MISSOULA, Mont. – Pets hold a special place in the lives of many people, including those who live on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation. But accessible pet care on the reservation was virtually non-existent until recently.
Thanks to a unique partnership between the Friends of Le Havre Animal Shelter, the Chippewa Cree Tribe and the Humane Society of Western Montana, hundreds of animals have received the care they otherwise would not have received.
On Saturday, five people who played a key role in bringing it to fruition will be honored at the Humane Society’s 24th annual Ken Shughart Award celebration.
In 2020, The Humane Society began delivering pet food to banks and shelters across the state, including Pete and Kim Federspiel of Haven Animal Services.
With that connection established and a need for accessible pet care on the reservation, Kim Federspiel with Friends of the Havre Animal Shelter partnered with the Humane Society for help.
“We wanted to know what their vision of the problem was and [how they could] offering resources on how to help with that,” Federspiel said. “So we offered to do spaying and spaying clinics more often than they were doing.”
Those conversations turned into plans. Last April, with the help of Tribal Councilor Bobbi Jo, JR Rosette of Rocky Boy Health Center and Chippewa Cree Tribe Fish and Game Supervisor Chris Wolf Chief, they ran a pop-up clinic at inside Rocky Boy’s fire station.
“Now that we have Pete and Kim here to help with outreach and help with everything else and the Western Humane Society, we have a better chance for our animals to survive,” Wolf Chief said.
Humane Society executive director Marta Pierpoint said work on the reservation paved the way for work in other rural areas of western Montana, including Libby, Eureka and Browning.
“Because we were able to do this in their area, we were also able to receive funding and expand our efforts into other areas. And now we’ve served over 2,200 pets,” Pierpoint said.
The Federspiel, Chris Wolf Chief, JR Rosette and Bobbi Jo will be honored at Saturday’s event. It starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Wilma. Click here to learn more about the event and to buy tickets.