Category Archives: FAWI

Life Beyond – It’s all About Timing

It’s all about socialization!

Socialization is the window from 3 to 12 weeks of age for dogs in which their innate fear is less than their desire to experience their environment.

After that period of time, what has not been learnt favourably becomes difficult to learn or unlearn.

Thus unwanted behaviours and fears require desensitization and counterconditioning to adjust to life. A lot of work!

Let’s make sure all dogs get a great start and if they haven’t, the poor pups need much time to adjust.

Dr. Judith Samson-French

Blueprint to Raise the Bar – Alberta

Raising the bar

Over the last 3 decades, the Alberta landscape has increasingly been taken over by private interests. The “multi-use” reassurance has often degenerated to abuse as Fish & Wildlife has seen its conservation mandate decline to insignificance.

If the short-sighted often unmitigated multi-use of our crown land has become business as usual, it is time to become unreasonable and create a new vision.

Duane Starr Photography

I propose the following blueprint:

1. Rebuild our Fish & Wildlife agency and populate it with bright wildlife managers AND conservation biologists.

2. Move Fish & Wildlife Officers out of Solicitor General’s office where they are isolated and bring them back in the game within the F & W agency.

3. Give some teeth to compliance and oversight – abuse of the land by whatever party must STOP.

4. Headwaters and Fisheries must be a priority again: drinking water, flood prevention and tourism should be taken more seriously. Really.

5. Open public consultations – there is a wealth of genius out there and exchange of info will bring clarity to issues for all.

(Get rid of advisory committees: if the feral horse one is any indication, they are stellar examples of ineptitude and incompetence, never mind unacceptably secretive).

6. Single portfolio ministry – raising standards handling the Alberta landscape is a gigantic task, who has time to handle Status of Women as well?

We need to STOP seeing our wildlife and ecosystems as overburden and see them as precious resources of which we hold stewardship.
Don’t you agree?

Inquisitive Wildies in logged area by Duane Starr Photography
Thank you to all who contributed suggestions by email or snail mail.

Dr. Judith Samson-French

The Dogs Who Never Bit Us

Northern Dog Project 2015-16, James Bay, Canada

A dog carrying the Arctic fox strain of rabies was discovered in the James Bay coastal community of Kashechewan in 2013.

A humane and sustainable Dog Population Management (DPM) Project was initiated to prevent the spread of this deadly virus to animals and people in the remote and isolated communities of James Bay, namely Moosonee, Moose Factory, Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany and to the north in Hudson Bay, Peawanuck.

The four pillars of our DPM consist in permanently and reliably identifying each dog with a microchip, stop the spread of relevant contagious diseases by vaccinating against rabies, parvovirus and distemper, and deworming to help maintain good body condition. In addition, we use a non-surgical fertility control method (contraceptive implant) in potentially fertile females to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies. As a bonus, one ton of dog food was distributed to the dogs in the region.

A formal dog registry was compiled for each of the six communities so a DPM plan can be tailored to their specific needs and abilities including practical solutions and measures for dog bite prevention.

Just over 600 dogs were handled and welcomed in this world premiere project using non-surgical contraceptives. It is with pride and pleasure, on behalf of all involved in this project, that Pearls 365 presents photos of some of these beautiful great Northern dogs at

Heartfelt gratitude to all who helped from close and afar: this project is the result of an immense collaboration of agencies, businesses, people who have proven that goodwill is alive and well (thank you Sam).

A special thank you to all the dogs who never bit us.

Dr. Judith Samson-French

Too Many Dogs – Why?

Overpopulation of dogs happens for two main reasons when vet services are neither available nor affordable :

  1. Dogs are allowed to reproduce with little chance to find homes for their offsprings.
  1. Dogs are relinquished/abandoned by their owners who can or will no longer keep them.
Owned and roaming – doing well.

It is that simple to define the problem.

The solution is more complex and will vary with cultural background. The dogs themselves can’t solve the problem.

It’s about seeking a balance between physically limiting breeding through sterilization (surgical or not), sequestering females in heat, and tying/fencing dogs and social or attitudinal changes about our relationship with dogs who are now entirely unemployed.

When there is limited access to education for people and training for dogs, the problem magnifies quickly.

Free Roaming Dogs

This awesome dog looks in good body condition. Does he have an owner? Maybe. He will not let us approach as he is mildly fearful of our presence.

Feral, semi-feral, free-roaming, loosely owned, community owned… are terms used to describe a population of dogs that is largely unwanted. But it can be misleading.

For now, to describe the dogs we see in James Bay area, we simplify it to “supervised” and “not supervised” until we are more familiar with their population.

Is this beautiful dog owned or not? Photo credit – Dr. Catherine Filejski


Using Contraceptive Implants

Dogs With No Names

Heartfelt gratitude on behalf of all dogs with no names wherever they may be.

DWNN team has been the recipient of amazing donations and we wish to express our heartfelt gratitude. DWNN operates under the non-profit organization FAWI (Foundation for Animal Wellness Initiatives) and is poised to embark on two major projects that will make such a difference for paws and hooves. As soon as the ink is dry on the MOUs /contracts we will announce. In the mean time, back to Tsuu T’ina where we first started.

PS: Contraception programs are not just about contraception, but bringing long-term sustainable solutions to overpopulation of animals. Registries, population dynamics, cohort mortalities…much more than just a poke!