Who has ever seen a dog eating knows that dogs have a strong appetite and can't really take a joke concerning their food. Today I learned how to prepare the huskies' dinner:
The Erä-susi huskies get special dog food with a high percentage of protein and fat. Living under hard conditions outside 24/7 they really need the extra portion meat, especially when they work.The huskies are fed with a mixture of dry fodder and fresh meat. Normally once a day,after the last running sessions in the afternoon, the team prepares the food and feeds the dogs. I counted that they process around 60 kg dry fodder and about I guess 30 up to 40 kg of pig or cow meat every day. That makes minimum 630 kg of pure ingredients every week! The puppies get an extra portion early in the morning. So I guess it might be a little more all in all. I have no idea if this is a lot compared to the relatively big number of dogs living here, but standing next to this high stacked up 15 kg sacks I feel quite small. And all this meat...To me it seems to be quite a lot.
How to mix the dog food? It's actually quite fascinating to watch how it's done, even though it's obviously no big deal:
Get yourself a huge plastic tub and dump a 15 kg sack of dry fodder in it. Take a block of half frozen minced meat and throw it in the tub, too. Then take an axe and chop it until it really looks like minced meat and not like a sidewalk flagstone anymore.(This part is absolutely recommendable if you have to reduce any phychological tensions or aggressions.) Then fill the tub up with hot water, get yourself a huuuuge mixer and mix it until it looks really disgusting. Drink a hot coffee meanwhile the dry fodder absorbs the hot water. The result should be a slimy, sticky, brown mass, which looks really nasty, but it doesn't smell at least-just like animal food and meat. Really ok!
Certainly it works with cold water as well, but since it takes its time to fill 200 tin bowls, it is better to use warm water in order to prevent the dog food from becoming ice cream before it reaches the fences.
I don't know how the caretakers can actually assess the dog's weigh under a massive fur. They will have their experiences. Since they work with them every day they know each dog really well.
The huskies get crazy as soon as they notice the snowmobile with the big green plastic tubs on its trailer. They start barking, howling, running like crazy round and round. Most of them jump,some just wait whimpering with begging look behind the doors of their fences and a couple climbs the fences to have a good view over the arriving food. I never saw one jumping over the barriers, although they wouldn't have any bigger problem to do so.
Thanks to good preparations and the good team everything is over in about an hour. The feeding is the last official part of the day, before everyone enjoys the happy hour.
I can handle the cold everyday better. That might be just an illusion since it's getting warmer. I have the impression that I slowly learn how to put my clothes on and off when it's needed and I can stay longer in the snow without getting really cold.
Today I had my really first snowmobile driving lession. It's much easier than driving a car. Everyone can learn it fastly, but still ... my somehow uncoordinated attemps are not really impressive yet. :)
Knowledge of the day: Perkele kylmä! ('Goddamn cold!') A good swearword (sometimes) breaks the ice!