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Baffin Island teen encouraged to follow animal care passion

Ashley volunteered her time and passion when the Veterinarians Without Borders team visited Kimmirut.  To encourage her interest in animals and veterinary care, she was provided an online pet first aid course and first aid kit.

In March 2022, we visited the community of Kimmirut for the first time. Kimmirut is a fly-in only hamlet located on Baffin Island and had never had veterinary access in the community. When we arrived in the community our liaison at the school let us know they had a young student interested in volunteering for the clinic. Ashley helped to bring the younger children into the space in small groups at a time and took them around the clinic so they could listen to a heartbeat through a stethoscope and comfort the animals waiting their turn for surgery.

Ashley was curious and had many questions about the surgery process and each of the steps involved. “As she stood at the end of the surgery table and asked her questions, her eyes lit up at the information she was learning, and you could clearly see her passion for animal care,” says Kyla Townsend, veterinarian and VWB volunteer during the Kimmirut clinic.

On one of the last days of the clinic, Ashley brought in her own dogs for surgery, and anxiously watched over them as they got neutered and vaccinated. 

“We wanted to recognize Ashley’s love for animals and thank her for her help during our time in the community, says Marieke van der Velden, Northern Canada Program Manager. “An online pet first aid course felt like a great way to help her explore this passion”.

The Northern Animal Health Initiative is committed to growing capacity in remote communities and van der Velden sees supporting individuals like Ashley as a great example on how this can be achieved.  “Engaging young people like Ashley in both the clinics and overall community animal care can help to create a lasting impact on the younger generation and their relationship with their pets.”

Veterinarians Without Borders will be developing a bursary program for northern residents interested in pursuing animal related careers. The program will be launching Fall 2022. Keep an eye on our newsletter for the announcement.

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