Nunatsiaq News
FEATURES: Iqaluit February 01, 2018 - 1:30 pm

Many furry patients at Iqaluit’s pop-up animal clinic

“In one day that’s quite spectacular"

This somewhat rattled little dog named Tootsie is ready to go home after “getting fixed” along with his dog siblings, Rocky and Chunky, during a free vet clinic in Iqaluit, Jan. 31. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
This somewhat rattled little dog named Tootsie is ready to go home after “getting fixed” along with his dog siblings, Rocky and Chunky, during a free vet clinic in Iqaluit, Jan. 31. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Vets work on a male dog during a free vet clinic at the Roman Catholic parish hall in Iqaluit, Jan. 31. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Vets work on a male dog during a free vet clinic at the Roman Catholic parish hall in Iqaluit, Jan. 31. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Holly Eegeesiak with her dog Cody, who is waiting for vaccinations at a free vet clinic in Iqaluit, Jan. 31. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Holly Eegeesiak with her dog Cody, who is waiting for vaccinations at a free vet clinic in Iqaluit, Jan. 31. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

Pet carriers full of furry patients line the floor of Iqaluit’s Roman Catholic parish hall where a makeshift animal hospital is set up this week. 

The Iqaluit Humane Society said earlier this month it expected around 80 families to access free vet services at its five-day clinic. But on day one alone, 88 Iqaluit pets received veterinary care. 

“In one day that’s quite spectacular,” said humane society president Janelle Kennedy.

The free clinic runs until Friday, Feb. 2.

There are two veterinarians and two veterinarian technicians working at the pop-up animal clinic, paid for with charitable funding—and a fair number of donated flight points—applied for by the Iqaluit Humane Society.

While pet owners are now lining up for walk-in and prearranged appointments, the free clinics caused a stir in the community after they were announced a few weeks ago. 

At a recent city council meeting, Iqaluit vet Leia Cunningham said the clinics were threatening the success of her self-built business, NunaVet, which is Nunavut’s only animal hospital.

But Kennedy said in an interview on Wednesday, Jan. 31, that free clinics done in areas where there is low veterinary intake have been proven to increase public use of paid vet services, because the clinics educate pet owners about the benefits of veterinary care.

“Usually in the years following [a free clinic] there is an increase in the use of paid vet services,” she said. “It introduces veterinary care to people who wouldn’t normally access it.”

Lots of the dogs receiving care this week are animals that currently live at the shelter and are in need of homes.

And some dogs coming in for spay and neuter surgeries are animals that have had litters of puppies that were taken in by the shelter in the past. These surgeries mean that those dogs won’t have more litters that would require aid from the humane society, Kennedy said.

The clinics are open to everyone in the community, but are targeted at families who couldn’t otherwise afford veterinarian services, or who find vet bills to be a burden.

But Kennedy said it’s not in the society’s purview to say who should and who shouldn’t access the clinic.

“We have a no-judgment policy,” she said, adding that it’s not uncommon in Nunavut for a single salary to be supporting a large household.

“You might not have money left over for the dog or the cat.” 

Besides creating access to affordable vet care, the clinics providing free spay and neuter services help curb an overpopulation of dogs in the city.

“They’re not something you do every year, you try and address overpopulation issues in other ways, but it does have a dramatic impact to, every once in awhile, address the problem like this,” Kennedy said of the spay and neuter services. 

Since the temporary clinics can’t offer all vet services, the society is referring people to NunaVet.

The humane society offered a similar clinic in Igloolik last year and has plans to host clinics in Pond Inlet and Cape Dorset soon.

Kennedy said the humane society would like to work towards an SPCA model, but with no government funding and limited legislation in Nunavut on the treatment of animals, that transition isn’t likely to happen any time soon.

“It’s going to be a long road to get there,” she said. 

Kennedy thanked members of the public for bringing donations of food and supplies and for volunteering their time to help with the clinic.

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(22) Comments:

#1. Posted by Zoey thanks you on February 01, 2018

Wow! we really appreciate what these wonderful people have done. Thanks to the vets, technicians and the helpers and a big thank you to IHS. Zoey is recovering well from her surgery.

#2. Posted by yeah right on February 01, 2018

OK Nunatsiaq News - please be sure to post the final numbers - all of the surgeries, all of the vaccinations given in total over the length of the free clinic, so all of Iqaluit can have a better understanding on just HOW MUCH this free clinic has HURT Nunavet. Ever single one of those counts as an appt that will not be booked at Nunavet. Everybody needs to know these numbers so they can understand their role in Nunavet having to declare bankruptcy and close the only veterinary service in all of Nunavut. As for Janelle Kennedy - I’m calling BS on your comments. It is ABSOLUTELY the place of the IHS to determine who qualifies for free clinic service. This is done by humane societies and charities across the country. Kennedy also says: “Usually in the years following [a free clinic] there is an increase in the use of paid vet services. It introduces veterinary care to people who wouldn’t normally access it.” I call B.S. on that too. You are all shooting yourselves in the foot.

