The Fan Hitch   Volume 17, Number 4, September 2015

          Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog                                    
In This Issue....

From the Editor: The Statistics of Sharing

Fan Mail

Contaminated Water! Yet Another
Long-standing Debacle in Iqaluit

Searching for the Shelters of Stone

How to Loose a Husky Team

A New Home for the BAS Husky Memorial Bronze Statue

Historical and Climatic Prerequisites of the
Appearance of the Population of Sled Dogs of the
Shoreline of the Chukotka Peninsula

The Sledge Patrol documentary update
Major Virus Issues in Canada’s North and
Canine Parvovirus Infects Inuit Dogs in
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, 1978

A Decade of Service: The Chinook Project’s
2015 Labrador Animal Wellness Clinic

Inuk’s release in North America!

Book Review: Games of Survival: Traditional
Inuit Games for
Elementary Students

IMHO: The Presumption of Good Faith

Index: Volume 17, The Fan Hitch

Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch

Articles to download and print

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

Defining the Inuit Dog

Talk to The Fan Hitch

The Fan Hitch home page

Editor's/Publisher's Statement
Editor: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at:

The Fan Hitch
welcomes your letters, stories, comments and suggestions. The editorial staff reserves the right to edit submissions used for publication.

Contents of The Fan Hitch are protected by international copyright laws. No photo, drawing or text may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Webmasters please note: written consent is necessary before linking this site to yours! Please forward requests to Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Rd., Harwinton, Connecticut  06791, USA or

This site is dedicated to the Inuit Dog as well as related Inuit culture and traditions. It is also home to
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog.

The 2015 Chinook Project Labrador Team: (left to right) Pierre Charlebois, Dr. Chris McLaughlin,
Danielle Brown, Michelle Wells, Andrea Jack, Dr. John Ruffino, Jessica Eisnor, Mary-Claire Sanderson

A Decade of Service:
The Chinook Project’s 2015 Labrador Animal Wellness Clinic

by Marti Hopson, DVM
with Jessica Eisnor, veterinary student

The Chinook Project completed its tenth year of clinics in June 2015. As a charitable mobile veterinary service we have held 16 clinics in 10 different locations and seen over 1,400 animals. We have performed 728 spay and neuter surgeries. The project is run from the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) and has had 52 fourth year veterinary students from all over Canada and the US participate. Fifteen veterinarians and two veterinary technicians have led the clinics – hailing from Ontario, Quebec, North Carolina, Massachusetts, the Maritimes, Australia and New Zealand.
This summer, a team of five veterinary students, one veterinary technician and two veterinarians travelled to Natuashish, an Innu community in northern Labrador. This was our third visit to Natuashish (2010, 2011). Dr. Chris McLaughlin (AVC 2012) visited Natuashish as a Chinook student in 2011. Now, he was able to return as a veterinary teacher, taking time out of his busy schedule as he trains for an Emergency and Critical Care specialization in North Carolina. It is very special when students are able to return as mentors with the program. Dr. John Ruffino (AVC 2010) is another Atlantic Veterinary College graduate who joined us for a second year in a row leading the Chinook clinics. And it was the third trip for Andrea Jack, RVT, a technician at the AVC.

In Natuashish we were able to see 86 animals – 80 dogs and 6 cats. Forty-eight spays and neuters were performed in the four days of clinics held. We intended to go on to Sheshatshiu, another Innu community, but Mother Nature had other plans. The team was fogged in for a full four days, and never made it to the second location. Barely making it back to Goose bay to catch the return flights home, it showed us that no matter how well planned the Project is, we are at the mercy of the weather when visiting these remote fly-in communities.

The students are required to write about their experiences and the Chinook Project documents these in our blog. Here is an excerpt by Jessica Eisnor, about a special patient:

Jessica (AVC 2016) comforting “Chubby”, another stray dog, recovering from surgery.

Each and every patient is special and unique in its own right. However, every so often you encounter one who lights a spark inside you, one you know you'll never forget. For me, this patient was "Chubby".

Chubby was a local stray so lovingly named because she was perpetually pregnant. Her latest litter had arrived a mere six weeks previously. When she arrived at our clinic early one morning to be spayed and have quills removed from her muzzle I immediately became attached.

After performing the surgery and monitoring her recovery, I found myself spending every spare moment next to Chubby. From brushing out her winter coat to offering ear scratches, I couldn't get enough of this adorable, affectionate dog.

Alas, the clinic day came to an end and it was up to the team to return Chubby to her home base. Without a moment’s hesitation, she hopped into the front seat of the pick-up truck. There she sat, bright and alert, regally observing the passing scenery as we drove down the dusty roads. Upon arrival at her final destination and after much failed coaxing, Chubby's medium build frame was finally lifted from the front seat and lovingly placed on the sandy ground. There she lay nervously, quietly plotting how to make her way back into the vehicle and home with us.

As the truck slowly crept out of the driveway, I couldn't help but take one last look back at the dog who managed to steal my heart in a matter of minutes. Our eyes met and I could instantly feel tears welling in my eyes, ready to overflow at any moment. All I wanted was to give her a warm place to sleep for the night. Feeling helpless as we drove away, all I could do was hope Chubby would be alright.

On our walk to breakfast early the next morning, I caught a glimpse of a furry creature running our way, tail wagging and hind end wiggling. To my amazement, it was Chubby! She immediately flopped onto the ground, belly in the air, as if to say "look at my incision, it's healing beautifully and I feel great!" A wave of relief washed over me to know she had successfully recovered, her surgical incision was intact and she was in good spirits.

We are grateful to our sponsors: Zoetis, Boehringer-Ingelheim, Ann McCain Evans, the Rathlyn Foundation, Air Labrador and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. As always, we appreciate any support. Donations are tax deductible. Information on donating can be found at the Chinook Project’s website or by contacting: Dr. Alice Crook, Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PEI, C1A 4P3.
Return to top of page