Fizz is just ten weeks old, thought to be a puppy in most places we know. Where she comes from though she has already aged, found wisdom, witnessed more than she should and survived. Fizz is from Attawapiskat and she is suffering from rickets, an illness caused by malnutrition. Food that is not scarce, is expensive up north. Shelter is not guaranteed for anyone, let alone an unwanted puppy. People deal with their own hardship and those who don’t, do not invite another person’s problems to be their own. Some ignore out of choice, and some because there is no choice. And, in the midst of the human condition, an orphan puppy struggled to survive.
Northern dogs are brilliantly smart because they have to be. They are true and honest dogs because they live by instinct and their wits. Only the strong survive. They do not live as our dogs do. They are not bred for looks or raised in comfort.
Street dogs and strays everywhere live with the same kind of precariousness, but northern dogs are more isolated than most. Still, there is nothing more grateful, than a rescued dog and Fizz is no exception.
This little girl of innocence is without girth or weight. She is all fluff with a short tail, bowed legs and crooked paws. To look at her is to know sweetness and adoration yet her young life was not appreciated, respected or valued. Instead, money had to be made from this little thing and airfare of $141.25 paid to free her. That was the cost of saving her life and sparing her the suffering she would have faced if left behind. We pay airfare for every dog we rescue from Attawapiskat but it is the tiniest of them, those that take up little space and add no weight, that make this so wrong. The alternative is more than suffering and the sure death of a dog. It is a small body found hidden among debris by kids playing, or a broken heart if someone happened to love this little one. It can mean disease and contamination. It means cruel disregard and so much more. But not for Fizz. The money was paid, and will be again and again, because that is what we do together.
I held her for just a moment before she told me who she was. We were driving her south and while her bowed legs suggested rickets and her crooked paws indicated weakness, her spirit was pure fizz. She bubbled over with gratitude, hope and glee. No matter how well she was able to travel life’s road, she knew she was on her way. She had intention, determination and faith in herself.
Because her condition was caught early and attended to quickly, Fizz will recover completely. The right diet has already begun to correct her crooked paws and her legs straighten more every day. She wriggles with delight when picked up and looks over my shoulder with anticipation. What pup from Attawapiskat could have imagined the world was so big? We haven’t told her yet that there is more beyond the fence. She will be a match for whatever comes her way though and I have promised her wonderment and love. She will bring the delight, the joy and the adventure, for she is Fizz.