Through our clinics working in remote Manitoba communities, team members of our Winnipeg Humane Society have witnessed the dire lack of veterinary resources. It’s a massive disservice to not just the communities, but to the animals. We want to do more and we need to do more.
With the establishment of the new Remote and Rural Pilot Project (RRPP) and a dedicated Coordinator, the WHS is one step closer to providing a more humane solution to the current over population of roaming, breeding and “problem” dogs living in remote areas of Manitoba.
The RRPP is a critical way to provide veterinary resources to First Nation communities in Manitoba, who currently struggle with proper access to first aid support, vaccines, dewormer, Rescue resources, healthy pet food and most importantly – spay and neuter clinics. These communities are welcoming and open to learning, so we are also working to empower and educate community members.
Experienced non-profit rescue operator and former paramedic Katie Powell has been hired as Coordinator of the Remote and Rural Pilot Project. “My priorities currently are to continue to establish long term, positive relationships with communities who currently have zero access to vet care or rescue resources,” explains Powell. “And build programs that are community designed and driven, to provide immediate support and long-term solutions.”
Powell is extremely passionate about providing veterinary resources to remote communities and has been successful at running Manitoba’s Save A Dog Network for the last 6 years. She has facilitated dozens of veterinarians, techs, assistants and volunteers willing to donate their time, maintain positive relationships with community members and Chief/Councillors and have also been able to plan and execute 22 clinics, in just 3 years, in some of Manitoba’s most remote areas. A key part of Powell’s role will be focusing on building respectful, community directed and culturally appropriate relationships with communities and leaders.
“We look forward to making a difference assisting with this pilot project.” Says WHS CEO Javier Schwersensky. “I met Katie Powell shortly after I started working at the WHS. At the time she was starting her own organization, Save a Dog Network, and she told me boldly and without hesitation that she was going to make a massive difference in the most forgotten communities of Manitoba. And she has been relentless in pursuing that goal.”
“When Katie came to see us with a proposal to expand the WHS reach and assistance to remote and rural communities,” continues Schwersensky. “Combining her connections with the infrastructure, shelter medicine and animal welfare expertise, plus the financial reporting capabilities of the WHS, it was an offer we couldn’t resist.”
Powell will also work closely with other rescues and organizations in Manitoba, which have existing relationships with remote communities. The key will be to recruit vets, techs, assistants, plus local and remote volunteers to assist in the delivery of these community-based program and help secure funding to sustain the programs long term by establishing funding partners and applying to grants.