‘We were so happy to see her back’: Dog rescues continue during forest fires in Manitoba

Melanie Chudyk spent a morning this week pulling puppies from under a deck in a community engulfed with smoke.

She’s part of a group from Manitoba Animal Alliance (MAA) and pilots who airlifted 18 dogs from Pauingassi First Nation to Winnipeg.

Pauingassi is a fly-in community of about 620 people located 280 km northeast of Winnipeg and one of five Manitoba reserves that were evacuated this summer due to fires.

Residents weren’t allowed to bring dogs with them to hotels in Winnipeg, leaving many behind.

Chudyk and her team at MAA say the situation on the ground is dire.

“It was very smoky. We couldn’t see the sun all day and lots of us were having a hard time breathing,” said Chudyk.

The rescue team headed out early in the morning and went house by house to search for animals.

Chudyk said all things considered, the dogs were in great shape.

“We didn’t’ find very many ill dogs which is really good,” said Chudyk.

dog rescues
Workers offload dogs from Pauingassi First Nation in Manitoba. Photo: Michelle Karlenzig/APTN.

While being evacuated from Pauingassi, Rena Knott had to leave her dog Annie behind.

Knott was there at the landing spot to be reunited with her pooch after she found out from a friend that MAA was rescuing dogs from there.

“We were so happy to have her back,” said Knott. “My daughter doesn’t even know yet. She will be so happy.”

MAA and shelters across Winnipeg worked together to find fosters and homes for all the dogs.

It’s just one of many trips they plan to make up north, as they weren’t able to bring every dog back.

While they had to leave some animals behind, Chudyk said today’s rescue was a success.

“It was just so great to see happy and healthy dogs starving for human attention,” said Chudyk.

Anyone looking to foster or send donations should visit the Manitoba Animal Alliance Facebook page.

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