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CFHS Presentation April 9, 2017

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Adriana Pisano Beaumont

on 19 April 2018

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Transcript of CFHS Presentation April 9, 2017

ompanion Animal Welfare in
First Nations Communities

Possibility through partnerships
It's a
problem, not a
Dogs aren't going to change - the people have to change it
A Critical look at relationships
between Dogs and Humans

The Research
Interagency and Cross-sector collaboration
What did we learn?
to talk about dogs
They deserve to have their voices heard
We honour their experiences by
We call it 'research' but it's about
The issues live
the communities
The same...but different
First Nations peoples have the same attachments to and feelings for their dogs as we have
First Nations communities are
Attitudes and relationships and how they are expressed vary between communities
"Augment and Enhance"
Advocates must understand that people already have rich relationships with dogs
Our purpose is to situate ourselves
those relationships
value to existing relationships rather than overhauling them
Understand that
not going to
'make it all better'
However, the way they experience them may 'look different' than what we're used to
Only communities who showed interest were included
IRB ethics approval

Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Canada, & Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. (2014).
Tri-Council policy statement: Ethical conduct for research involving humans (TCPS2). Chapter 9 Research involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada.
Ottawa, Canada: Interagency Secretariat on Research Ethics.
Core Ethical Principles
"Respect for persons"
Community-Based Participatory Research
Community Leaders
Animal Welfare Advocates
Indigenous & Non-Indigenous scholars and researchers
PSOs and ACOs
Participants felt more candid with 'outsider' (non-Indigenous) interviewer
& Collaboration
Allow communities to ask for what they need (if anything)
TCPS-2 (2014) - Guidelines for ethical conduct
"Concern for welfare"
Informed consent
Individual and community well-being
Minimize harm
Consideration for human and nonhuman
Partnership and sharing
Community engagement
Must view them
in context
Ensures language of questions is:

Accessible (Is it understandable?)
Relevant (Does it reflect the issues?)
Appropriate (Is it respectful?)
Questions were developed in consultation with:

Privacy maintainted by anonymizing information
Gathered both demographic info AND narratives
Interviews were recorded (with Free, Informed & Ongoing Consent), transcribed and analyzed for content
Use results (research) to help identify issues of concern to each community
Share results back with the partner communities and discuss what they mean
Letting go of pre-judgement
Being open to changing perspective
Help build Humane Communities
Help build capacity
Help build confidence
The Communities
The Communities:
The Backdrop
Identity /Tradition /Spirituality
Community Wellness
Relationship between F/N peoples and their dogs changed as they moved into communities
"...I remember my dad mentioned that to me. That there was a closeness between a man and the dog spirit. And in order to feel that - to feel the dog spirit - you have to let him know that you love the dog - that you take care of him in the best way you can. So, the dog's spirit will touch your spirit and there will be a connection there." 
Community E
spoke most about
"protection" and "companionship"
Themes emerged about
Human and Dog Welfare
Improving the welfare of one improves the other
One Welfare
Females and puppies
Dog-Related Human Welfare
Human-related Dog Welfare

Bites and Aggression
Free-roaming dogs
Neglect / Cruelty / Indifference
Narrative Themes
Demographic Results
26 Males and 27 Females

had owned a dog in the past
currently own dogs
IFAW Northern Dogs Project: Jan Hannah - Mentor and Research Partner
Canisius College Anthrozoology Graduate Program Dr. Paul Waldau - Thesis Advisor
Northern Dogs Project
view their
dog(s) as family member or companion/friend
"...Mental wellness is a balance of the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional... Creation is a term that conveys an understanding of an Indigenous world view that embraces land, animals, birds, physical elements, air, water, the universe and all that it is as ‘relatives’. All of these ‘beings’ are created by the Great Spirit just as human beings are created by the Great Spirit. They are relatives that are ‘other-than-human beings’. They have a distinct purpose, they have a distinct identity, they have a distinct relationship with each other and humans, they have a place of belonging, and their existence has meaning unto themselves and in relation to each other and to humans."
Health Canada, 2015
First Nations Mental Wellness
Continuum Framework
"...In the old days, maybe in the 1900s, the dogs helped us carry all of our transportation - and they would feed them and they would move all our belongings. And today...it's different how we live today. We have vehicles, we have skidoos, we have bicycles, totally different."
Community A
spoke most about

External Service Providers may have impressions that undermine successful partnerships
Policies have not promoted capacity-building in communities
How we frame issues affects our success
Historically, regulations in different communities stifled their way of life and led to dependence upon us for guidance.
Human Health & Welfare
"...Having my own dog, someone to take care of me too. Someone that will keep me company. [laughter] He did very well. I was on a medical leave for three years and he was always with me."
"...That means that the dog has to be treated good and fed, be taken care of. And to have at least a dog...there's a lot of people here that own a dog that don't even own a dog house. They just sleep on the porch or under the porch. They don't even have a little roof."
Ideas about "attachment" were best-expressed through conversations
Every participant spoke about it and made a total of 842 (24%) references to "attachment"
Caring for
Speaking to - Patting
Special Dogs
Value is related to level of care
Small dogs are treated differently than large dogs
After S/N, small dogs are inside post-op and large dogs, even if puppies, are outside for recovery
Clean dogs facilitate attachment because they are more "touchable"
Loneliness and elders
Many spoke of it as "therapeutic"
Door to door work is very important - Elders can't make it into clinic
They want to take care of their dogs and need access to services
"George Bush"
"We had a special dog and his name was George Bush [laughter]. And I considered him as a therapy dog. And the reason why I say that is because my dad had mental health illness so at that time, my nephew and my niece, while they were young, and they just got this dog from out in the streets and we took the dog in and it really helped my dad with his daily routine lifestyle."
"I came home and I found a puppy. And it was half wolf and half German Shepherd, I think. It's name was Misty. And I looked after that dog. And every time I came back from work, I was always with Misty and the kids - my siblings - absolutely loved Misty. It was my first puppy for a long time until just recently. The reason for that was this: My grandmother absolutely HATED the dog. I think it was basically because it used to chase after the cats and whatnot. So, in the end - I left my grandparents for a long time after this - My grandmother told me to shoot it - and I shot it. And after that, I never lived with my grandparents for a long time."
"My dog is stinky" leads to a cycle of dirty -> won't get close -> won't bathe them
Companions to children
Touching and proximity enhances value and attachment
Cleanliness encourages proximity and touching
Having a dog is a source of emotional support
"Dog Health & Welfare"
Second most-referenced theme
(mentioned 627 times by all 53 participants)
How participants spoke about it

