Iqaluit Humane Society AGM Tomorrow

Yes, it’s that time of year again. The IHS is holding an Annual General Meeting on Monday, June 27th 2011 at 7:30pm at the Arctic Nunavut College (main campus).  We’re going to be discussing the future of the shelter, going over the financials as well as reviewing where we currently are as a society. We welcome you to stop by and offer your thoughts, comments and suggestions. Whether you’re a long time supporter or new to the scene your opinions matter!

The shelter is a pure not-for-profit volunteer operation run by a host of amazing individuals and we’re always on the look out for new members. The general public isn’t aware of how difficult it is to manage the day-to-day operations at the shelter with everyone working full-time jobs. We dedicate our free time, lunch breaks and weekends to make sure Iqaluit’s less fortunate and often forgotten residents are taken care of. Four shifts per day, seven days a week  folks. That’s 28 shifts that need to be covered with a minimum of two people. That ends up being the work of 56 people being performed by less than 20 of us. Many times we’ve found ourselves alone on shifts having to manage a shelter full of animals. It’s hard work when the support is at a bare minimum. With the Katimavik volunteers gone for the summer we do not have the luxury of having a day staff available during the week. We’ve teetered on the brink of collapse a few times because there’s only so much a handful of people can do. I’ve personally worked nearly every day for the past couple of months and have covered every shift from as early as 6:30am to 9:30pm. I know others who have done the same and even more without hesitation or regret because we all share a common bond in that we love the little critters there.

People think a shift at the shelter is a walk in the park. It can be if enough people are on at the same time. A typical shift consists of:

  • Walking the dogs
  • Disinfecting & sterilizing cages
  • Cleaning the shelter (doing dishes, sweeping & mopping floors)
  • Doing laundry
  • Feeding giving the animals water
  • Keeping and maintaining daily animal logs

Unfortunately when you’re on your own it can rival any household chore. Disinfecting a single cage takes a minimum of 10 minutes in order to do properly and if you have a full house it’s a slow and tedious process that can take up to 2 hours or more to do. Here’s some food for thought: If we have 10 full cages and 5 people come in at the same time to walk those 5 of the dogs at the same time we can do 50 minutes worth of disinfecting work in just 10 minutes. Imagine the possibilities. Volunteering can be as simple as taking a single friendly pup out for a nice walk on a beautiful summer day. You have no idea how much a modest act such as that can help cut down the time needed for a shift. Simple gestures like that can do more good than you can believe so if you’re interested in helping out please come to the meeting or shoot us an email at volunteers@iqaluithumanesociety.com for more details.

We always have pups and kitties at the shelter looking for new homes so feel free to stop by and test drive your new pet any day or schedule a showing at adoptions@iqaluithumanesociety.com.

You can also follow us on Twitter now @iqhumanesociety! We’re bringing the IHS into the 21st century so come grow with us!

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Don’t let the sun go down on me

No actually. The sun can really go the hell away right now for all I care.

A while back I promised to do a follow-up to my Twilight post. I wanted to take yet another set of time-lapse photos on the Summer solstice (June 21st) but unfortunately I was done in by Iqaluit treachery and it rained for several days. Don’t get me wrong. I relished in the fact that it was cloudy and rained for about 4 days. Whenever there are thick heavy clouds it blocks out the sun and midnight almost gets sorta dark.

Anyway. I won’t bore you to tears with more details with words. I’ll just let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy!

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… just so you know, by 4am it looks like pre-8pm once again. Thankfully though the longest day of the year was spent under cloud cover so it’s all downhill from here. I will twiddle my fingers menacingly as I await my beloved darkness to engulf the wonderful city of Iqaluit.

Signs that Summer has come to Iqaluit

There are surefire ways to tell when certain seasons arrive in different places.  In Canada, one of those seems to be the re-emergence of the french fry truck.  Little did I know that it would be any different in Iqaluit…

Fries, burgers, dogs and of course, poutine. Yes!
 
You should also take note that there is a definite lack of snow cover in the background.  The ice in Frobisher Bay has been breaking up for several weeks now, and Koojesse Inlet has a lot of open water as well.  The winds off of the bay are quite cool still, but you can feel a warmth in the air now that brings a smile to your face.
 
Summer is definitely here!

The Ups and Downs of Arctic Living

Last week, we advised you of some upsetting news that our little city had faced.

This week, we’d like to update you on some of the good things that have been happening in our lives.  Ian and I have this sense that good will always counterbalance the bad…eventually. We had some bad luck with our housing situation when we first moved up, but now, we have our own place.  We’re pretty excited about it.  We told you about it before.  And now we have some pictures to show of the new unit we’re living in.  We took them before we moved in – when the painters were here.

Living room from the kitchen
Kitchen from the living room – check out those 20 ft ceilings! Okay…maybe 18 ft? I dunno…they’re HUGE!
Bedroom…lots of room! Makes up for the slightly smaller living room…
The new walk-in closet…I’m no girly girl, but I’m in heaven!

We used to have a lovely view of the bay…and we could see the airport from our balcony.  Here’s one of the old views we had – followed by the new.

What we used to see…
…and what we see now…

That’s right…we now look down upon some industrial zoned lands.  But we also have an okay view of the plateau from here.  What we didn’t realize was that when the sun goes down, that really blah view turns into this…

And this…

And these…

The skies here are absolutely incredible in the spring/summer season so far.  We’re also hoping to have more opportunities to see the auroras on this side of the building too.  They rarely seemed to appear on the old side of the building where we lived previously.

