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Arctic Paws has good year
Clinics will continue to be offered with no full-time vet in sight

Shawn Giilck
Northern News Services
Thursday, May 28, 2015

With no full-time veterinarian in sight for Inuvik, the Arctic Paws group is soldiering on and will continue to offer its clinics this year.

NNSL photo/graphic

Dr. Lucie Levy, shown treating an animal at an Inuvik clinic in 2013, is expected to continue to provide service to Inuvik, where there is no full time veterinarian. - NNSL file photo

It's been approximately four years or a bit more since the town last had a full-time veterinarian practising full-time.

That's not a tenable situation for a town the size of Inuvik, particularly with its population of pets, but it's one that people will have to continue to endure until a solution is found.

That's why the clinics provided on an intermittent basis by Dr. Lucie Levy and organized by the Arctic Paws society over the last three years will continue to be a vital service to the town.

The clinics, which are generally held twice a year, utilize the fire hall for space. Treasurer Margaret Miller said the fire hall isn't ideal, but it is workable.

After the society held its annual general meeting on May 20, two members of the board took some time to discuss the situation and the state of the society.

Last year, Arctic Paws ran a $5,106.86 deficit. While that doesn't necessarily look good on paper, Miller, the treasurer for 2014, and Marie-Claire Savoie, who served as the president, said they're not particularly concerned about it.

"Arctic Paws is still a young organization, and we're still learning things," Savoie said. "We needed some equipment for the clinics. We are always learning and moving forward. Next year, we'll try to have a surplus."

There were certain one-time expenses involved in that scenario, Miller said, as well as the loss of an important sponsorship.

The society purchased $24,199 of veterinary equipment that Levy, who is the veterinarian who comes every year to staff the clinics, cannot bring with her. Donations from the Lion's Club, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Royal Canadian Legion and other donors covered $9,540 of that amount.

That's a one-time expense for the society, Miller said.

"We had some unusual expenses this year," she added.

The society also paid nearly $10,000 in air fares to bring the veterinary team up for the two clinics it held.

That's an expense it never faced before, and directly attributable to the loss of sponsorship from Canadian North.

"Before they gave us tickets," Miller said, "but they dropped our sponsorship."

That was a part of a cost-cutting program the airline was going through, Miller and Savoie said.

"They had to make a decision as to which of the many charities they support was going to benefit from their programs," Savoie said. "We're very thankful for them for the last three years, and we know they had some tough decisions to be made."

Capital Suites provided the accommodation for the veterinarian team at a very low rate, Miller added.

The two clinics brought in $38,410 in fees for the society. In total, Arctic Paws had a revenue of $109, 100 for their fiscal year, which runs from April 1 to March 31.

Medical supplies for the clinics also rose by $5,000.

Fees paid to Levy and her staff, which included a second veterinarian for both clinics, totalled $34,750.

The clinics are mostly geared to neutering and spaying, but other services are offered as well.

To encourage residents to use the clinics, the Town of Inuvik offered a subsidy program. Unfortunately, only three people applied for the subsidy, which was a huge disappointment to Arctic Paws, Miller and Savoie said.

The society will work to better publicize that program and encourage people to use it, they said.

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