Friday, September 01, 2006

NWT--Day 2

DAY TWO: Aug. 29,2006
Our day began at 6:30 am with a wonderful breakfast prepared by Doug, showers, organizing of medical supplies for the day, and with saying ‘see you soon’ to five of our team members – Ken, Corinne, Jennifer and Steve and Lorraine. This team boarded an Air Tindi flight to Lutsel K’e, a community of approximately 450 people on the eastern end of the Great Slave Lake. They will be spaying, neutering, deworming and vaccinating the dogs in this remote community for four days, and will then return and join the other six team members for the last two days of our stay in the north. And hopefully get some fishing in also.

The remaining six team members headed north 110 km to begin our first day of work in Rae-Edzo. We had our first glimpses of the NWT terrain – many rocks, short trees and numerous small lakes.

After a short tour of the town of approximately 1300 people and a quick lunch, we set up our clinic in the Public Works building, concrete floors surrounded by wall to wall tools and equipment. The workers were wonderful, bringing us anything we needed and asked for, such as tables, lights, paper towels, etc. Doug helped to round up dogs, both stray and owned, and brought them in to us one by one. We worked steadily for four hours and spayed/neutered/vaccinated/ dewormed/cleaned ears/trimmed nails on eleven dogs. All of the dogs received a long-acting antibiotic injection before surgery end and recovered smoothly and without complications. One of the dogs that we spayed had an upper molar which was so covered in tartar and so decayed that part of the gum was very inflamed and worn away. The tooth was slightly loose, but having no dental instruments with us, we looked around the garage we were working in for a pair of pliers to pull the tooth. The pliers kept on slipping off the tooth and so Doug picked up a pair of vice-grips and handed them to us. They did the trick! The tooth came out with all three roots amazingly intact. It is truly amazing what one can do if one gets creative and resourceful. We sutured up the empty socket and woke up the dog.

The highlight of the day was observing Barb suddenly come flying through the outside door, holding on to the collar of a large, black dog, and literally knocking the dog to the floor and smoothly landing on top of him, pinning him to the ground. He had been sedated outside and was just not willing to let his body give in to the sedation. We all cheered her rodeo-like approach to dog-wrangling. Quite impressive she was.

As we drove back to Yellowknife at the end of the day, over the extremely bumpy pavement, we observed one important fact - the yellow line down the middle of the highway isn’t there to divide the road; the drivers drive down the middle of the road and sometimes completely into the other lane. Only when they see a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction do they move over into their proper lane. It can be a little unnerving to experience this.

We have not been able to observe the Northern Lights as yet, due to the overcast conditions since we arrived on Monday evening. We have been told that on a clear night, they are quite beautiful and alive this time of year. We are all hoping to experience this before our time here is complete.

--Donna Lasser, Team Leader

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