We all held our breath, willing the plane to land. It was our third attempt at getting into Pangirtung, Nunavut (Pang). The first two attempts had been unsuccessful due to foggy conditions and we had to turn back to Iqaluit to wait it out.
This time, it was a beautiful, clear day and as we flew in we realized why it was so tricky to land. Water and mountains surrounded the remote Inuit hamlet and the dirt airstrip runs through the middle of the community! The landing gear went down and we started to descend (as we had the first two days) but this time, we were successful! We all cheered when the wheels touched the ground and we were finally in Pang!
The Canadian Animal Assistance Team is a volunteer veterinary organization that is a registered Canadian charity. Our goal is to go to remote and under-served communities that want to make a difference in animal welfare and population control but don't have many options. We had come to Pang to provide services to people who wanted to make a change.
We immediatetly unloaded all our gear and started to set up our temporary veterinary hospital in the airport garage. The people in the community were very happy to have the opportunity to have their pets spayed and neutered and vaccinated. They were steadily coming in the door on the first morning to make sure their pet was able to be seen.
We were happy to see that participation in our humane education initiative, to connect with kids in the community while we were there, was outstanding! We had at least 100 children through our clinic. Dr. Joan put on her educator hat and took the groups through surgery and recovery and explained the importance of spay and neuter and explained what vets and techs do. The teachers loved it and the kids were mesmerized!
The people we met over our time in Pang were wonderful to us. They brought their pets to try to make a difference in the life of their pet as well as make a difference in the stray population in the community. They talked to us about their concerns with strays, with having to care for litter after litter, with rabies risks, etc.
After successfully completing our clinic, we packed up all our equipment and said goodbye to new friends, and to Pang, for now. It was quite evident that the Pang Hamlet want to be involved in animal welfare and is very supportive of our work. This community deserves our attention and our care and we hope to go back to continue to help them make a difference.
Thank you to all our Aeroplan donors who helped to make getting to this remote community possible. Without the member donation program, we would never have been able to do it! You helped make a difference in the lives of the animals we were able to provide services to AND in the lives of the people and the community they live in.