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When pets feel under the weather
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When pets feel under the weather

Happy Monday!

Months ago, my five-year-old Lhasa Apso cross gave us the impression he was a feeling a bit under the weather. Oliver was listless and uncharacteristically aloof, spending most of his time moping about or hiding inside clothes closets around the house.

When he did actually venture out of his crypts, his skin would actually quiver under our touch, making his mangy coat undulate beneath our hands, sort of like a furry wave.

I happened to be at work the day my worried daughter took him to the veterinarian’s clinic on Henderson Highway, where, after a preliminary examination and some blood tests, he was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection.

“He has so much bacteria in his blood,” the veterinarian announced to Emily before sending her home with antibiotics and some painkillers to ease his discomfort.

Urinary tract infections, it turns out, are fairly common in dogs. With UTIs, dogs generally try to urinate frequently or may strain while peeing. Unfortunately, we didn’t notice whether Oliver was peeing more often and never once came across any blood in his urine, which is a telltale sign of UTIs.

So, in hindsight, I guess you could say we were lucky that his infection was caught in time.

That wasn’t the case for a Winnipeg dog owner who was unable to pay for the life-saving surgery her dog needed after the pooch developed a uterine infection that was left untreated.

As a result, the pooch developed pyometra, a serious and life-threatening condition in the uterus that often requires immediate surgery. Unable to pay the $2,000 operation fee, Samantha Schacht surrendered her golden retriever to the Winnipeg Humane Society, which footed most of the bill for a hysterectomy.

Samantha Schacht was unable to pay for emergency surgery for her eight-year-old dog, Lexi, after she developed a treatable uterine infection called pyometra on the Easter weekend. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Now, I’ve never been in a situation where I couldn’t come up with the cost for my furry friends’ care. Somehow, some way, I always scraped together enough money to treat any condition my pets have developed.

Come to think of it, over the years I’ve coughed up thousands of dollars in pet care, most of which included spays, neuters, vaccinations and far too many euthanizations.

In Oliver’s case, his UTI set us back a whopping $1,000, a cost I can’t say I was happy to endure but glad that I could.

Leesa Dahl

Leesa Dahl

Ready Pet Go


Dogs in the office? Paw-sible. Pet ownership soared during the pandemic and workplaces are responding to changing employee needs

To offer compelling incentives to existing workers and prospective employees alike, more offices are allowing pets, primarily dogs, into the office.

The pros are simple: it’s comforting to have pets in the office and gives owners peace of mind; it can attract more talent to the workplace and offers a welcoming environment, said Souha R. Ezzedeen, associate professor at York University’s School of Human Resource Management. Read more about it here.

Traditional ways: Dogsled race covers 500 kilometres in the High Arctic



The Nunavut Quest is an annual dogsled race that has taken place in the High Arctic for more than 20 years, although it doesn't always cover the same ground. In 2014, for example, mushers raced the 400 kilometres between Igloolik and Pond Inlet.

Because of cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been two years since the Quest has been run. Read more about it here.

A dog team rests after Day 2 of the Nunavut Quest, roughly 130 kilometres from the starting point of Arctic Bay, Nunavut. (Dustin Patar / The Canadian Press)

Protection committee hangs up on call to rethink exotic pet bylaw

Hotly debated ideas to ban some “exotic” pets entirely and limit the numbers allowed in each Winnipeg household could soon be ruled out.

Last week, city council’s protection and community services committee voted 3-1 to delete a call for civic staff to report back within a year on responsible pet ownership bylaw changes for exotic animals. Read more about it here.

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