Monday, September 06, 2010

BAKER LAKE, NUNAVUT, September 3-12, 2010. DAY ONE:

Baker Lake, Nunavut ,Canada


   CAAT's Arctic adventure to Baker Lake, Nunavut began with five British Columbia team members at the Vancouver International Airport.  After distributing our medical supplies amongst three hockey bags and one large suitcase and weighing all of the bags until they were approximately 50 pounds, our allowed baggage weight, we approached the Air Canada ticket counter for check-in for our flight to Winnipeg Manitoba. The ticket agent then informed us that our medical supply luggage was a few pounds over the fifty pound limit and we would have to pay a fee for each piece of luggage.  Our team leader, Donna, explained to her that we are a volunteer veterinary charity traveling to Nunavut at our own expense to run a free veterinary clinic for ten days.  She went and found her supervisor who came and looked over our bags and ended up waiving the fees on every bag.  One smaller duffel type bag she wanted us to carry on to the plane with us though and we readily agreed to do so.  We were so relieved!  After many expression of thanks and a big hug of gratitude from Donna, we started to go through Security.  As the duffel bag went through the x-ray scanner, we realized that when we had earlier distributed our medical supplies we had placed our surgical instrument packs  in  that bag.  We were quickly told by Security that  the bag needed to go back to the ticket counter and be checked in.  Our flight was due to leave in a little less than thirty minutes and we still had a long walk to our departure gate.  Dr Jen, being the hockey player she is and being the fittest of the bunch perhaps, sprinted back to the ticket counter, found the supervisor once more who promptly waived our extra bag fee and checked it on to the flight.  Jen raced back at a full sprint and boarded the plane with five minutes to spare.  Thank you Air Canada for not allowing the plane to depart until our fearless Dr. Jen was safe on board.  And a huge thank you to Air Canada for waiving our baggage fees and extra luggage.  I gained a new appreciation for Air Canada this evening.

 The Baker Lake Team arrived at various times throughout the evening at the Comfort Inn Airport Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Team members Kim Dunsdon (Registered Veterinary Technician - RVT), Laura Sutton (RVT) and Cynthia Rose ( 3rd year Veterinary Student, University of Guelph) flew in from Toronto, Dr. Elaine Murphy flew in from Calgary Alberta, Monica Fillmore (Registered Animal Health Technician -R.A.H.T.) flew in from Kelowna, BC, and Dr. Jennifer Buller (Errington BC), Barbara Ashmead (Assistant & dog wrangler extraordinaire from Qualicum Beach BC), Zoe Russell (R.A.H.T. from Ladysmith BC), Corinne Barker (Assistant and Head of Recovery area from Bowser BC) and Donna Lasser (R.A.H.T., Team Leader, from Hope BC) all arrived from Vancouver. Dr. Gina Bowen of Miami, Manitoba would join us the next morning at the Winnipeg Airport. We also have a "special" guest along on this trip by the name of "Archer", a nine month old black Lab-in- training in Barb's care (she is a puppy raiser/trainer for the BC Guide Dogs). After a "meet and greet" time, a short visit, and wake up and breakfast plans were made for the morning, we fell into our beds exhausted but excited for our far North experience to begin.

Archer having a "dog nap" on the flight


The Skipper said...

Are the veterinarians on this trip to Baker Lake licensed to practice veterinary medicine by the Government of Nunavut ?

Donna Lasser said...

Yes, our three veterinarians are licensed by the Government of Nunavut. They each had to pay a fee and fill out extensive paperwork, along with references, resumes, transcripts, etc. Each time we go to Nunavut to hold an Animal Wellness Clinic, our Veterinarians become licensed.


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