Saskatchewan First Nation Spay and Neuter Program
The mission of New Hope Dog Rescue (NHDR) is to provide a safe, foster-based environment for neglected and unwanted dogs, while promoting the human animal bond through education and community outreach. In April of 2017, NHDR was contacted by a front-line rescuer and community member requesting help with dog overpopulation in a Saskatchewan First Nation community. In an effort to help, NHDR accepted 52 dogs into foster care where they received love, training and medical care. Eventually these dogs went on to find permanent homes. Given the large number of dogs that NHDR received from this one community, we wanted to do more.
First Nations people rely on dogs for both protection and companionship. Many homes have smaller inside dogs as well as outdoor dogs to assist in keeping their homes safe. Many of these outdoor animals are not spayed or neutered and population sizes can quickly become unmanageable, resulting in unwanted puppies. These communities can also experience high rates of dog attacks, bites and other related injuries because of dog overpopulation.
In order to help solve the problem of dog overpopulation, a collaborative spay/neuter program has been developed and is administered by the community member, the band office and NHDR. As access to veterinary care is limited in the community, this program goes beyond spaying and neutering by providing needed basic veterinary care including microchipping, vaccination and other essential care (e.g. broken tooth removal). This program has reduced the number of roaming dogs, reduced dogs being injured or killed by cars and reduced the spread of disease by providing vaccinations.
How the program works:
The community member is in contact with dog owners in the community. She keeps records of all owned dogs as well as their owner’s information. She shares the information about the spay/neuter program with the owners in the community. If the owner chooses to have their dog(s) take part in the program, arrangements are made with a NHDR coordinator to book a spay/neuter appointment. A volunteer transports the dog(s) to a foster home in Saskatoon where they remain for 7-10 days. During that time, they are seen by a veterinarian, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and any other medical concerns are also addressed. After the surgery, dogs remain with the foster home until they are healed and then they are returned to their loving family.
NHDR acknowledges this long-term commitment with a goal to help reduce the overpopulation of dogs and unwanted litters, while also providing the necessary veterinary care for the dogs in the community. Additional support to the community is also provided by NHDR through contributions of dog food through NHDR’s food donation program. We will continue to assist the community with developing a formal dog management plan to help promote responsible dog ownership and continue to improve the animal human bond. NHDR’s vision is a society that cherishes the human animal bond and provides humane, compassionate and ethical treatment to all dogs. We recognize dogs are an integral part of society and the family unit. We demonstrate this through compassion, respect and advocacy for dogs and people. We recognize teamwork as the foundation of building trusting networks within Saskatchewan and demonstrate it through collaboration and cooperation.