Today’s mailbox: Emergencies and emergency room workers

Letters to the editor published June 5

Family togetherness, services and kindness still go on inspite of COVID restrictions

Families and their pets are getting out much more, into the Yukon landscape, since COVID-19 has changed our lives this year. Being outside more with our pets also increases the chances of more porcupine encounters.

A friend, myself and three of our dogs took four horses on an adventure last weekend.

It was amazing as it always is on the Yukon landscape with eagles, beavers, moose and Dall sheep right near our camp.

Being up in the mountains all day Sunday, we figured it was time to head down by 5 p.m. Not far from the top, in the tiny aspen, two of our dogs ran into a porcupine family.

Well, I’m sure you know what happened next…

My biggest dog, Yuuna, was carrying a large black furry thing in her mouth. It was a young porcupine. Yuuna was covered in quills; smaller than adult ones, which made it hard to pull out. It was an impossible feat to accomplish on the mountain, in addition to her constant pawing at her mouth to get them out and stop the discomfort.

We were at least an hour hike from camp and three more hours by horseback to home, which would make our arrival at home 11 p.m. or later; would we be able to get a vet that late?

In 37 years of having dogs, I have always succeeded in pulling quills out myself. But this time, there were over 200 just inside the roof of her mouth. I needed a vet and I needed them as soon as possible.

Luckily my friend had brought her inReach. We texted my partner for help. We were near a lake that my friends could land on, but their floats weren’t on yet. A helicopter was our only option.

Cole, owner of Horizon Helicopters, was having quality time with his kids on a Sunday evening, but he “felt” the emergency and made arrangements for his children and immediately became available to start up and pick Yuuna and myself up.

We arrived in camp just in time to move the dancing horses to a safer place from the strong winds of the helicopter.

After many years of flying in helicopters for a living, my partner sitting in the front seat had made Cole aware of my knowledge so it would be safe for me to approach and enter. I jumped in after heaving my 80-pound dog in the backseat, while my 16-year-old son, Em, jumped out to be available to pack up the camp and trail the horses out with my friend.

After we landed, I called after hours Alpine Veterinary and Matt was available to help. What a relief! Matt and colleague Janilyn spent a full hour pulling over 300 quills out of Yuuna.

Matt informed me that we did the right thing because baby porcupine quills are a lot harder to get out and it would have been a lot worse if we had waited til the next day, not to mention Yuuna’s discomfort.

We can’t thank Cole with Horizon enough. Cole went out of his way with heartfelt kindess to rescue a dog that needed to be treated by a vet.

Thank you, Cole. We will never forget what you did.

Then Alpine stepped in and beautifully did their job. Thank you Matt and Janilyn.

My family stepped in and made it all happen.

What a wonderful ending to a beautiful weekend.

Deb Wild


Thanks from one essential worker to another

I am an emergency room nurse at Whitehorse General Hospital. This feels a bit late to be writing this, but I want to say a huge, heartfelt thank you for all the support and generous donations of food and treats sent to us and all hospital staff during this unprecedented and difficult time. The outpouring of community support has been heart-warming and at times overwhelming.

I also want to take the time to thank all those other workers on the “front lines” who have perhaps not received as much recognition as we have. As nurses, we sign up and commit to helping people, and we understand that this sometimes puts us in harm’s way. We are paid well, and we are well-informed on risks, and we are supplied with protective equipment to keep us safe.

The same cannot always be said for other folks working in grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, hardware stores, liquor stores, in the trades, etc. These businesses have continued to serve the community through these crazy times, and workers continue to come to work to ensure we can all shop for what we want and need. They might not see signs on their way to work with a big thank you on it, or get food dropped off, and they may not see posts on social media about how much they are appreciated. And most likely they did not sign up to get exposed to communicable diseases when they got hired. But they’re still doing it!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for doing your jobs despite possibly being afraid, so that we all can continue to access the things we need to survive! You are appreciated.

Emily Woodruffe


Letters to the editor

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