Our team arrived on a small plane landing between the mountains in the beautiful Bella Coola valley. This is where we were to volunteer our veterinary services for the next several days. We had been invited to this remote community by the Nuxalk Band Chief and two local community members concerned with pet overpopulation and health issues. It was our first time visiting this community so we did not know what to expect.
The community of Bella Coola was amazing! There were local people that spent months ahead of time working with CAAT to ensure they were ready for the team to arrive. It was very much a collaborative effort by everyone involved to make a difference to animal care in the valley. There were local volunteers lending our team a hand wherever it was needed during the entire project, doing laundry, providing lunches, helping hold pets in recovery, etc. Pet owners were willing to wait as long as it took to get their pets seen and there was not one complaint, they were just happy to have the opportunity. The team worked for 16 hours every day and were busy every single moment. One dog in particular, a long eared, very large teated, hound dog, had had a litter of 16 puppies a few weeks before our arrival. This was one litter of many over the past couple of year. Being able to give her a life without having to continue to have litter after litter was one example of what it is all about; providing a better life for that lovely girl and preventing a life of living as a stray for any future puppies that would struggle to find homes.
This community made it obvious that they were eager to do the right thing for their pets given the opportunity. It was an uplifting experience to see so many people that care so much about their pets to bring them in to have them spayed/neutered and vaccinated. They knew that, spaying and neutering and vaccinating were all ways to give them a better, healthier life.
The generosity of our Aeroplan donors to our charity account, made it possible to get our team of volunteers to Vancouver to make the flight up to Bella Coola. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!