It’s not unusual for the Yellowknife SPCA shelter to be full, but it is unusual for it to be so full of puppies this time of year.

The NWT SPCA usually receives pregnant dogs or dogs who have given birth in the spring and fall. Having two dogs with new puppies at this time of year is more unusual.

One dog Leslie came in from Behchoko heavily pregnant, she gave birth to 11 pups four days later. Another mother Gabby and her three puppies from Grise Fiord were at the shelter for a few days, they are now being fostered in Yellowknife.

Gabby from Behchoko and her puppies. Submitted photo

“Every kennel is full, plus in one kennel there’s a family and in several others, there are at least two or three puppies,” says NWT SPCA president Nicole Spencer, who added the shelter has 25 kennels totals.

Spencer says an SPCA spaying program in NWT communities active for a few years is seeing success. The organization takes a pregnant mother or a mother who has recently given birth, together with all of the puppies.

They stay at the shelter for two months, then the mother is spayed and returned to the community. The requirement is that all pups are brought in with mom so there are no unspayed pups left in the community. It’s an intensive program says Spencer, but worth the investment.

“It’s eight to ten weeks that we have the mom and the pups. So it’s a lot of work, but at the end of the day at least we know that the mom is not going to be having any more babies.”

Leslie and her puppies from Grise Fiord. Submitted photo

At this busy time, Spencer says locals can lend a hand in the following ways:

  • Volunteer to walk dogs, clean or do other needed duties at the shelter. Volunteers must do an orientation before they start.
  • Donate items on the SPCA’s wishlist.
  • If residents are planning to fly somewhere with WestJet, get in touch with the SPCA via nwtspcayk@gmail.com. WestJet will fly the dogs down south for free on your flight and all logistics are organized by the SPCA.
  • Foster or adopt. “If you’re looking for a dog or a cat, definitely now is the time. We have every shape and size and age and personality,” Spencer says.