OUR NEIGHBOURS – OOE: A little village in the city – Havelock Street Resident Enjoys The Sense of Community

Bonnie Weppler

Some time ago, Jenna de Jong started following people who mush on social media. “Mushing” involves dogs pulling some kind of sled, cart, skis or other transportation vehicles. Mushing is both a type of transportation and a sport.

de Jong spent some time in the north, including Iqaluit, and is fascinated with mushing, especially with the dogs who mush.

“Their resilience, stamina and enthusiasm: it is really amazing that the dogs have that kind of energy. And it was very special to see how these dogs are really a part of the culture up north.” It’s no surprise that when de Jong decided to foster dogs, her first dog was Marley, a husky.

“I got Marley, a retired sled dog, from Rocky Road Rescue on Easter weekend 2019. It was to be a short-term foster. The rescue organization thought that Marley didn’t get along with other male dogs. But he does; he’s got such a good nature, he’s patient and always in a good mood. And I fell in love with him,” she recalls.

Jenna de Jong at home with her dog, Marley, and Mr. Fox, the dog that she is currently fostering. Photo by Bonnie Weppler

Jenna de Jong at home with her dog, Marley, and Mr. Fox, the dog that she is currently fostering. Photo by Bonnie Weppler

Since Easter weekend 2019, Marley has been a permanent part of de Jong’s family. She has now fostered three dogs of different breeds and is currently fostering another male husky, Mr. Fox, but he will be going to his new family at some point in the future.

“I love to see the dogs progress and get more confident. That’s fun.” de Jong grew up in the Brockville area, then moved to Kingston to study at Queens’ University where she completed both her undergraduate degree and her law degree. She did her articling placement at an Ontario law firm and once she graduated, she joined that firm where she does a mix of civil litigation and regulatory advice.

Law wasn’t de Jong’s original choice of profession. “I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write science fiction. Science fiction written by women is different than when it is written by men.”

In August, de Jong will have lived in a townhouse on Havelock Street for four years. Before arriving on Havelock, she lived on Bank Street in a condo above the former Metropolitan Bible Church. She was drawn to Old Ottawa East because it seems like a little village within the city and it has a great sense of community.

“I liked the trees and the green spaces. And walking the dogs is an excellent way to meet people especially when you have a husky and a rotating cast of foster dogs!” de Jong talks about the day that she saw a team of Belgian draft horses pulling a buggy down Havelock Street one summer day! She also tells a story from when she lived on the hobby farm with her family outside of Brockville.

“We had two goats, a pony and a horse. The mare was in heat and decided she had to go see the neighbouring stallion. Off they go, the mare, the pony and the goats, marching down Highway 29. Yes, traffic got very backed up, but everyone made it home again!”

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