I have always had a soft spot for shelter medicine and animal welfare, so being able to participate on The Chinook Project was a very rewarding experience for me. I spent time working in Nain and Sheshatshiu, and each day, I seemed to get invested and attached to at least one of my patients. While setting up our clinic in the town fire station on our first night in Nain, we received word that one dog would be stopping by the clinic to be examined.
Furball was a small mixed breed dog who had been hit by a four-wheeler one week prior to our arrival. He was such a sweet little dog. His injury meant he could not bear weight on his right hind leg. We sedated Furball and did a complete orthopedic examination trying to determine the cause of his lameness, but we could not determine any source of the problem without taking some x-rays, to which, of course, we do not have access. We sent Furball home with some pain medication and a recommendation to have him sent to Goose Bay for x-rays.
Being the sweet little dog he was, I naturally became attached to him within the first few minutes of meeting him. We saw Furball on the Sunday evening and by Wednesday, I had to follow up with the owners to see if they were interested in sending Furball with us on the plane back to Goose Bay on Thursday. Although they chose not to send him with us and I am unsure if he ever made it to Goose Bay for x-rays, I often think of Furball and hope he is doing well and even though we could not help all the animals as much as we would have liked to, I still feel so privileged that we were able to help in whatever way we could – like giving Furball pain medication to make him more comfortable. I was lucky to see time and time again on The Chinook Project that lovable and happy yet stoic personality dogs often have. This strengthened my appreciation for dogs even more. I feel truly blessed to be in a career where I get to work with them everyday.