About Us


Who Are We?


Our mission

The formal purpose of the Grey Bruce Aboriginal Qimmiq Team is to partner with First Nation communities in Northern Ontario to improve community and animal welfare by assisting with sustainable humane dog population control. Spay and neuter services as well as vaccination against communicable diseases, parasite control and animal identification is provided to the dogs in these communities. The Grey Bruce Aboriginal Qimmiq team is a completely volunteer driven registered charity.  

Geographical Isolation

Many First Nation communities lack access to veterinary care because of geographical isolation. Also, there is a lack of education, information and initiative to seek assistance when animals on First Nation communities reach levels of overpopulation, general poor health, or aggression. To that end, many communities have resorted to shooting feral dogs, or those dogs that are deemed aggressive or un-owned. In communities where there is a higher than normal dog bite incidence and human death due to dog aggression, this has historically been the only option available. And, not only are dog culls inhumane, they do not solve the problem. 

Assisting with population control humanely

The GBAQT has developed a model whereby we first select communities to assist based on their need, and their willingness to address and to continue to address dog population control in a humane manner. Our model is geared to achieve our goals while remaining culturally sensitive and respectful to each community that we partner with. 

The GBAQT has developed a model whereby we first select communities to assist based on their need, and their willingness to address and to continue to address dog population control in a humane manner. Our model is geared to achieve our goals while remaining culturally sensitive and respectful to each community that we partner with. 


Education and advice for the community

We offer education and advice for the development of companion animal care and control within the community. On each visit to the community there is a component of education offered to the school children on topics such as dog bite prevention, and basic animal care. Assistance with dog by law development and dog control is offered.  

100% volunteers

A team of 10-12 veterinarians, veterinary technicians and assistants are assembled in order to travel to the community to conduct up to five annual veterinary clinics. Each of the veterinary team members volunteers their time and expertise. .

The model

An annual visit to each community is planned until successful dog population control is achieved and also based upon the continued commitment of each community to our shared purposes. Further veterinary visits are made based on need for dog or animal population control as well as the support from the community and the availability of the team.


Success stories

The GBAQT has made five annual visits to Wabaseemoong Independent Nation at Whitedog, Ontario, starting in the year 2013.  Onigaming First Nation at Nestor Falls, Ontario, welcomed our assistance in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The team also collaborated with Beat the Heat, Kenora and the OSPCA to assist Whitefish Bay First Nation in February of 2016 with their dog population control effort. We returned to Whitefish Bay in 2017. Also in 2017, we partnered with Northern Spay Neuter Program from Thunder Bay and travelled to Big Grassy River. 

Some of the team members have also visited Moose Factory and Kashechewan First Nations along the James Bay Coast, and assisted other groups with veterinary clinics in these communities. 

In the five years since we have been an established group we have spayed or neutered almost 600 dogs and vaccinated and given wellness treatment to a total of over 800 animals. All these animals have received identification by tattoos or microchips and their individual pictures and health information has been left in the respective communities as well as a microchip scanner.

Bonds and parterships

Over the years we have forged bonds and partnerships and friendships with many new people in the north. We have also seen parts of Ontario that many people do not see. We have seen the northern lights, experienced the ceremony of sweat lodges, ice fished, seen lots of bears and moose and some wolves, been smudged, driven through a snowstorm on May 24th, seen the poor housing conditions in most reserves, experienced boil water conditions, seen more ticks on dogs than we can count, been “drummed in” to welcome us and “drummed out” to say goodbye, seen pictographs, and forest fires and listened to many stories from elders about the Creator as well as Ojibway traditions. 

The Team


Dr. Linda Bolton - President

Dr. Linda Bolton graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1984. She has lived and

practiced in the Grey Bruce area ever since. Along with Dr. Sally Parks she became the owner of

Mullen Small Animal Clinic in 1993. She lives in the country with her husband, Russ, and a

plethora of dogs and pet chickens, turkeys and geese.

Dr. Bolton is currently the Chair of the Awards Committee of the Ontario Veterinary Medical

Association, a past president of the Grey Bruce Veterinary Association, a retired St. John

Ambulance Therapy Dog Handler, and a newly retired coach for the Art of Veterinary Medicine

at the Ontario Veterinary College. She received the OVMA Award of Merit in 2009.

Once her three children grew up, Dr. Bolton found herself with time on her hands, and a love of surgery.

Apparently running a practice just wasn’t enough to keep her busy. And so she began a relationship with

First Nation Communities in Northern Ontario and their dogs. After five years of helping provide

veterinary care in a number of remote communities from 2005 to 2010, Dr. Bolton formed the Grey

Bruce Aboriginal Qimmiq Team in 2012.

The GBAQT started with four key members and has grown into a large group of veterinarians, veterinary

technicians, and support team members. In 2017 the group became a registered charity. Dr. Bolton

devotes her spare time to working with communities interested in achieving successful dog population

control and coordinating the trips to these communities. The team members, who live and work all over

Ontario travel to these northern communities with the necessary equipment and pharmaceuticals for a

full service accredited spay neuter clinic once invited to do so.

Dr. Bolton is hoping that with collaboration between interested Aboriginal communities and groups like

the GBAQT, we can achieve success and sustainability with Aboriginal dog population control where this

has not been possible or available before now.


Gary Sheppard RN- Vice president/Treasurer



Lydia Clayburn RVT- Secretary

Lydia has over 20 years working as a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) with

dogs and cats. Lydia has a special affinity for small carpet shark type dogs because as

she says “we understand each other.”

She is currently working full time in Bylaw for the City of Ottawa and part time at

Pretoria Animal Hospital. She also volunteers with spay/neuter clinics run in partnership

with Community Vet Outreach and the City of Ottawa. These clinics serve the animals

of the homeless or marginally housed people of Ottawa.

Lydia is a director of the GBAQT and is our secretary. She has volunteered with

GBAQT for 6 years. During that time she has participated in 2 sweat lodges, an ice

fishing adventure and attended a drum ceremony held in our honour. She says that the

reason she volunteers is for the bannock. She is just kidding; she volunteers for the

dogs, the community and she likes the team.

Lydia’s vision for the future of the GBAQT is to recruit new team members and mentor

new RVT’s and Veterinarians. She would also like to rescue a dog, perhaps an older

one that needs a retirement home.


Helena Dean DVM- Chair of Fundraising

Dr. Dean graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.Sc. and D.V.M.

degree from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1989.  Upon graduation

Helena joined an exclusive equine practice for 14 years in the Greater

Toronto Area (GTA). During that period she also did small animal locums at

varying clinics in the GTA. Dr. Dean opened up and continues to run her

own small animal practice, Dean Veterinary Hospital in Kleinburg, Ontario

in 2004. She has 1 veterinary technician, 1 veterinary associate and 2

animal care assistants at the hospital.  Her unique clinic is really a mixed

animal practice as 10% involves horses, 60 % involves cats and dogs and

the remaining 30% is pocket pets and pet pigs. 

Dr. Dean has been volunteering with the Grey Bruce Aboriginal Qimmiq

team (GBAQT) for the past 5 years and has travelled to several First

Nations Reserves to do spay/neuter and vaccine clinics. It takes a certain

personality type to participate in these types of clinics: one must be a team

player and be able to work in a field situation. Dr. Dean has volunteered

with the GBAQT group because she believes we should help remote First

Nations Reserves to provide ongoing population control, vaccination

against diseases (rabies especially) and reduce parasite burdens in dogs

living in close contact with people.

Dr. Dean envisions that in the future more than one group will work

together to provide a unified approach for population and disease control in

the First Nations Reserves in northern Ontario.


Barb Sheppard RN- Director