When our friend Cameron was here for 3 weeks this past winter, life in the yard and on the trail seemed to be a good bit easier to organise. The ability to have all the running dogs out at more or less the same time made training easier and quicker. With the 3 of us to feed dogs, scoop and generally share all the work, it meant there was much more free time for just being with the dogs as well as getting the training miles in.
Those facts restarted the debate between my wife and I about whether we should seek a handler for this coming winter. It’s a debate that continuously fails to reach a satisfactory conclusion – in fact it usually fails to reach any sort of conclusion at all and we move on to some other topic. However, we keep revisiting the subject and have more or less agreed that perhaps it might be a good idea. As you can see, we’re hardly bursting with enthusiasm but we can definitely see the advantages – as well as some of the pitfalls. We have eventually decided that even if we advertise for a handler, it doesn’t mean we’re committed to taking one – we’d rather do without than have the wrong person here.
Anyway, we have posted the ad on a couple of the Siberian forums in the UK that we are members of and are waiting to see if anyone is mad enough to want to come out here, and if we feel they’ll be a good fit with us and our pampered pooches.
We are looking for a handler to help us out in the kennel for this coming winter.
For those who don’t know us, we now live in Willow, Alaska, following our move from Scotland last summer.
We are home to 31 Siberian Huskies/Seppala Siberian Sleddogs and 1 crazy GSD.
We are a mid-distance kennel, aiming primarily at 200 and 300 mile races.
Handler’s duties would include assisting in feedings, which we do twice a day, scooping the yard, helping with hook up, assisting in dog care chores, running a sled and pretty much anything else that needs doing. If you can cook, then that is something else added to your list.
Hours are variable and long, there’s no pay, and no union !
The work is pretty relentless, if the dogs are all sorted and happy, then something else probably needs doing. Chances are you will be cold, wet, too hot, dirty, scratched, smelly, bruised and exhausted at the end of the day. Ideally, you should be in reasonable physical condition (because I’m not and someone needs to be) – you will need to carry 5 gallon buckets full of water, meat and kibble, and obviously buckets full of food going one way result in almost as full buckets of poop going the other way.
You won’t be asked to do anything we don’t do and you won’t be left to get on with things unattended except in the direst emergency.
We have some big, strong dogs, some upwards of 60 lbs, and you’d need to be confident that you can cope with walking those dogs around and also boosting them into the truck – we also have small, lighter girlies, so it’s not all powerlifting.
Alaska gets very short days in the depths of winter, around 5 hours of daylight and it gets cold ( we saw -35F this winter and this was a mild year. )
If you have a driving licence that would be a benefit, and you will need to be ready to drive on snow and ice.
In exchange for signing away all your freedoms for your time with us, you will have your own centrally heated 1 bedroom apartment, complete with full kitchen and bathroom, all your meals, cable tv, internet and more sled miles than you can shake a stick at.
We have trail access from our yard for both 4 wheeler and sled running. The trails from here go hundreds of miles in all directions.
Willow is home to the official Iditarod Restart, which takes place on Willow Lake, about 4 miles from us. There are around a dozen kennels in the immediate locale, as well as many others in the surrounding area.
If you would like to know more or have any further questions, please send us an email to gealachmor at aol.com (replacing at with the usual @)