After two busy days of travelling from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to Ottawa, Ontario, the Chinook Team boarded the final plane that would take us to Iqaluit, Nunavut. After a delicious hot meal and beverage provided by First Air, I decided to review my surgery notes to ensure I was prepared for the quickly approaching clinic days.
Before I knew it, the aircraft was descending into Iqaluit, and I quickly shifted my attention from my notes to the plane window. The scenery that will be forever etched into my memory took me aback: the gently rolling hills, with rocky outcrops and snow-covered tundra valleys, was breath taking. I could also see several small bodies of frozen water and a partially frozen river, with snow covered banks. As I analyzed the landscape, learning every detail, I felt a ball of excitement rise from my stomach and work its way into my heart. It caused tears to well up in my eyes, and then the realization hit: I was part of the Chinook Project and the next week was going to be an incredible, life-changing experience.
I remembered first learning about the Chinook Project when I started classes at the Atlantic Veterinary College, and I was so excited for the amazing opportunities it presented. I always hoped to be a part of the project, but I knew it was a very competitive application process and only a handful of students were selected. I was fortunate to have been chosen, and as I stared out the tiny oval plane window I realized a wish had been heard and a dream was about to come true.
Therefore, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge and thank the many people who helped make a dream my reality.
- Iqaluit Humane Society – A special thank you to Janelle Kennedy (Executive Director), Heather Crowley (volunteer and Board Member), and all the staff at the humane society. You are the reason the Chinook Project was able to travel to Iqaluit to provide free veterinary services to Northern pets in need. Thank you for organizing and promoting the clinic to ensure the week was successful.
- Marti Hopson – Thank you for working tirelessly year round to ensure everything ran smoothly while we were on site at the Abe Okpik Community Hall. You are the backbone of this project and its success is a direct reflection of your hard work.
- Dr. Alison Pollard and Dr. Katie MacDonald – You both were wonderful mentors! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and helping the students and I refine our surgical skills.
- Jane Magrath – One of the original coordinators of the Chinook Project; thank you for helping with the student writing assignments. Lisa Miller- another original coordinator, for your organizing help.
- The Volunteers – This project would not have functioned without all the volunteers. They provided housing, cooked delicious meals, and helped with monitoring and recovering of surgery patients. Their enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge was refreshing and added to the overall experience. Thank you!
- My Classmates (Vanessa, Mila, and Dionne) – I couldn’t have asked for a better group of students to share this experience with. Although we didn’t know each other well, we worked together flawlessly, and I really enjoyed spending time with each of you. Thanks for being awesome and making this trip unforgettable.
- Courtney Cross – Thank you for opening your home to four strangers. We really enjoyed getting to know you, Tucker, and Pixie.
Nicolle Davis, AVC 2017, traveled to Iqaluit in 2016 as one of the student participants on the Chinook Project. As part of the experience, the students craft various pieces of reflective writing. This is one of Nicolle’s pieces.