was significantly related to their

Female participants made more references to "dog health and welfare" than males
"...That we should take care of dogs like we take care of others. They can't speak for themselves. You know when a dog is unhappy. You see it in their eyes."

"...I find it worst when it's mating season. Because they'll go in packs and sometimes they'll beat up on a female dog - gang up on a female dog and for me, I'm really sensitive to that stuff. Honestly, for me it's like rape. Where the female is not giving it up and then she gets ganged up by three or four dogs - she gets beat up. That's the part I don't like about it."
"...He would have matted hair. He would constantly be grouchy. People would probably call him vicious or mean, but if you're hungry and thirsty, you know, I'd be mean too. Just walking around like he's not happy. Like he's got a sore leg, sore back - you can tell. They're just like people."
of dog owners reported that they
"pat and speak to"
57% identified their
17% mentioned a
community dog

19% mentioned a
family dog
In total,
owned and unowned dogs were mentioned
by name
in stories
Many more, equally compelling stories included dogs whose names were unknown
Through analysis, themes
believed that dogs in their community were

"happy, healthy and treated well"
Community members are noticing it and speaking out about it
Relationships are NOT a vet issue - not fixed solely by S/N
This is related to sharing, listening, helping
ie. Some people only feed their dogs once every 3 days - not because they don't care but because they don't have the knowledge
Free-roaming dogs
Free roaming dogs are simply dogs that aren't tied - some may not have owners, others do
Whether or not people admit to owning the dog, 99% are owned by SOMEONE
It's not normal for us so it surprises us and we feel the need to attach our own conclusions
We infer a lot about people's attachment to their dogs
Our own ideas of what 'should' make a dog 'happy'
of all participants spoke about “free-roaming dogs” - It was a divisive theme
The counterpart is
"tethering & leashing"
- also divisive
We care for things we 'need'
More than just fixing the free-roaming population - need a relationship with the owners
93% of participants spoke about
“human health and welfare”

Children and Dogs
of participants mentioned
in both positive and negative contexts
“Dog bites & aggression” dominant theme
Testament to having the right people doing the work in their own communities
There is a noticeable downward trend in references to
"dog bites & Aggression"
as we move from Community A through E
This was also a divisive theme
There is a robust association between
sentiment for
"children and dogs"

"...Especially little children, they're very rough with the puppies. They grab them by their legs and swing them around. I've heard of instances with young children that have harmed dogs and actually killed dogs so those in particular are RED FLAGS for me."
"...But there's a period where they like having puppies but when they start getting older, it's almost like that's when it shifts where they're pushed away or they're too big now, I don't want to take care of them."

"...There is a bonus to having animals for those that are able to take care of them. I think especially for the younger kids that have the puppies, they add that element of empathy towards another creature."

Gender Differences
Although both males and females mentioned
"bites and aggression"
equally, females spoke more than expected about
“fear of dogs”

Lack of understanding about dog behaviour
Children are most susceptible to dog bites
Young, male kids tend to provoke dogs
Intact male dogs tend to bite more
There is also a lack of understanding of what constitutes an actual 'dog bite'
Dog Waste and Garbage
Long History leading to distrust and disempowerment
Being over-studied
Indigenous Knowledge is a different way of knowing things
We need to open ourselves to this
Research "baggage"
Indigenous "way of knowing"
Storytelling is a natural way of sharing knowledge and a culturally appropriate research vehicle
The key to unlearning is humility
Between agencies, professionals and with communities
Have we figured out how to have true partnerships with communities in this work?
Avoid feeling taken for granted and frustrated when things don't go exactly as planned
Expectations can be managed by doing proper homework
are working
Communities don't have access to information about how to fix it
S/N, Removing dogs, Education, Microchipping are 'tools'
Providing tools alone is not sustainable
Communities need to have the opportunity to ASK what to do rather than be told
Sustainability takes A LONG TIME and is a long term commitment
You may be able to provide inputs immediately without empowerment or sustainability...
Many references to spiritual connection with dogs
"Narrative Theme: Reasons for having a dog..."
When asked if there had ever been a dog they considered"special":
“Neglect, cruelty & indifference”
was the dominant theme
"Females and puppies" was second most-discussed sub-theme
...A word about Grief & Trauma
Can't ignore the effects on community wellness
2/3 spoke about
in their narrative
Most themes also had many sub-themes
Not pre-determined
There were community differences in how people spoke about
"reasons for having dogs"
Aboriginal children in class: St. Philip's Residential School, Fort George, Que. (photo: "Where are the children? website: http://wherearethechildren.ca/ )
Research Associate had experience - worked and lived in the Cree communities
Research Associate - David Dyck-Fehderau
Mino-Bimaadiziwin / Mino-Pimatisiwin
"Living in a good way"
Full transcript