Until the second week of June (and even since I've been back in Ontario), there were many group messages going back and forth regarding the dogs leaving Shamattawa. Alberta's Infinite WOOFS worked on fundraising, receiving donations, trying to connect more with Winnipeg rescues, private pilots, airlines (including Westjet), and volunteers to drive from Winnipeg to Infinite WOOFS in Alberta.
After speaking with my friend Niki and her Infinite WOOFS colleague, Nina (among others), we became in contact with Katie Powell, the founder of Save a Dog Network in Winnipeg. After a lot of back and forth we came to realize that moving the dogs from Manitoba to Alberta would be quite the challenge and would take too long to fund for, especially since I was going to be leaving Shamattawa in early June. Save a Dog Network was now the main connection with getting the puppies and the dogs off the Reserve, and Katie Powell, along with her team of volunteers, became some of the most important people I would come to know (long distance) concerning the well being of our Pack. Katie was willing to help in any way she could and was determined to get the puppies and at least Spotty and Princess out. I sent her descriptions of each puppy and mature dog in the Pack, their weight, along with photographs to use to scout out foster parents in Winnipeg. Even though she has a full-time job, manages Save a Dog Network on the side (amazing!), and was having difficulty finding foster parents for the dogs once they would arrive, she did not give up once and for that I am forever grateful. Without her, who knows if I would have been able to complete what I was set out to do - to save the dogs.
As the month of May sped by, Katie and I messaged each other multiple times a day, even until after midnight, discussing how we would get the puppies out safely and with cost efficiency. Thankfully, Save a Dog Network has connections with Pilots N' Paws, but unfortunately they were booked. Katie contacted Perimeter Airlines because she had used them before and they agreed to send kennels up for us to use at a lower cost (Perimeter is the airline that flies to and from Shamattawa). Things were starting to look up and even though the stress levels and pressures were high, I knew at least some of the dogs would be saved and on their way to loving homes!
Me with some of the puppies - giving them pets and making sure they were doing well!
Baby Pirate who was a Houdini puppy! The only time he didn't try to escape was when he slept on my lap.
Spotty Nibbles enjoying some sun and relaxation time while the puppies were in their outdoor pen
Princess hiding right outside of our unit, not feeling well...She enjoyed pets and I told her she would be okay.
I still talked to Niki and Nina to keep them in the loop with the puppy plans, and Katie sorted out dates for puppies to be flown out in June. It was like a full-time job for me to help plan everything out, ensure that the puppies were doing well, while I also taught some painting classes on the side to some students. The puppies were growing bigger and while they seemed to be doing well, Princess's condition was dwindling due to being sick and having worms. Naturally she did not want to be near her puppies and we tried to keep their distance from the rest of the Pack to help prevent them from also getting worms. We were careful with Princess and limited what she ate to try to clear out her body. After a week of her diet being small and her only wanting to eat the occasional raw egg, Princess perked up and seemed more like herself again. It was then that we decided she definitely needed to be flown out with the puppies.
Katie and I also contacted Manitoba Mutts, the Winnipeg Pet Rescue Shelter, and Kat's Kritters Rescue in case more help and space was needed to house the dogs once they arrived. Things were working in our favour and now the only things to finalize were times for the flights, and which dogs would be leaving.
Our neighbour and keeper of the Pack, Saeed, with the puppies outside in their pen. My lovely boyfriend, Spencer, at the bottom with Baby Patches! Baby Patches was just like his dad.