N.W.T.-based Buffalo Airways is mourning the loss of its beloved shop dog, Jojo, who spent 15 years living in the airline's Yellowknife hangar and keeping air freight safe from ravens.
"He made his home in the auto shop, that was his area," says Buffalo Airways general manager Mikey McBryan.
Jojo, a rescue dog from the South Slave region, was known to people outside the company as well as he was featured often on the television show Ice Pilots NWT.
Despite all the attention, Jojo never quite managed to shed his grouchy demeanour.
"Jojo scared everybody at some point," McBryan recalled.
"You're going through the auto shop late at night to grab a fork lift or something, and he's like a guard dog, so him coming out of the blue and jumping and barking, it caught me off guard a bunch of time."
Nevertheless, McBryan remembers Jojo as a valuable member of the Buffalo team — protecting expensive ground equipment as well as freight bound for communities across the N.W.T.
"Jojo was always patrolling the yard and chasing the ravens away. Ravens are enemy number one when it comes to aircraft freight because they just go for any food.
"When you have someone like Jojo, it's like a real-life scarecrow out there to keep the food safe."
A fond farewell
After a long and happy life, Jojo had grown quite sick in the past year and could no longer see or hear. That led to a difficult decision.
"The doctor came out and put Jojo down where he loved it the most — in the auto shop," said McBryan.
"Some of the pilots came in with McDonald's, Jojo loved McDonalds, so there were bacon cheeseburgers and hot dogs and everyone was really sad, but he was comfortable, and that's the number one thing."
McBryan says he'll miss the familiarity of having Jojo in the shop the most.
"He was there half my life. I'm 33 and he's 15, so half my life he was here."
According to McBryan, it's going to take some time before the company can think about getting another shop dog to fill Jojo's shoes.
"I've already been receiving calls this morning about guys wanting to drop off a dog, so we already have a couple potential applicants for the job, but I think we're going to take some time and not jump into a new animal so quickly."