Heather Chandler, AVC 2020, traveled to Nain and Natuashish in 2019 as one of the student participants on the Chinook Project. As part of the experience, the students craft various pieces of reflective writing.
One of the highlights of my experiences in Nain was my appointment(s) with Kalluk and his owner, Bensue Merkuratsuk. Kalluk was a lovely black lab whose Innutitut name means, “Thunder”. Kalluk came in for his wellness appointment to have a physical exam and to receive his vaccinations and deworming treatment. Bensue also wished to have his nails trimmed. We got talking while I examined Kalluk and in the excitement of the clinic, I forgot to trim his nails. After saying goodbye and starting on the next appointment, we received a phone call from Bensue who had just remembered the forgotten nail trim. “No problem”, Bensue said, she’d be back down shortly. When they arrived, Kalluk was much more tuned in than his previous visit and made no attempt to get out of his truck. At this point I decided to get outside of the clinic and trim Kalluk’s nails in the bed of the truck. Kalluk, in turn was much happier sitting with us enjoying the fresh air. I thanked Bensue for making the trip down (again) and asked if I could grab a picture of the two of them. She kindly agreed and gifted me one of my favourite pictures from the trip.
Although not a dramatic or particularly exciting story, this interaction was special to me. I loved being able to work around Kalluk’s hesitance to re-enter the fire hall, the opportunity to step outside during a busy clinic day and the time spent talking with Bensue. This is one of the special aspects of veterinary medicine, it can be taken almost anywhere, there is a need for it and it never fails to provide new opportunities for interactions with both people and animals.