A Relationship, Fraught: Discussing The Role of Dogs in Native Communities with WSPA’s Josey Kitson

Often considered a “third world within the first world” the hardships that aboriginal nations in Canada face on reserves are staggering. Lack of proper infrastructure, access to education, or clean drinking water are problems that are all too common, and these communities struggle on a consistent basis to get their basic needs met. In such communities, dogs play the role of companion, but also of worker, helping transport people and goods, and providing other services for the community. Unfortunately, as many of these communities struggle to meet their basic needs, the basic needs of their companion and working dogs too go unmet, resulting in overpopulation issues and more.

On this program, we speak with WSPA’s Canadian Project Manager Josey Kitson, who has worked extensively with remote aboriginal communities to help them with their issues surrounding working and companion dogs. Though it is obviously a difficult issue to tackle in a colonial society such as Canada, Kitson shares with us WSPA’s consultative and coordinated approach, which involves working closely with native communities to ensure that WSPA’s work is done in a way that benefits the dogs involved, while taking seriously the communities’ need for self-determination.

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