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Fate of unwanted Baker Lake dogs on the brink

Local advocate ‘running on fumes’
Andrea Robinson is the entire dog rescue organization in Baker Lake, having rehomed more than 160 dogs since May 2020. Photo courtesy of Andrea Robinson

She’s the entire dog rescue organization in Baker Lake, and Andrea Robinson is at the end of her rope.

“I’m running on fumes at this point,” said Robinson, clearly exasperated. “Once those fumes are gone, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Robinson works with K9 Advocates Manitoba, which helps connect unwanted dogs in Baker Lake with new homes in the south.

The Winnipeg organization has a limited cargo account, but other than that, all the work is left to Robinson.

She fields messages and calls constantly from people wanting to surrender their dogs. She takes the animals into her own home temporarily before arranging their travel south. Since she started her efforts in May 2020, Robinson has rehomed more than 160 dogs.

“I’m a rotating door of dogs,” she said.

She doesn’t have a car, making transportation to the airport even harder.

With no sustainable funding, Robinson spent more than $3,000 out of her own pocket on rehoming dogs in the last several months. She managed to put together a fundraiser to help break even, and she was thankful for some generous offerings of support in the community.

As she spoke to Kivalliq News Feb. 14, she had a litter of puppies waiting to be sent out, another request coming in and three dogs at the pound needing rehoming.

“It’s just constant,” said Robinson, who also works full-time as a teacher. “This is all volunteer. This is purely out of passion and care for animals to not end up at the dump.”

She also is frequently saddened to see the state some dogs are in, including one that got an axe to its neck, which required Robinson to administer first aid.

“When I get dogs, sometimes it’s just a piece of rope around their neck,” she said.

One of the primary sources of unwanted dogs in the community is people leaving their female dog outside while it’s in heat, she said. Loose male dogs track down those females and breed with them, with the owners sometimes not even knowing their dog is pregnant and the puppies freezing to death after being born, according to Robinson.

She received vaccination training, and for $20 she can now vaccinate and deworm dogs, with funding going toward her rehoming operation.

Now, the Baker Lake teacher is reaching out desperately for support. Without sustainable funding or help, Robinson fears she may not have the energy left to keep the operation going.

“It is near impossible for this to be a one-person organization,” said Robinson. “I cannot do it alone.”