Nicole Emery of Black Creek

Mushing north to the Yukon to help animals

Nicole Emery’s love of animals led her all the way to a small Yukon village last month

Nicole Emery’s love of animals led her all the way to a small Yukon village last month to help animals who don’t have access to medical care.

Emery ventured to Carmacks, Yukon, a town of about 400 people, for an animal wellness project with the Canadian Animal Assistance Team.

Emery, along with other members of her team, provided veterinarian services to animals who would normally have to travel more than two hours to the nearest veterinarian clinic.

The team set up a temporary animal hospital in the gym of the Carmacks community centre.

“We had two surgery tables, a vaccination area and a recovery area,” said Emery, a registered animal health technologist at Coastland Veterinary Hospital in Campbell River. “At the end of our trip we spayed and neutered 75 pets – mostly dogs – and vaccinated over 170. This number still amazes me. A regular vet clinic might have four surgeries in one day and we did 75 in three and a half days.”

Emery and her team also focused on deworming animals plus provided any other treatments needed.

“A couple of dogs had broken teeth and we were able to take them out for them,” Emery said. “One dog came in that was possibly attacked by a grizzly bear and needed to be put to sleep and we could do that.

“But mostly it was a population control issue and getting as many animals spayed and neutered as possible.”

The team included two veterinarians, six technologists and one assistant who not only provided medical care, but taught some of the kids how to teach their dogs to do tricks and create a special bond with their pet.

The Canadian Animal Assistance Team is a group of veterinary professionals concerned about animal welfare and dedicated to providing veterinary medicine and humane education for needy animals around the world.

The non-profit organization was founded in Vancouver in the wake of Hurricane Katrina when the team sent 82 veterinarians and technologists to Louisiana in September and October 2005 to aid in the rescue of thousands of animals displaced by the disaster.

Emery recently joined the group with the trip to Carmacks being her first as a member of the team. She hopes next year to return to Carmacks and pay a visit to Ucluelet which has expressed interest in having the team come out.

Emery said her first experience as part of the Animal Assistance Team was amazing, due largely in part to the generosity of the community.

“Someone moved out of their house for a few days so we could move in,” Emery said. “I was humbled by the kindness and generosity shown to the Canadian Animal Assistance Team members by the Carmacks community. Every day individuals from the community would stay and help us, including an 11-year-old girl who came every day to assist us.”

She said her biggest surprise on the trip was the size of the dogs she attended to.

“I guess I just assumed there would be a lot of big husky dogs, being way up in the Yukon but that wasn’t the case, most of the dogs were small,” Emery said with laugh.

“I believe that our work will significantly help the pet populations in Carmacks. We hope to go back again next year and continue our work, which will also include an educational portion for children and adults about animal care and training.”

To learn more about the Canadian Animal Assistance Team or to donate to the organization visit: www.caat-canada.org