FRAN HURCOMB, MUSHER AND YELLOWKNIFE ORIGINAL
Fran Hurcomb moved to Yellowknife in time to experience the last few years of trapping and mushing as a way of life, just before the skidoo gained widespread popularity. She quickly fell in love with Old Town Yellowknife, a ramshackle community of artists and trappers and is still there today. She has witnessed firsthand the changes that have taken place over the years and is a passionate storyteller about her life here.
SCOTT McQUEEN AND JORDAN JAMES-McQUEEN, DOG MUSHERS
Scott McQueen still continues the tradition of keeping dogs today. He lives with his family just outside Yellowknife, NT, and keeps a team of dogs for racing. His daughter, Jordee, started learning to drive a dogteam when she was only seven years old, and has competed in the Yellowknife Championship Dog Derby, a three day race that both her grandfather, uncle and father competed in before her. They share stories about three generations of mushers, and what keeping dogs has meant to them.
NICOLE SPENCER, PRESIDENT, NWT SPCA
Nobody knows about the plight of Northern dogs better than Nicole Spencer, president of the NWT SPCA. For the past two and a half years Nicole has been working hard with animal rescue groups across the North to find unwanted and stray animals homes, either in her hometown of Yellowknife, NWT, or down south. With so many communities not having access to veterinary care, many families are not able to spay and neuter their dogs, and populations can grow very quickly. Fortunately, the NWT SPCA has rallied immense community support, and now has a growing network of foster families and volunteers that help pick up and bring dogs to the airport, take care of young puppies that are too small to away from their mothers, and raise funds for a dedicated animal shelter. Through the use of social media and immense personal effort, the NWT SPCA has saved hundreds of dogs in the past year alone, and is now well on their way to having their animal shelter, the first SPCA animal shelter in Northern Canada.
GREG STROMGREN, VOLUNTEER VET & RESCUE, INUVIK
Greg and Linda Stromgren moved their family to Inuvik in 2005. Both passionate animal lovers, they were shocked when they found so many stray and loose dogs in the community, and after losing the community’s full-time veterinarian in 2010, the situation went from bad to worse. Linda and Greg started the Beaufort Delta SPCA and have been busy saving dogs ever since. They work closely with other animal rescue groups such as the NWT SPCA, based in Yellowknife, and Pawsitive Match, based in Edmonton. Greg was also trained by a veterinarian to euthenize injured or dying animals, and is frequently called upon by bylaw to assist when an animal cannot otherwise be saved. As Linda says, “it takes someone with strength and compassion,” and these two clearly have their share of both.
WADE FREISEN, VOLUNTEER
Wade Friesen is a Yellowknife-based contractor and dog lover. Originally from Whitehorse, Yukon, Wade has spent his life in the North, and knows first-hand about the challenges that living in such a harsh and remote climate face to dogs and their owners. When he adopted his own dog, Misty through the NWT SPCA, he found a community of people that were working hard to improve the conditions for dogs across the North and dove right in. Wade has fostered many of the SPCA’s more difficult dogs, those that had behavioural issues or past trauma, and has helped them recover and become ready for a new home. Wade was also instrumental in the NWT SPCA’s campaign to raise funds for a Northern animal shelter.