#3. Posted by yepper on February 01, 2018

I agree with #2

#4. Posted by Whiney McWhine on February 01, 2018

I presume poster #2 is against the Iqaluit Beer and Wine Store since it impacts the revenues of some local bars and the same poster would shut down the NNC program to subsidize shipping on perishable, healthy foods because it impacts the local grocery stores’ revenues (even though the Northern shareholders stood, applauded and cheered for 15 minutes when the NNC was announced)?
I just cared for a 12 year old ailing dog at several private, southern vet clinics…it ain’t cheap.
Nunavet is operated out of a private residence (if my understanding is correct) so she gets relief from local business/property taxes and water-sewage rates and has the benefit of not needing to pay for transportation to and from work, so…stop the whining?

#5. Posted by yeah right on February 01, 2018

#4 you must just like the sound of your own voice. You are missing the point entirely. As a responsible pet owner, I made the decision to move to Iqaluit after finding out that I would have access to a local vet. I would not want to be a pet owner in Iqaluit without one. The IHS should be limiting free clinic services to low or no income families only. Period.

#6. Posted by needed on February 01, 2018

# 4, Your understanding is not correct. This is a service that no community in Nunavut has ever had before. There was no vet. Do you remember that? Were you here during those years? No vet in Canada wants to practice here. Not one. Except Dr. Cunningham, who also happens to be from here. Why make it harder for someone who is willing to sacrifice a great deal to provide a needed, regular, ongoing service in Iqaluit? Please do not compare this service to the profits that come from a booze store and bars, or huge businesses like the Northwest company and Co-op. Not the same. At all.

#7. Posted by Make Iqaluit Great Again on February 01, 2018

You tell them #2. I totally agree. Next up let’s close down that evil Soup Kitchen. Each free bowl of soup is a meal that our beloved Snack could have sold. Shame! And the Library can suck it too. How many book sales has Nunavut’s only Arctic Ventures lost because the library asshats are just giving books away for free? And the homeless Shelter might be the worst. I can’t even imagine how much hotel profits and rental income have been lost because the Shelter is just willy nilly giving away beds like a jerk. It’s time we fight back against these not for profits and volunteer groups that are killing the econony. Come on #2 let’s you and me shut them all down!

#8. Posted by Just FYI on February 01, 2018

Poster #6 writes “Do you remember that?” Well, yes, I do as I have lived with dogs essentially the entire time since I relocated to Nunavut permanently in 1992. I “remember” the (BPO Elks sponsored?) Baker Animal Hospital clinics in the nineties and I also remember Iqaluit having a vet working here in that time. The vet’s name escapes me but since I kept my records throughout that time, I’ll do a quick search and post the info here. I also “remember” MDs at OPD treating pets in emergencies and bought my first dog sled from Sandy McDonald about 20 years ago.

#9. Posted by Iqaluit pet owner on February 01, 2018

I love how many people are supporting Nunavet. Yes, it’s nice that we have a vet in town. However, if you want statistics on how much this free clinic has cost them, then please provide stats for the following:
1. The cost of a regular visit for a pet that has never been there before and therefore HAS to get all the requisite shots because Nunavet couldnt provide the previous records from the Rotary club visits that paved her way to becoming an independent business owner.
2. The cost of vaccinations per dose, per type whether or not the pet needs it or is high risk for the illnesses that Nunavet says they protect the pets from.
3. The cost of having to send a pet South because Nunavet was closed unexpectedly,
4. The cost of pets being shipped South because families had too many litters because Nunavet couldnt schedule them in to get their animals fixed.

So tell me…. if Nunavet is sooooooo busy that the wait times for pets is weeks long, how are they still claiming to go bankrupt?

#10. Posted by Between Two Worlds on February 01, 2018

You Whiney Acehole @ 4 - Your argument has no merit to this article.  From my experience, animals up here are roughly treated as animals - meaning; they are not human, have no human emotion, (well, for some who have had dogs & cats & treated them as humans from the time they can remember, that is different - and a freak of nature by most -up here). 
Subsidies are appreciated, beer & wine store finally opened & applauded (we are so much closer being called “Canadian” - except in the south they don’t need to round us like cattle & demand identification to purchase “booze”.
Finally, it is to each pet owner how long you want to pet to live or suffer as long you want them around & when do you decide, enough is enough?

