welcome to ask questions to determine if the program can work for them. Spirit’s Mission Rescue Society can be reached at email@example.com
We haven’t sent out a newsletter since last year however we have been working very hard. We are moving towards sustainable animal management plans for the communities and animals we serve.
We spent time this Spring with experts in sustainable animal management plans and First Nations that were developed for under-served, isolated and/or remote communities. We learned, reflected, and reviewed what we have accomplished in these communities. Our work helps communities gain control of their companion animal problems through spay/neutering, wellness clinics and education, but we need our work to be sustainable.
How do we make sure our work is sustainable? We don’t. Communities do. We are developing a workshop to share our findings with other reputable rescue organizations and communities, as a foundation for animal wellness sustainability. We have been successful in securing funding to continue our research and share this information wherever it is needed. We will also be presenting an overview of our work at the Animal Welfare Advisory Network of BC in October, 2019.
Our new ‘tag line’ is “Supporting Communities and Their Animals”. We had many discussions on how to capture our values and work in short, concise words. We are not successful unless we support communities to support their animals. This is the basis of animal wellness sustainability.
While our contract work with Saik’uz First Nations is completed, we will be going back into the community to work with them towards sustaining their healthy pet population after five years of partnership with us. When we did an exit survey there, we were overwhelmed with the comments from residents as to what positive changes have occurred with their animal relationships and our work. More to come!
We are also starting to work with Tsal’alh First Nations, which is situated 1.5 hours from Lilloett. We are starting with spay/neuter services to control their cat population. We also have several communities in BC where we may potentially start working with.
Meanwhile, our Strategic Plan will be updated to reflect all the growth we have experienced over the past five years and what specific project steps we need to take next.
We have also simplified and streamlined Membership with Spirit’s Mission Rescue. We are now offering individual memberships for $15.00 per year, and $25.00 per family. Stay tuned to our Facebook Page Spirit’s Missionfor details on how to apply.
We are entering an exciting time in sustainable animal welfare in isolated communities. We are proud to be the first registered charity in BC working directly with the International Federation of Animal Welfare. Their programs help communities find ways to manage their dog populations humanely and sustainably.
Joanne Caldwell, President