MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM — Dr. Jeremy Janzen, who died of cancer on Dec. 23, 2023, spent virtually all his time passionately caring for animals in need and will be deeply mourned, said Dana Haukaas, executive director of the Moose Jaw Humane Society (MJHS).
"It's a tragedy, and just so unfair that he was taken so early, he was only 39," Haukaas told MooseJawToday.com. "He did so much free stuff for us, he was always here helping and checking in on his patients.
" ... He was sick for about a year and a half, but he still came to work, sick, right up until he couldn't anymore. He loved his job. His entire life was helping people's pets. He took very little vacation time — he just loved to work and help the animals. He was an amazing guy."
Janzen began his veterinary career at the Moose Jaw Animal Clinic in 2010 after graduating with his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. He was known for his compassion for animals and hands-on involvement, often volunteering to take sick animals home for extra care and monitoring, "failing" to foster — because he adopted so many — and donating his time and expertise free of charge.
Haukaas said Janzen had very quick mind, and was beloved by those clients who wanted all the information about what could be going on with their pet.
"He loved when we would come in with a case that just stumped him, that was his favourite," Haukaas said. "His eyes would light up, he'd go to his computer, he'd go to his co-workers and bounce ideas off them left, right, and centre. And then, the 'ah-ha' moment when he figured it out, that was his reward.
"We saw him pretty much every day, because we always have someone going for a spay or neuter, or an animal who's just not feeling well. Everything from cuts and bumps and lumps to vomiting and diarrhea. Just animals not acting themselves, and he would figure it out and most of the time put them back on a path to feeling better.
"And when we had to make the difficult decision, under his guidance, that it wasn't fair to keep them going, he was right beside us for every step on that path, too."
Haukaas said the entire MJHS staff and volunteers would be mourning "Dr. Jeremy" for a long time. She has many stories and memories of him.
"We'd go over with tiny baby kittens that would fit in your hand with room to spare, and we'd be like, 'Oh man, we have no fosters that can look after these kittens,' and he'd say, 'That's OK, I'll take them home!' You have to get up every three hours to feed them when they're that small. And he'd do that, bring them to work with him to keep them looked after, and still put in his regular work hours."
Another story Haukass was able to laugh about was the time they called Janzen's cellphone in the middle of the night because a puppy had been found abandoned under the 4th Avenue bridge.
"It was like 1 a.m., and they brought this puppy to the clinic. It had fleas, so they treated it for fleas, and after getting it all cleaned up... It turned out to be a baby fox! So, they had to take it right back out and reunite it with its mum."
Janzen had several cats and dogs at the time of his death, and made arrangements for their rehoming. Shortly after his passing, his mother visited the Humane Society to drop off leftover leashes and bowls.
Haukaas said that Janzen's mother wanted to sponsor the adoption of a kitten in his name.
"He had a soft spot for cats — he was a bit of a crazy cat lady at heart. They tend to be a little slower to adopt out, so he wanted to help one, and his mum picked little Nola ... And we were able to surprise the young couple that were adopting her with the news that Nola's fee had been sponsored, so we were very grateful for that.
"We miss him every day."