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Monday, May 28, 2007

Dog Yard Helper

Melanie brushing Phoenix.

Icoa doesn't waste any time asking for a tummy rub.

Ilu and Melanie.

Ilu the lap dog.

Points Unknown is fortunate enough to have the very best dog yard helper/dog handler. Sixteen year old Melanie, in addition to helping with numerous fall and winter dog activities, comes out every other weekend to help with the never ending dog yard chores, after her job at a local veterinary clinic.

The arrival of Spring meant kennel clean up and the moving of dirt around in kennels to fill holes. Shade cloth for the dogs was hung and kennel repairs were made. Straw was cleaned out of dog houses and kennels were raked. Kennels and dog houses were sprayed with a mild solution of bleach and water to remove some of the smell and to help eliminate ground parasites. Toenails were clipped, if needed. Heartworm medicine was administered for the first time this season. And all dogs were given their spring wormer.

Shedding season recently began and the brushing chores are in full force. Each dog requires daily brushing until done shedding. The backyard takes on the appearance of a winter wonderland as the blanket of undercoat spreads and rests atop the grass. Providing their undercoat is a way the dogs contribute to the bird population in the backyard, as we find many bird nests made from twigs and dog hair.

Every few days, the dog "pools" are emptied and filled with fresh water. On a weekly basis, they are scrubbed free of the accumulated algae. 65 gallon sheep tanks make perfect hard surface dog pools that are located in most of the kennels and in the play areas. Water buckets require more frequent scrubbing and water is changed every day. Feeding takes place twice a day and all get out to play in groups on a daily basis.

All of the work required to have a life with sled dogs is balanced by the rewards of having many adventures with them on the trail as a group as well as those special one on one moments with each dog in training, canicrossing, packing or just hanging out in the dog yard. I'm glad our helper also thinks so.

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