This month I would like to highlight a very important volunteer group close to ARF’s heart, and a sister group to ARF Ontario: The Ontario Spay Neuter Task Force, or “CanFix.” Stay tuned next month for the second instalment in the “Power of Dog” series showcasing yet another heroic adopted ARF animal!
Imagine this: An ARF volunteer gets a call about a mama dog, Katie, and her litter of pups that are getting big and have no homes to go to. This is the third time ARF has rescued puppies from Katie. Thankfully, Katie has a wonderful and caring family of her own, and her owners do not wish to surrender her to ARF, and ARF would never want to take a dog so well-loved and happy away from her home. Unfortunately, the cost of a spay is just too high for Katie’s owners. As the pups are loaded up into the ARF volunteers’ car, a tragic and heart-wrenching scenario takes place, just like it does every time Katie’s pups are taken: Katie desperately tries to get into the volunteer’s car, and then chases after the car as the volunteer drives away watching Katie trying to follow behind her and listening to Katie’s cries slowly fade away…
This could not continue with poor Katie or so many of the other countless, stressed and unhealthy mama dogs. So a group of like-minded individuals got together, and The Ontario Spay Neuter Task Force, or “CanFix” was born. CanFix’s mission is as follows:
Ontario Canine Spay Neuter Task Force Mission
- To educate the public on the humane and ethical treatment of animals.
- To educate pet owners on the benefits of spaying and neutering their dogs.
- To minimize the unnecessary destruction of unwanted dogs.
- To reduce health risks caused by canine overpopulation in unserviced areas.
- To provide seminars and collect and distribute relevant topical information.
- To provide both logistical and financial assistance to individuals or families in need, for the purpose of sterilizing their dogs.
Did you know that ONE in-tact female dog and her offspring can result in over TWELVE THOUSAND puppies in just 5 years?! And that just one male dog and one female dog and their offspring can produce 67,000 dogs in 6 years?! (According to SpayUSA.) Spaying and neutering animals is an effective and humane way of animal control. An abundance and overpopulation of dogs in many areas of Canada results in cullings where any unowned dogs are either tied to stakes and shot, or a mass poisoning is mandated. OR, we can opt to obtain the 70% solution instead:
In the 1200s Leonardo Fibonacci created a formula (70%) that is still used by many scientists, including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control. It states that 70% of a population must be vaccinated in order to prevent an epidemic of a contagious disease.In a “companion animal” overpopulation article, Dr. Marvin Mackie proposes that “animal sterilization is‘vaccinating’ against the disease of overpopulation.” (
This past month, ARF volunteers headed up to two First Nations’ communities on the North shore of Lake Huron. Our first stop was Sagamok, a community which ARF has visited numerous times before and has developed a strong relationship with its residents. We were delighted to see some of our “CanFix” dogs looking healthier than we had ever seen them. This former-mama dog used to be skin and bones and a non-stop puppy-producer…and here she is now, living the good life and finally HEALTHY.
While ARF was there, we were approached by a very kind, older couple, who had taken in one of the community strays. Because she is female, they were desperate to spay her so she wouldn’t produce litter after litter. Unfortunately, neither drove and even if they did, the cost to cover such an operation especially in such a remote area is extremely high. And this is where ARF and Canfix meld beautifully together to solve this problem and get mamas like Bella spayed. After lots of hugs and tears goodbye, the couple’s dog, Bella, was loaded into a crate into one of three vans to be driven back down to London along with the other 30 dogs and cats ARF had rescued that day. Bella would be spayed at The Strathroy Animal Clinic, and then delivered back home all the way to Sagamok. ARF’s community contact and animal care officer Stanford Owl met an ARF/Can-Fix volunteer in Barrie and then drove Bella back to her home in Sagamok where she was welcomed with now happy tears and hugs and kisses from her doting owners.
It is truly incredible how simply spaying a female dog can improve their quality of life. They are no longer having to constantly find nourishment to feed not only themselves, but either their pregnant selves or their pups as well. The malnourishment alone that these poor mamas go through is staggering. Yet a mere month or two after their spay, sometimes even less than that, we can begin to see how the physical health of these mamas becomes better than it has ever been.
Helping these dogs end the cycle of unhealthy living and non-stop puppy producing not only improves the quality of life for that dog, but does the same for that dog’s owners and the entire community as a whole – both canine and human alike!
A happy CanFix girl, back home after being spayed, she can now have free roam of her beautiful and massive property without having to worry about those pesky fella dogs chasing after her.