We love our new place!  But perhaps the best news of all is what we received last week.  Back during Toonik Tyme, I purchased a raffle ticket from the Nunavut Speed Skating Association while waiting in line to get into the craft show.  We got a call last week.  We won a round trip ticket for two between Iqaluit and Ottawa.  Amazing!  We’re so excited and hoping to make it back home for a visit sometime in the late summer or early fall.  We hope to catch up with as many friends and family members as possible while we’re south.  Hope to see many of you soon!

Sad Realities

Yesterday was a dark day in this beautiful city of mine.  I sensed something was amiss when I awoke to snow falling softly, and an odd hazy fog that had settled over the bay.  Before I went to bed Tuesday night, I read an article in Nunatsiaq News that mentioned a body had been found at the Iqaluit cemetery, and beside it, a gun.  As I lay in bed, Ian let me know the story had been updated…four people dead.  Wednesday morning, the official story did not change…but the rumours didn’t let that stop them.  Talk of a man killing his wife and two children in their home…then moving on to visit the grave of a family member and killing himself.  The only thing that exists to confirm the sad possibility is the closure of one of the local elementary schools where one of the children attended grade two.

I was at a loss for most of the day.  Trying to focus on work was a challenge.  I don’t know who it was that died.  I’m not even sure if I know anyone who knew them well.  But this is a small community.  We’ve lived here for six months now, and already I have seen what the losses have done here. 

I don’t know what drives a person to such ends.  But I know that this part of the world where poverty is rooted so deep within the social system…homes are overcrowded, leading to increased risk of illness…literacy is low and school dropout rates are high…the chances that you know someone with an addiction to drugs or alcohol are great…domestic abuse is prevalent…  But how does one tie it all together in order to provide a solution?  These are problems that still exist in southern Canada, where resources are less expensive.  So how can we even begin to address the difficulties this territory faces when a family earning $100 000 annually can still live in poverty due to the high cost of living?

I don’t have the answers.  I don’t claim to know what is best for the people that live here, be they Inuit, southern temporary transplants or long time northerners.  I might be looked upon as a naïve qallunaat, but optimism doesn’t equal naivety.  I have so much hope for Nunavut…there are challenges piled upon challenges, but humans have conquered mountains before – there’s no question we can’t do it again.  I just hope that the journey doesn’t leave us so broken that we can’t relish the victory when we reach the top.

I never came to Nunavut thinking that I could change the world…or even change the territory.  But I truly hope that if someone was to approach me for help that I could offer them what they needed to prevent another senseless tragedy.  My heart is broken for this city and its people.  Be strong Iqalummiut…your fellow citizens need you now…

Related Articles

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Movin’ On Up

I’m quite certain that Ian mentioned that we’ve recently passed our six months in Nunavut milestone.  It’s kind of strange, considering it feels like we’ve been here for a year and a half, but not in a bad way.  We miss our families greatly, but have had several Skype events with both sides of the family.  Oh, and if anyone is interested in Skyping with us…or any other video chat you might use…please let us know.  We love seeing friends!

So the six month milestone meant a couple of things.  One, our dental plans have kicked in.  Yay!  And two, if we didn’t have the good fortune of subletting from a contractor without an employee to fill the apartment, we would have been homeless.  Or living out of a hotel.  Neither of which are good options living in a city such as Iqaluit.

We wanted to hold back on releasing this exciting news until the ink dried on the lease, but the lease isn’t ready yet.  And since we’ve already seen the unit, and have several pieces of e-mail correspondence confirming it’s ours, we feel we can make the announcement.

We finally have a permanent apartment of our own to rent!  No one will kick us out at a moment’s notice.  No more subletting.  It’s ours!

Yup. After so many years of apartment living, we finally have the top floor!

So, Ian’s already been making preparations by starting to take furniture down, pack items into crates that we have, and assemble new cardboard boxes so we can pack up more.  Best part about the new place?  It’s in the same building!  The implication there?  Well, remember I already live in the same building I work in?  Yup…the door partially obscured by the minivan is the main door to my office.  Sweet!  I may just install that fire pole after all.

Now we just have to move up one floor to the other side of the elevator/stairwell.  Should be a pretty sweet move, and we’re hoping to make it pretty casual.  Still, if anyone up here is interesting in helping out, we wouldn’t turn it down.  And thanks to Missy’s most recent trip down south, we now have some chocolate and cheese for a wicked fondue party once we’ve settled in.

 

Speaking of settling in, Jemaine's already made a bed of one of the moving boxes. Hope that one's packed already. We likely won't get it back anytime soon...

 So in honour of our grand move, I thought I’d analyze a very familiar theme song for us all.  Sing along if you know the words.  And since I’m posting the lyrics for the analysis…you will.  😉

Well we’re movin on up to the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.

Technically true.  We’re sort of on the southwest side right now.  We’re moving to the sort of northeast side.  I’m probably wrong.  Yeah, I know…I’m a geographer so I should probably figure it out.  I just haven’t really attempted to orient myself with the way our building is situated.

Movin on up to the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

A piece of the real estate pie?  Yes please!

Fish don’t fry in the kitchen, beans don’t burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin’ just to get up that hill.

Well, we haven’t fried much fish in the kitchen…though there is a large arctic char in the freezer still.  And we never did fire up the grill on the balcony – didn’t have much faith in the fuel source.  But sure did take a whole lotta tryin…

Now we’re up in the big leagues gettin’ our turn at bat.
As long as we live, it’s you and me baby, there ain’t nothin wrong with that.

Yup yup.  And happy to be here.

Well we’re movin on up to the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up to the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Or fondue.  🙂