On calm days, when no tourists are visiting the farm and the usual daywork is done, "snowwork" is one of the activities still waiting to be done. It simply means to remove disturbing snow from one place and put it to another. Today it had to be done in the fences. It's a great entertainment for the dogs and one of the most annoying things I did so far. The aim is to find the little wooden huskyhouses and free them from ice and snow. Sometimes you can hardly see them anymore. Just the dog's snouts or a pair of this beautiful eyes stick out from dark holes in the snowy hills. Indeed this work has to be done quite often; about once every 1-2 weeks depending on the snowfall. The snow becomes a thick ice layer after a couple of days and it requires a lot of physical strength and patience to remove it from there. The dogs are happy and take it as a game trying to catch your cap, hair, gloves,... whatever they can get jumping around you requesting penetrantly your attention. The braver ones even tried to get on my back when I ,deeply afflicted, belabored their houses.They didn't run today, so they had even more energy then usually.These sweet huskies are really lovely and always happy, if they can stay with you. I think they love their caretakers and I'm sure they are admired and beloved by the Erä-susi people. In any case the dogs receive a fondly and respectful treatment.
We freed the entrance and the small wooden platform of the house which is used by the dogs as an openair sleeping platform and works also as the canopy of the entrance. Actually when its not that cold the huskies tend to sleep outside. After a running session yesterday I saw a lot of them lying directly in the snow, sometimes partly covered with it, sleeping curled up. But since it is so cold in these days at least the older, often yet retired dogs and the puppies spend a lot of time in their shelters, which are filled with straw. It looks so cosy inside. What a pity that I'm much too big to slip in and hide there together with them.
|The human houses has to be "snowworked" as well from time to time.|
Since we had time today, my team members exploited the calm to introduce me into the caring of ill dogs. It happens quite often that the dogs hurt themselves.Sometimes during the training or the safaris, sometimes because of fight about food, etc. among each other....Infact a lot of dogs have scars around the snout, lost an ear or have scars left from other bite wounds.It happens.I was explained that often it looks worser than it actually is ,due to the fact that the blood spread out in the fur and gets frozen.It looks like if they were bleeding 'everywhere'. Normally their thick fur protects them from serious injuries.Dogs don't fight to kill, the just figure out who is the stronger one. Obviously the team pays attention to the security and the health of the dogs, too. But sometimes one gets seriously injured anyway. In order to be able to watch after the dog and handle the wounds properly the dog is taken to a stable. Separated from the others its wounds can heal preventing infections, since the other dogs can' t lick the wound or dirt can't come in. Right now Ukkonen (Finnish for thunder ) lives in the stable. He has a deep injury on his chest right behind his left foreleg. It's actually really serious-you can see the muscle...
It has to be washed several times a day with an idioferous tincture mixed by whoever takes care of Ukkonen that day. A tricky concern since obviously nobody wants to risk to poison him.
I'm not able to stay outside longer than 2-3 hours. Then I have to warm up with a nice warm tea and I need to put my feet on the heater. Even though I put the lent boots, I guess cold feet are now part of my life. Something one can hopefully get used to.
I will soon have 2 days off. I will dedicate one of them to take pictures of the dogs and write exclusively about them.
knowledge of the day: Don't forget to bring your sun cream! Even if the sun comes out just for a couple of hours a day, in combination with the snow it's still enough to slightly burn your skin...
|The safari house from the backside.|