The Fan Hitch   Volume 18, Number 4, September 2016

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

From the Editor

Passage - Siu-Ling Han

Passage - Benson E. Ginsburg

Building & Testing Astrup's Dog Sled

The Arctic Nomads Project

Zacharias Kunuk’s Latest Film

The Chinook Project’s 2016 Wellness Clinics in Canada’s North

Canadian Inuit Dogs I have owned, raised and trained: a photo essay; Part 4

Book Review: Padlei Diary

Index: Volume 18, 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

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Editor: Sue Hamilton
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l to r: Liz Byers, Dr. Heather Gunn MacQuillan, Dr. Becky Jackson Inkpen,
Alison Reindel and Chris Dominic setting up the clinic in Nain
                                                                   Courtesy of The Chinook Project

The Chinook Project’s 2016 Wellness Clinics in Canada’s North

by Marti Hopson and Lisa Miller

2016 marked the eleventh year of clinics for the Chinook Project. Since 2006 we have travelled to Canada’s North to bring free veterinary care to remote places. Working with the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown), teams of veterinarians and veterinary students provide spay/neuter and other surgeries, vaccinations, deworming and other medical care to the dogs (and cats) in the communities we visit.

This year, we took on our biggest challenge to date. Two separate teams visited two locations in Labrador and one in Nunavut. In May the first team visited Nain, Labrador. Drs. Peter Foley and Heather Gunn McQuillan of AVC, and Dr. Rebecca Jackson Inkpen of Goose Bay, NL and 4th year veterinary students Elizabeth Byers, Christopher Dominic, Michelle Gorayeb, Kelsey Harding and Alison Reindel spent four clinic days seeing primarily dogs but also a few cats. Seventy-seven medical appointments and twenty-nine surgeries were completed for a total of 106 animal visits to the clinic.

Labrador team on a hike after finishing clinic. Standing: Dr. Rebcca Jackson,
Alison Reindel, Dr. Heather Gunn MacQuillan, Michelle Goyareb, Chris Dominic.
Seated: Liz Byers, Kelsey Harding, Dr. Peter Foley
                                                                       Courtesy of The Chinook Project

Next, the team travelled to Sheshatshiu, Labrador where veterinarians Dr. Marti Hopson, AVC, and Dr. Carrie Lavers Kensington, PEI, joined Dr. Foley and the students. In four days of clinics in this Innu community, forty-seven surgeries were completed and seventy medical appointments were seen. This brought the total number of animal visits in Labrador to 223. The team worked fifteen hours or more each day.  With travelling, unpacking, setting up and repacking at two sites, the team returned exhausted but excited and happy with all that was learned and accomplished.
With just ten days to turn the clinic around, Dr. Hopson managed to unpack, restock and ship everything through Ottawa to Iqaluit, Nunavut, the final 2016 clinic. This second team was comprised of two Chinook student alumni, Dr. Katie Lee MacDonald, who participated in a Chinook trip as a student in 2010 and now works in Ottawa, and Dr. Alison Pollard, who was one of the first Chinook students in 2006 and now practices in Nova Scotia. They joined Dr. Marti Hopson and four veterinary students: Vanessa Gerber, Mila Profit, Nicolle Davis and Dionne Paine to travel to Iqaluit. The Chinook Project was hosted as a pilot project by the Iqaluit Humane Society, which arranged transportation, a location for the clinic, volunteer help plus food and accommodation as well. 

Kelsey Harding (l) and Alison Reindel (r) performing and
monitoring surgery in Sheshatshiu
                                        Courtesy of The Chinook Project

Setting up in a community centre, the team spent just four and-a-half days running clinics. This was our first clinic in Iqaluit and the first trip to Nunavut since 2009. The total number of ovariohysterectomies and castrations tallied sixty-two, and eighty-five medical appointments were seen for a total of 147 patient visits. The Chinook Project saw 370 patients in the North pass through its clinics this year.

The impact not only on individual animals’ lives, but also on the student experience can be profound. Here is an excerpt from one of the blog posts by Vanessa Gerber, who travelled to Iqaluit:

“By the third day, it simultaneously felt as though we had been there five months and also just five minutes. It was the height of our daily surgery numbers, with seventeen performed that day.  I was the most tired I had been yet on the trip, but we marched on full force; it was the only reasonable pace at the clinic.  As I rotated from performing surgery to anesthesia and back again, I marvelled at the pace and efficiency we had all developed as a team and as individuals.  Things we fretted over and sweated about being graded on in the past, we were now performing with ease, collectively as a well-oiled machine at this point.

Boarding the plane home I thought about the community we were leaving behind and how they could not have provided a kinder environment for a student veterinarian. Every person who brought their animal to the clinic was simply grateful. I was thanked several times profusely once for a brief physical exam and vaccine. Perplexed as I was, later that day I reflected on how much veterinary care meant to the people here, and I reminded myself to retain that value, to remember it, to give me purpose in the moments that I will need it.”

For more information, please visit The Chinook Project or follow us on Facebook.

Team in Iqaluit.
Back: Vanessa Gerber, Mila Profit, Nicolle Davis, Dionne Paine.

Front: Drs. Katie Lee, Marti Hopson, Dr. Alison Pollard
                                                              Courtesy of The Chinook Project
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