Often called rez dogs, the dogs who roam freely In many native communities around North America are stubborn and wily survivors who have attracted the attention of animal protection groups concerned about their health and safety. Animal services officer Norm Running Rabbit of the Siksika First Nation differentiates between dogs being “allowed” to roam free and being recognized “as free beings, as animals that should be without restraints.” A growing number of native tribes and nations have their own animal services agencies. Some bring vet clinics into their communities, some work with national organizations as well as local or regional humane societies.  Others are creating their own grassroots organizations to help dogs, inspire and educate others, build partnerships and community champions for rez dogs, and reclaim traditional relationships that have been damaged by residential schools, the reservation system, and intergenerational trauma.

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