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Interview with a Husky Ranch Eastern Canada Volunteer

Interview with a Husky Ranch Eastern Canada Volunteer

Author -  Rasmus Kristiansen

Thinking about getting the full on dogsledding experience by volunteering at a husky ranch? We asked a past volunteer some FAQs so you know what you're getting yourself in for... 

 

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-5.png

 

What was your favourite thing about volunteering at the ranch?



One of my favourite things about my trip was definitely the feeling you get in your body every time the sled gets started. it's an indescribable feeling to feel how the dogs are rearing to go out and run, but also things like the stunning scenery and the team spirit that prevails among the staff, it's great. :)

I found it really special there because there is this big family feeling about it, and you are included in that family as soon as you arrive. Everybody works really hard but at the end of the day everybody relaxes and has a good time together.



How much time with the dogs do you get?

It was also kind of special because they bring dogs everywhere at all time, so you will get as much time with the dogs as you want to. It was quite normal to see five people and a pair of dogs in the morning when people meet in for work.. so don’t worry, you will get as much time as you want with the lovely dogs.

 


iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-9.png

What would you recommend packing?


I can definitely recommend wool. I had a big thick wool coat and wool pants that helped me to keep warm.
I went in thrift store and bought my jacket and pants before the trip, cause kennel work is hard and dirty, so things break.. good advice is to not to take fine new jackets, find something you can throw out before you go home again.
I also had three sets of hats and gloves along for the ride.. again things get dirty and wet so it's nice to be able to change.

 

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-1.png

How cold is it going to be?

I was there in January-March. Minus 30 - 40 degrees is cold, very cold.. but you're working still so you can work to the heat..
I experienced a prolonged period of so cold temperature and at some point you get used only to it.. but most of the days the temperatures were around minus 20 degrees

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-11.png

What was your least favourite part?

My least favourite parts were definitely the days when it was raining and you still had to work in the kennel or on trips in the rain, it was not particularly fun... it rained at the end of March mostly.. in January and February we just got a lot of snow.

What was a normal day like?

The daily work was pretty much the same every day. Meet to work at 06.30 at 07.00 you go to the kennel to do the feeding and make everything ready to the day, find sleds, make teams etc. if you are on trip you will be ready to leave around 10.00 and then you are out the rest of the day..
When you come back at night you help whit the afternoon feeding of the dogs before you go home to have dinner whit the rest of the staff members.
Of course if you are on overnight trips the day looks a bit different.
if you are not on trip you will help sending out teams before you go back and do other practical stuff such as fixing sleds, packing food or whatever needed to be done.
Then around 4 pm you will go back to the kennel and help whit the afternoon feeding..

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-10.png

 

How many days off did you get?

During peak season, they are working seven days a week, from 6:30 am to 7pm taking customers out and also doing overnight trips. That also means that there are really no days off during this time. I was there for three months and had a total of three whole days when I was not at work. It may sound really hard, and sometimes it is, but at the same time it is also a lot of fun.
It's not so bad once you get to it. It's long working days but you have many small breaks during the day.

When the season is over they can relax a bit more and you can have more days off.

If you have an evening off I can strongly recommend Sherris diner in town, it is a really nice place, great food and cheap prices.

What's the food situation like?

During the day you get food, snacks, breaks etc.. (you will be responsible for your own breakfast before meeting for work). Dinner was the best because you were at a big table with everybody and it had that real family feel.

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-6.png

What did you do during time off?

The ranch is so far away from everything that there really is nothing to do but work. there is a small town that counts a gas station, one grocery store and a lot of houses, so on my days off, I used the time to relax and sleep, and talk to family back home.
I was not out to sledding at night, for the simple reason that it is too dangerous.. but I was on some overnight trips and the time in camp at night was absolutely amazing.. to sit around a camp fire and see the dogs resting after a long day whit only the little lights from the tents to light up the camps spot is an amazing feeling..
when I write hard work I mean long hours of physical activity throughout the day. lifting many things round, drags a lot of things back and forth in the kennel and handle and play with the dogs..
but everybody work all the time so you will never find anyone who is just stand still and look on while others work.

How long would you recommend staying?

I was there for three months and it was the time of my life. For me three months was the perfect time, not to short not too long. I was there from January to the first week of April and that it the top season, in that time period there is a lot of customers and long days in the kennel.
As soon as you get use to the very simple life style there, I am sure you will have a great time. 

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-3.png

 

What advice would you give someone who was going to volunteer?

I would say to make sure that you get into it as much as you can, you’ll get out just as much as you put in. It’s a family environment and they want people who use their initiative and who will come in and be comfortable as a member of the team.
It would be to forget all the things you have read about daily work, etc. and then just learn from the people you will meet there

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-2.png

Was it worth going?

I definitely think it was worth it to go. I know it may seem a little confusing with applying for various visas, long flights, etc. but the experience of seeing the wild nature and the beautiful bond between humans and animals was so amazing to experience. :)
the way it has impacted me is definitely that I have found out that I can take care of myself .. and that it's okay that it sometimes does not go as planned.
my trip last winter did that i learned more about myself and what I want with my life .. and it had a big impact on the way I see the world.. and it has made it possible that I can go working with dogsledding this winter again :)

 

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-8.png

Interview with a Husky Ranch Eastern Canada Volunteer

Rasmus is from Denmark and adored his time at the Husky Ranch in Eastern Canada and wants more Kiwis to do it! Find out what he has to say about it here

Thinking about getting the full on dogsledding experience by volunteering at a husky ranch? We asked a past volunteer some FAQs so you know what you're getting yourself in for... 

