GAAP Canada provides much needed support and care for the northern communities in Canada where veterinary health is not readily available
he Global Alliance for Animals and People is excited to announce the GAAP Canada, GAAP’s first international branch. This North American branch consists of staff members of Allandale Veterinary Hospital in Barrie Ontario, Canada. Through the years Allandale has been a dedicated supporter of the GAAP’s endeavors in Latin America. They are active members in supporting the communities and children in their outreach programs as well as spaying, neutering and vaccinating the free roaming dogs within these communities. With the newest branch of the GAAP we are able to reach out to help so many more communities around the world.
As our name suggests we are an organization dedicated to the health and well being of animals and people GLOBALLY. As such, the GAAP Canada provides much needed support and care for the communities in Canada as well as assisting internationally! The members of Allandale veterinary clinic had felt a great sense of accomplishment in helping the community of Todos Santos Guatemala they were driven to find ways to help closer to home. Starting with the aboriginal communities within Ontario, GAAP Canada is anxious to explore the great country and help many more. Their first campaign was in Marten Falls Ontario where the team traveled by bush plane to a remote first nations reserve to sterilize and vaccinate the dogs and cats of the region.
Indigenous communities in Northern Canada are disproportionately affected by a series of social issues that put both their human and animal population at risk. Racism, poverty, high suicide rates, and lack of access to clean water and health services are just a few of these problems. At the same time, these communities still deal with preventable animal-human problems like occasional outbreaks of sylvatic rabies and a high prevalence of canine distemper, parvovirus and hydatid disease, all of which not only compromise the health and welfare of canine population but threaten local community members and vulnerable northern wildlife.
The absence of veterinary care, difficult access to the areas and extremely high prices for travel, food and lodging complicate the situation even further.
GAAP-Canada aims to provide veterinary health and education about appropriate pet care to this isolated communities.
Patricia Lechten is the owner of GAAP partners Allandale Veterinary Hospital in Ontario, Canada. She is a graduate from the Veterinary College of Missouri and moved to Canada to practice veterinary medicine in the 1980’s. Patty has been a friend and supporter of the GAAP for a long time. She has been a part of the Todos Santos campaign five times, first with Veterinarians Without Borders and currently with the GAAP team.
Patty says she first became interested in this type of work after a team at her clinic started working at a shelter in Jamaica which inspired her to look for more service opportunities. This is how she found out about the Todos Santos Program. In her own words: “Once we came we loved it and became very attached”. In Todos Santos, Patty saw how some of the animal issues faced by the community were not dissimilar from those present in the native reserves in northern Canada, where veterinary services are not easily available.
In 2016 Patty officially founded the Canadian branch of the GAAP (GAAP Canada) which focuses its work on providing veterinary health and education about pet care to indigenous communities in northern Canada.
Melissa is a graduate of the Pre Health Sciences program at Georgian College. She joined the Allandale Veterinary Hospital in the summer of 2002 and since then she’s become an integral part of the treatment staff, but when needed, you may see her filling in all areas at the Hospital.
Melissa has developed an interest in animal behavior and has helped in developing Allandale’s low stress handling training. She is always available to help with nervous patients, to make their visits even more comfortable. Melissa enjoys problem solving and challenges which she does on a daily basis with quality control.
In 2013, Melissa made the journey along with some team members from Allandale Vet Hospital and other volunteers around the globe to Todos Santos, Guatemala. This spay/neuter and rabies mission was life changing. She has been fortunate to return each year since with Dr. Patricia Lechten, their team and The Global Alliance of Animals and People, and help lead other technicians and assistants while there. She is proud to be on the board of directors of a new chapter for The GAAP called The Global Alliance of Animals and People (Canada). This non-profit organization’s mission is to help the northern areas of Canada where veterinary care is not readily available. Melissa heads up most of our fundraising and loves answering any questions about the charity work.
Natalie has always had a great love of animals. Growing up she always brought home every stray and sick animal to nurse back to health. Now grown, she has been working in the veterinary field for 10 years and it’s a dream come true.
Married for 20+ years and 4 children later, she lives on a Hobby farm with 3 dogs, 3 horses, 4 pigs and a dozen chickens with the intention to include some goats, sheep and maybe a cow as well.
She got involved with The GAAP when the owner of Allandale Veterinary Hospital approached her and asked if she would like to help with a Spay/Neuter campaign in Guatemala 4 years ago. She jumped at the opportunity and has never looked back. It gives her great pleasure knowing she is helping to control Rabies and unwanted animals in Central America. She participates in the Family Sponsorship Program as well. The GAAP Canada has recently started helping in Northern Ontario and she has helped to spearhead that program also. She looks forward to many years in a partnership with The GAAP.
Dr. Nancy Holling is a graduate from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. She is additionally certified in small animal acupuncture and canine rehabilitation, and is experienced in traditional Chinese veterinary herbal medicine.
Dr. Holling has a strong interest in combining both Western and traditional Chinese veterinary medicines to offer the very best treatment options for her patients. She has worked numerous small animal practices and veterinary clinics in the past, and founded Sitka Veterinary Services in March 2009.
Nancy’s interest in animal welfare lead her to become the GAAP’s first ever donor, when the organization was taking its first steps. With time, and as the GAAP started to grow, Nancy’s involvement developed and she became integral part of what today is GAAP Canada.
Thyren was born and raised in Canada, but lived for a number of years in Chile. He studied Adventure Tourism at the Sooke Adventure Tourism College and has a wealth of outdoor experience. He is the owner-operator of a kayak company named Agua Brava and teaches a number of water rescue courses as well as rope rescue, confined space, and incident command systems.
As a young teenager, Thyren volunteered with the Canadian Coast Guard and there found his passion for helping in emergency situations. From that point onward, he developed his interest in search and rescue and is now a fire fighter with the North Cowichan South End Hall as well as a Wilderness First Responder.
Thyren is currently the secretary of the GAAP-Canada and uses his extensive background in strategic development to assist with the administration of the Canadian chapter. He is involved in developing our preparedness planning projects for communities in Chile. Thyren is also one of our first responders for South America and his passion is to bring his training and experience in rescue and disaster response, to the GAAP team in Latin America..
The team focus their efforts on rural communities and native reserves in northern Canada, where access to veterinary health is very limited.
The GAAP Canada team is also crucial part of our annual campaign in Todos Santos, which includes veterinary services as well as education and a sponsorship program for underprivileged children and their families.
During 2016, the GAAP Canada team partnered with the Northern Spay & Neuter Program to travel to Gull Bay and Whitesand First Nation reserves to provide veterinary health to the community.
Click HERE to find out more about GAAP Canada’s work.
Charity work has been life changing for me and my first trip to Todos Santos was so rewarding I wanted to explore places in our country that needed help... I loved to meet the locals within Todos Santos and the other communities we’ve worked in, connecting and interacting with the children doing crafts, face painting, and making them smile makes all the hard work worth it!Melissa Payne, Fundraising Manager of GAAP Canada