Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels.  I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.  I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid.

As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage.  I didn't want her to know that I hadn't been walked today.  Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn't want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't feel sad about my past.  I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone's life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.  I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her.  Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship.

A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.  Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.  I would promise to keep her safe.  I would promise to always be by her side.  I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.   

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor.  So many more are out there who haven't walked the corridors.  So many more to be saved.

At least I could save one. I rescued a human today.

dog paws

Halfers:  'Hairy Halfers' is a rescue from our clinic last year.  After a big bath and haircut, she is comfy cozy in her forever home. Myth says that dogs with two different colour eyes can view heaven and earth at the same time.  Halfers is living heavenly and often accompanies her person to work...at a pet food facility!

Takoda:   This 2012 rescue is fondly referred to as 'movie star handsome' by his vet.  Who can dispute that?  Tak was rescued as a 5 month old pup and lives with his Bella, another Cat Lake rescue from 2010.  The two are inseparable and make for a dynamic duo chasing squirrels!  


dog paws

Frankie:  Look at those eyes and smile! Frankie came from a First Nation community a few years ago and was immediately fostered in Toronto.  City living wasn't for this high energy pup and fortunately, he found his new people quickly.  Frankie loves having a job, attends attends agility classes and lives for any outdoor activity with his folks!

Takoda:   This 2012 rescue is fondly referred to as 'movie star handsome' by his vet.  Who can dispute that?  Tak was rescued as a 5 month old pup and lives with his Bella, another Cat Lake rescue from 2010.  The two are inseparable and make for a dynamic duo chasing squirrels!  


The loss of a community dog added to the burden of grief. This focus group worked closely with the residents and Chief and Council to initiate programs with the hope that these dog culls would be not be necessary and community mental health would be enhanced.

A small group of veterinarians and support people from southern Ontario took an interest and volunteered for the first clinic in 2004.  These clinics were done in the remote Cat Lake community with all costs covered through fundraising and donations. Neuter/spay surgeries, immunizations and parasite control were offered free of charge to the owners of companion animals there.  Any sick or injured animals were treated, with some dogs coming out of the community for various reasons.  Relocating a dog is always done in consultation with the residents and Council to determine what is best for everyone.

These initial clinics were well attended and the benefits quickly became evident. There were fewer stray dogs, less packing and fighting over females in heat, fewer litters to contend with and disease transmission decreased. Healthy dogs are happy dogs and lead to healthy communities! A hands-on program was developed to help local children learn how to bathe, groom, make food and shelter for their pet, animal safety and basic animal behaviour. The goal was to to reinforce life and parenting skills through interacting with their companion animal. The end result is safer and healthy community.

Summer clinics continued at Cat Lake for over 10 years and the benefits grew. Once the dog population was under better control, dog culls were no longer necessary. A platform for animal care was developed through the yearly clinic model meaning residents were more able to participate in healthy relationships with their animals. Community members now communicate their concerns with us on an as needed basis, especially through social media. Friends of Animush has developed a relationship of trust which allows us to provide ongoing service to this and other remote communities facing similar challenges.

Word spread to nearby northern communities of our work and the communities’ success. What started in 2004 with Cat Lake and a handful of volunteers has now grown to 6 fly-in First Nation communities in northwestern Ontario and a multitude of vet and support teams. Logistics for these trips means a lot of planning but thanks to a committed group of volunteers both north and south, we have tremendous satisfaction knowing that the lives of people and dogs in remote northern Ontario communities is improving.  Happy dogs. Happy people!


"Never, never be afraid to do what’s right especially if the well being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way”.        Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.