Kim Hunter launched her Vet to Pet Mobile Service in April 2016. (Facebook Photo)

Vet works out of caravan to provide pet care in remote Northwest

Over 40 feral cats were spayed in the Nass Valley in November

Forget the Batmobile, there’s a new heroic vehicle driving around — and it’s here to save the animals.

With a caravan full of medical supplies and an operating table, veterinarian Kim Hunter owns her own ‘vetmobile’ to provide pet care primarily to remote First Nations communities throughout the Northwest region.

This month, she visited the Nass Valley to spay over 40 feral cats as part of the SPCA BC’s initiative to keep population numbers low. Hunter has been working through her Pet to Vet Mobile Service, travelling to help low-income households with their pets.

“I know there are people who live pretty rough and when we go up there, I don’t know how to help them but I know it’s important to build a bridge,” says Hunter. “It’s amazing having something in common like [interacting over] someone’s pet and then all of a sudden, you can communicate.”

She says that oftentimes during her visits, kids will come around and want to know more about her work. By trying to teach them how to brush their pets and care for them, she says she hopes to eventually implement an education program into the schools.

“They do want to look after their own pets but for a lot of them, they just don’t have the money.”

READ MORE: B.C. vet association bans cat declawing across province

When it comes to spaying or neutering operations for pets, it can be expensive. Costs can range between $150 to $400, as Hunter has to purchase medicine from out of town and pay her staff. She also runs a clinic in Smithers, where there’s still overhead costs that need to be paid when she’s away.

Sometimes, she says in order to operate on as many animals as possible during her visits, there isn’t enough money left over for a cut for herself.”

“These are interesting challenges, I really like the work but the trouble is finding the money,” says Hunter. “Fundraising is tough as there are so many things that need funding.”

Last year, Hunter partnered with Paws for Hope, an organization that stands for sustainable animal welfare and protection, which has helped her with the funds to carry out her vet services.

Kathy Powelson, executive director and founder of Paws for Hope, says that the work Hunter does is invaluable. She says she believes Hunter is the only vet in B.C. that operates directly out of a trailer.

“Her ability to move around is huge and the north is so massive, it’d be ideal if there was more than just one [vet doing this],” says Powelson. “She’s been really committed to working with the communities, providing veterinary care is important for the animals and to stop unwanted litters.”

READ MORE: Animals moved from B.C. Interior shelters to make way for pets displaced by wildfire

Although over $20,000 has been given, with some SPCA grants included, there still isn’t enough money to help everyone. She offers subsidized pricing, but even that can be too much for low-income families.

“It’s getting really difficult because I can’t make people understand why I can’t help their dogs,” says Hunter.

Hunter says that there have been incidents where unneutered dogs would show aggression and end up biting people. In fear of letting them loose, many owners tie their dogs to the porch.

Unfortunately, some end up freezing to death in the winters.

And in some extreme cases, residents have to take desperate measures to protect themselves from threatening canines. With no euthanization available, their hunting rifles are the only solution.

“Some villages have a hit list, so any dog that isn’t fixed, everyone knows it… If they get out of the yard and aren’t fixed — they get shot.”

For Hunter, she says she’s never had any background working with First Nations but is learning a lot from her visits. Residents will come out to help gather animals and a local nurse or RCMP constable will then often assist with bringing furry patients home after their surgeries. There were even two villages that fundraised between $5,000 to $10,000 on their own to help ease the veterinary costs in their communities.

“It’s gratifying to be so welcomed with open arms, they feed us and they’re just so happy to have their pets looked after.”


 


natalia@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

The 30-foot caravan travels through northwest B.C. to provide veterinary care in remote communities. (Facebook Photo)

(Facebook Photo)

Just Posted

William Griffin arrested in Houston homicide

RCMP have now arrested William Griffin, the man wanted in connection to… Continue reading

B.C. municipality wants ALC to reconsider their decision in regard to pipeline work camp

The ALC had rejected the construction of the Coastal GasLink work camp behind the Vanderhoof airport in October

Family of Terrace man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Coast Mountain College’s indigenization efforts recognized at international symposium

Collaboration and community are key to Indigenous reconciliation in education, CMTN says

Hudson Bay Mountain reschedules opening day for Nov. 29, citing warm temperatures, rain

The resort is asking people to upload “snow dance” videos to social media for a chance to win a hoodie

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Most Read