Ee-mee-tah is the Blackfeet Indian word for dog and their word for cat is Poos. Friends of Ee-mee-tah and Poos is located in Browning, MT. Created in 1996, the organization has been working to improve the living conditions of dogs and cats on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Life for these animals is usually short and miserable. Cases of parvo, distemper and mange are all too common. Many of the dogs are run over by cars and each loss of life seems to matter to very few people.
Harvey Fine, a Canadian citizen, would frequently travel through the Town of Browning on business. During each visit he would see malnourished, sick dogs wandering the streets. This was because very few people had fenced yards and the dogs roamed freely. At the local convenience store, desperate dogs, often shadowed by starving puppies, hung out hoping someone would take pity on them and throw them a handout. Harvey was one of the few who seemed to care. He would gather up as many of the dogs as he could and take them to the closest veterinarian which was 18 miles west of Browning. He would pay for vaccines and made sure the dogs had good food to eat. If the veterinary hospital could not find a home for the dogs, Harvey would take them back with him to Calgary, Alberta. It was his compassion and determination that resulted in many of these dogs getting a second chance at life.
Harvey knew that a more effective solution had to be found for dealing with the stray animals on the reservation. Eventually, Harvey met with Charles Berger. Charles was a Program Manager working to start a Blackfeet Animal Control agency. Their meetings led to the formation of Friends of Ee-mee-tah and Poos. Harvey made an initial donation of $1,000 to get the organization off the ground. From the beginning, the mission of Friends of Ee-mee-tah and Poos has been to assist families of Glacier County with veterinary care for their dogs and cats as well as offering low cost spay and neuter.
All donations are used to cover the cost of rescuing dogs and cats on the reservation and covering veterinary costs for as many of the animals as possible. Friends of Ee-mee-tah and Poos spends an average $20,000 a year to meet the medical needs of dogs and cats on the Blackfeet Reservation, the Town of Browning and the town of Cut Bank – all in Glacier County, MT. Since its inception, the organization has been responsible for over 1,000 dogs and cats being spayed and neutered thanks to a grant from the Sands Memorial Foundation. These efforts have been expanded by the Montana Spay/Neuter Task Force who have spayed and neutered an additional 800 Blackfeet Reservation dogs and cats at no charge to their caregivers.
Friends of Ee-mee-tah and Poos has rescued and adopted out hundreds of dogs by networking with veterinarian Ethel Connelly, to whom Harvey would initially take the dogs he found. The organization also works with the Flathead Spay/Neuter Task Force, Animal Rescue Foundation of Calgary Alberta, the Missoula Humane Society and animal rescue groups in Montana and Idaho to ensure as many dogs and cats as possible don’t spend their lives living on the streets, scrounging for food. Sadly though, for every dog that Friends of Ee-mee-tah and Poos saved, 25 others will be euthanized by Blackfeet Animal Control.
It was the compassion of one man that led to improved living conditions for the animals on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and SPCA International applauds his initial efforts and the result of his determination not to turn his back on animals desperately in need of help.