 

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-5.png

 

What was your favourite thing about volunteering at the ranch?



One of my favourite things about my trip was definitely the feeling you get in your body every time the sled gets started. it's an indescribable feeling to feel how the dogs are rearing to go out and run, but also things like the stunning scenery and the team spirit that prevails among the staff, it's great. :)

I found it really special there because there is this big family feeling about it, and you are included in that family as soon as you arrive. Everybody works really hard but at the end of the day everybody relaxes and has a good time together.



How much time with the dogs do you get?

It was also kind of special because they bring dogs everywhere at all time, so you will get as much time with the dogs as you want to. It was quite normal to see five people and a pair of dogs in the morning when people meet in for work.. so don’t worry, you will get as much time as you want with the lovely dogs.

 


iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-9.png

What would you recommend packing?


I can definitely recommend wool. I had a big thick wool coat and wool pants that helped me to keep warm.
I went in thrift store and bought my jacket and pants before the trip, cause kennel work is hard and dirty, so things break.. good advice is to not to take fine new jackets, find something you can throw out before you go home again.
I also had three sets of hats and gloves along for the ride.. again things get dirty and wet so it's nice to be able to change.

 

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-1.png

How cold is it going to be?

I was there in January-March. Minus 30 - 40 degrees is cold, very cold.. but you're working still so you can work to the heat..
I experienced a prolonged period of so cold temperature and at some point you get used only to it.. but most of the days the temperatures were around minus 20 degrees

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-11.png

What was your least favourite part?

My least favourite parts were definitely the days when it was raining and you still had to work in the kennel or on trips in the rain, it was not particularly fun... it rained at the end of March mostly.. in January and February we just got a lot of snow.

What was a normal day like?

The daily work was pretty much the same every day. Meet to work at 06.30 at 07.00 you go to the kennel to do the feeding and make everything ready to the day, find sleds, make teams etc. if you are on trip you will be ready to leave around 10.00 and then you are out the rest of the day..
When you come back at night you help whit the afternoon feeding of the dogs before you go home to have dinner whit the rest of the staff members.
Of course if you are on overnight trips the day looks a bit different.
if you are not on trip you will help sending out teams before you go back and do other practical stuff such as fixing sleds, packing food or whatever needed to be done.
Then around 4 pm you will go back to the kennel and help whit the afternoon feeding..

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-10.png

 

How many days off did you get?

During peak season, they are working seven days a week, from 6:30 am to 7pm taking customers out and also doing overnight trips. That also means that there are really no days off during this time. I was there for three months and had a total of three whole days when I was not at work. It may sound really hard, and sometimes it is, but at the same time it is also a lot of fun.
It's not so bad once you get to it. It's long working days but you have many small breaks during the day.

When the season is over they can relax a bit more and you can have more days off.

If you have an evening off I can strongly recommend Sherris diner in town, it is a really nice place, great food and cheap prices.

What's the food situation like?

During the day you get food, snacks, breaks etc.. (you will be responsible for your own breakfast before meeting for work). Dinner was the best because you were at a big table with everybody and it had that real family feel.

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-6.png

What did you do during time off?

The ranch is so far away from everything that there really is nothing to do but work. there is a small town that counts a gas station, one grocery store and a lot of houses, so on my days off, I used the time to relax and sleep, and talk to family back home.
I was not out to sledding at night, for the simple reason that it is too dangerous.. but I was on some overnight trips and the time in camp at night was absolutely amazing.. to sit around a camp fire and see the dogs resting after a long day whit only the little lights from the tents to light up the camps spot is an amazing feeling..
when I write hard work I mean long hours of physical activity throughout the day. lifting many things round, drags a lot of things back and forth in the kennel and handle and play with the dogs..
but everybody work all the time so you will never find anyone who is just stand still and look on while others work.

How long would you recommend staying?

I was there for three months and it was the time of my life. For me three months was the perfect time, not to short not too long. I was there from January to the first week of April and that it the top season, in that time period there is a lot of customers and long days in the kennel.
As soon as you get use to the very simple life style there, I am sure you will have a great time. 

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-3.png

 

What advice would you give someone who was going to volunteer?

I would say to make sure that you get into it as much as you can, you’ll get out just as much as you put in. It’s a family environment and they want people who use their initiative and who will come in and be comfortable as a member of the team.
It would be to forget all the things you have read about daily work, etc. and then just learn from the people you will meet there

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-2.png

Was it worth going?

I definitely think it was worth it to go. I know it may seem a little confusing with applying for various visas, long flights, etc. but the experience of seeing the wild nature and the beautiful bond between humans and animals was so amazing to experience. :)
the way it has impacted me is definitely that I have found out that I can take care of myself .. and that it's okay that it sometimes does not go as planned.
my trip last winter did that i learned more about myself and what I want with my life .. and it had a big impact on the way I see the world.. and it has made it possible that I can go working with dogsledding this winter again :)

 

iwh-blog-huskies-eastern-canada-8.png

Interview with a Husky Ranch Eastern Canada Volunteer

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