Northern Reach Network

Northern Reach Network is a non-for-profit organization that was founded by the late Darlene Vezina in 2014. We volunteer closely with other animal organizations to support both people in Thunder Bay as well as First Nations Communities. We provide dog and cat food, access to medical assistance and advice on the care of their animals. In our first year, 285 dogs were brought into care. Since 2014, Northern Reach has grown to over 100 volunteers and has helped over 6,000 dogs and cats find forever homes. Northern Reach Network has partnered with many remote fly in communities to not only help sick, homeless, stray animals, but also bring in dogs and cats that are surrendered by community members that simply want a better life for their furry friend. Once they are flown into Thunder Bay, they are vetted if critically ill and fostered in volunteer homes temporarily until they travel to our partners in Southern Ontario where they are fostered and adopted to loving homes.

Our History

Words from our founder Darlene (April 13, 2018) : ‘Hello everyone! Darlene here. I just wanted to give you all a little history about how this group began. It started of course with a dog! The dog was hit by a car in the north, and I was contacted to help. I soon learned that there was nothing on site available (There were no pain meds, no crate in which to ship the dog out). There was absolutely nothing there to help this poor dog. And so it began – the networking to find a rescue for him, getting a crate sent up north for him, etc. Soon afterwards this dog came in to care. Then there were more dogs needing help, more requests for supplies and assistance. Also, members of northern communities started showing up and wanting to help!

And so – our network was born. Starting with a few dedicated fosters we continue to grow. However, since we did not want to flood Thunder Bay with more dogs looking for homes, we looked elsewhere for help. We soon realized that there were many people in southern Ontario looking for a new fur-baby to join their family. We began networking with groups in southern Ontario to transport these dogs there, from our temporary foster homes. These wonderful southern Ontario rescue groups have been the answer to a big question – what to do with so many dogs. These connections now enabled us to bring in even more dogs. From our beginnings in late 2014 until now(2018), over 3,000 dogs have been brought in under our care. What is great is that they now have loving fur-ever homes! I am so thankful to our awesome fosters, volunteers, and all of our supporters – like you! Our dedicated northern volunteers are making a BIG difference for the northern dogs. It is this amazing team that has helped us grow and also to save so many great dogs. I am so proud of our team and so very very thankful in my heart.’💙


Northern Reach has grown since its beginning in 2014

In the fall of 2014 (with 25 volunteers) Northern Reach assisted over 285 dogs

  • 2015 with 75 volunteers 315 dogs
  • 2016 with 100 volunteers over 400 dogs
  • 2017 with 110 volunteers over 567 dogs
  • 2018 over 600 dogs
  • 2019  over 750 dogs
  • 2020 over 1000 dogs
  • 2021 over 1200 dogs plus 50 cats
  • 2022  over 1400 dogs plus 200 cats
  • 2023  over 1000 dogs plus 350 cats



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Northern Reach Network operates entirely through the support of our network of volunteer foster homes. This means that we don’t have a shelter or one physical location.
The most obvious benefit of fostering is the emotional reward. It turns out doing good makes you feel good.
Our dogs come to us from an array of different backgrounds. We often don’t know much about their background prior to entering our care. Foster homes provide love, patience, and a much-needed safe haven to the dogs/cats in our care. We are ALWAYS in need of new fosters, whether you have experience or not, we’d love to have you!

We at NRN thank you so much for opening your heart and your home to these cats & dogs who desperately need your help. Without you, we could not save as many as we do.