Feline villagers at Lax Kw’alaams received some care over the weekend.
A group of volunteers with Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT) made the trip from Prince Rupert to the village where they held a series of spay and neuter clinics for the resident’s cats and dogs.
Dr. Nicole Jamieson is a vet with the Pacific Coast Veterinary Hospital in Prince Rupert and a Lax Kw’alaams band member who accompanied the group of 15 on the trip. She said it’s the first time she has been able to deliver veterinary services in her home village, something it sorely needs.
“This is something I’d always dreamed about giving back to the community there,” she said. “Vet services can be quite costly, and so in doing this, we were able to provide services that the people wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.”
CAAT is a volunteer driven program that began in 2005 in response to the need for animal care after Hurricane Katrina. It has since expanded to provide those same services for underserved Canadian communities.
Jamieson, alongside a team of vets, technicians, assistants and local volunteers, held three clinics where they completed 108 total animal visits, spaying and neutering 94 total cats and dogs in the process.
Jamieson said the village residents were grateful to have the services provided for them.
“A lot of the owners were so dedicated that they were able to follow their pet the entire way from intake, all the way through all of the stations, through induction and anesthesia,” she said. “A lot of the members actually watched the surgeries on their own pets and were there to dedicate themselves to the recovery of the animal coming out of anesthesia.”
Jamieson was also able to rescue an injured eagle in her time in the village.
“It was on one of the beaches,” she said. “It looked like it had been in a fight with another eagle, had fallen into the ocean and had to swim to shore. It was exhausted.”
The vets gave the eagle some fluids and allowed it to rest at the clinic overnight before releasing it safely into the wild.
Jamieson said being available to provide this care is critical as it not only helps to keep the local animal population healthy, but it also cuts down on the negative interactions that could take place due to lack of spaying or neutering.
CAAT will return to Lax Kw’alaams in the future if enough funding is raised, and if the community applies for another clinic.
“The team loved being there and loved that community,” she said.