#11. Posted by North Baffiner on February 01, 2018

#9 seriously sounds like Janelle, whomever she is. I dislike humane societies solely on that pretext. They treat these mutts during these sessions better than they do the so-called poor people who they purport to represent in their agrarian ideals…nary an understanding of anything this Inuk dislikes… SOUTHERN PATERNALISM and your *&^KEN “I know better” attitudes.
Seriously, until that attitude disappears from our southern immigrants, soon they will have no other place to call home… Their world is crumbling, these Western liberalism fanatics… watch a real empire that hates Communism come to fruition over the next few years while America dies. Communism has already won in the Western hemisphere…a 3 dressed up as 9. Communism’s every ideal is now the “POLICY” of Trudeau’s “Only Pro-Choice” party.

#12. Posted by Short on February 02, 2018

#8, so that’s a yes then?
You seem to have missed yet another poster’s point. Enjoy having the last word though. You won’t be able to resist smile

#13. Posted by Clear Demand on February 02, 2018

The massive volume of patrons for the pop-up clinic make it clear a lot of animals were in need.

Since they’re now getting the attention they deserve, how is this anything but a good news story?

#14. Posted by Adrienne on February 02, 2018

I’d just like to extend a great bit Thank you to Janelle and all of the wonderful volunteers at the Iqaluit Humane Society. As a pet owner, it is a comfort to know that we have a vet here in town. As a humane animal lover, it is heart-warming to see this small band of incredibly hard-working volunteers working to stem animal over-population and save unwanted and un-cared for dogs from a slow death of starvation or exposure. Thank you!

#15. Posted by Ripley on February 02, 2018

IHS…..keep doing what you are doing. This much needed service is focused on the animals and their health.
#9….great information and questions. NunaVet, just because you have a business it doesn’t mean you know how to run a business. Bankruptcy for business is high for all new businesses. This is a risk and a fact!  ....and you may not even be a great vet.

#16. Posted by Iqaluit on February 02, 2018

#11 - Thank you for the complement, but no, I am not Janelle. However, you sound incredible knowledgabl about what’s going on around here and the Southern Paternalism that you are against.

Take a chill pill. This isnt about politics… this is about caring for pets when the care is available. Go on Rant and Rave and spout your nonsense there.

#17. Posted by Pet owner and healthcare professional on February 02, 2018

#15, Dr. Cunningham is actually a great vet. She is an especially good surgeon. She is an incredibly hard worker too.  She has sacrificed a great deal to practice here, including her health. She has made special efforts to help my dog, even though she was in a great deal of pain. I’m grateful for that. Thanks Leia. I hope you know that you are valued.

#18. Posted by Tiny Rick on February 02, 2018

Why don’t the IHS and the vet work together? I mean if there a skilled people at both locations who are capable of providing these services, wouldn’t it make sense to band together for their cause instead of going back and forth complaining about each other? if only eh?

#19. Posted by Pet owner on February 02, 2018

#17 and #15 and others - I concur that Leia is a great vet and contributes much to our community by providing her services. As a pet owner (of several animals), my family uses her frequently and we are grateful that she is in town to treat our animals. Yes, she is not available 24/7 - but no one person could be. Yes, she has been sick sometimes and the clinic has to close or operate without her - but who out there hasn’t been sick. It is distressing and awful that some posters feel they can comment, anonymously, and resort to stating personal-attack opinions that are extremely judgmental.

#20. Posted by AKL on February 02, 2018

Thank you so much for all your hard work IHS and the veterinarians that volunteered their time to come up!
While our family doesn’t have pets its easy to see the real need for IHS in our community. There would be hundreds of homeless dogs and puppies. This clinic benefits everyone. I know a lot of families with pets who can not afford to fix their dogs, but at the same time take good care of them.

Anyone who sees this as anything but a benefit for our community has an ulterior motive and it’s very obvious who is writing the anti- IHS comments, however you are pointing your anger in the wrong direction…  if your business isn’t doing well it is surely not because an animal shelter runs a free clinic every couple years to help those in need. Who in the world would be against an animal shelter helping animals, people looking after their pets, and helping keep the city we all live in a cleaner, safer place with less strays?

#21. Posted by Harry on February 03, 2018

I hope they invite (The Incredible Doctor Pol) from the TV series National Geographic program ???

#22. Posted by Kanik on February 09, 2018

Humane society has always been and always will be a bunch of high grossing Salary GN employees with a hobby. They cater only to boost their ego.
It’s convenient how they leave out about the number of dogs sent south that had owners but they were refused to be handed back to their owners.
Why don’t they utilize our vet services? Because they have in the past and chose to not pay their balances on time. So when they parted ways they decided to offer free vet services. Seems very much like they want to force the vet out of a job and possibly everything she has invested her life in. Over a bunch of passionate hobbiests who are elitests

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