For Lady and her three puppies, this past week has been quite the adventure, thanks to two volunteer organizations that help pets in need.
Lady, a three-year-old Black Labrador and her nearly four-month-old puppies, Woody, Buzz and Jessie, were flown about 850 kilometres from their hometown of Moosonee to Toronto last week as part of a dog rescue mission. The pet rescue organizations wanted to ensure Lady got veterinary care and her puppies got a chance to be adopted.
Mattie’s Place, a pet rescue focused on Canadian pets, and Tailwind Rescue, an organization run by pilots that flies animals to and from northern Ontario communities, worked together to bring the four canines to Toronto.
Lady’s owners, located in Moosonee, contacted Mattie’s Place after she gave birth to Woody, Buzz and Jessie on March 20. The owners were concerned about the future of her puppies and were unable to access spay services in the community. The owners asked the organization if it could transport the puppies to Toronto where they could be adopted.
Mattie’s Place offered to have Lady receive veterinary care in Toronto and to return her to her owners, while Tailwind Rescue offered flights.
“We all sort of joined up together to get Lady and her family here,” Denise Angus, founder of Mattie’s Place, said on Wednesday.
Tailwind Rescue flew the four dogs from Moosonee to Toronto last week, then took Lady back home on Wednesday morning, after she was spayed, dewormed, vaccinated, received flea and tick medication and got a full checkup. Moosonee, a town about 19 kilometres south of James Bay, has no road access.
Her three puppies, meanwhile, remained in Toronto. Jessie has been adopted by a family in New Brunswick, while Woody and Buzz are still available for adoption.
‘Overpopulation of pets’ creating ‘crisis’: advocate
Angus and Matthew Gross, owner, operator and pilot of Tailwind Rescue, said they are trying to do their bit to ensure pets from northern Ontario communities get the care they need.
“There’s no shortage of Canadian pets needing rescue assistance. We’re kept quite busy with Canadian dogs and sometimes cats even,” Angus said.
WATCH | A puppy flight:
Angus said Lady’s story shows there is a real need for organizations to help pets from northern communities.
“We are in a crisis here with an overpopulation of pets. In northern communities, as well as right here with owner surrenders, strays, our shelters are full, rescues are full and at capacity,” she said.
“There are rescues closing down because they just don’t have the financial means to support the crisis that we’re in. We need government assistance for massive spay and neuter initiatives in northern Canada primarily. And we need a lot more support here for our pets to try to keep pets and people together.”
Gross, for his part, said Tailwind Rescue was founded less than a year ago to help animals.
“A lot of times, there are animals up north that don’t have access to vets, vaccines, things of that nature, or simply need to be adopted. We move the animals to a better place, where they can be adopted or taken care of,” Gross said.
“There are a lot of dogs that need to be rescued and not enough planes. We’re working really diligently to go up and get as many animals as we can get to save them.”
‘He’s just a baby’
Vincent Fung, a co-pilot with Gross and his flight instructor, said he is happy to help.
“Every time after a flight, it’s really good to see animals getting the help they need,” Fung said.
Johanne Couturier, the foster parent for Woody, said she has fostered Woody to find out what it’s like to have two dogs. She already has a dog and has discovered it’s too much to look after two canines. But she said her family has fallen in love with Woody.
“He’s just a baby. He’s very perfect,” she said.