With Don out of the town and the temperature sitting at -28, my day is full of dog chores. Here is a recap:
7:00 am. Rise and shine. Sometimes a little later if all is quiet, but the dogs know the routine so usually they have to go to the bathroom and want their broth. I put on many layers of clothes and head out into the dark with my headlamp to scoop poop. A quick scoop of all the yards, then I let the dogs out of the barn. Pippi is first as she goes into a separate yard for brothing and feeding. She is around 15 years old and really doesn’t like too many of the other dogs. But she is still super spry and happy and loves sleeping where it is warm.
Next out of the barn are Zorba, Casper, Millie, Shaman, Kiche and Jenny. Down to the main yard they go with most of the indoor dogs.
Back to the barn for Izzi, Leo and Lichen. They hang out with Bonsai and Pixel.
I scoop a lot in the morning. The water is heating on the stove as I do the outdoor chores. After all is scooped, the dogs go to their respective places (this is the only time we do chain up some of the dogs for brothing and feeding as we feed different foods to different dogs…) and I add the hot water to the thawed meat and start the routine. Misty, Ivy, Chance, Jewel, Pixel and Bonsai all eat inside. I head outside to scoop out a quart of rich meaty broth to all the dogs. Then on these cold days it is back in the barn.
Morning bowls are washed and stacked and ready for the afternoon.
11:00 am. Break time out of the barn. They get to romp around a bit and relieve themselves. But on days like today, they really want to be back in the barn. Everyone gets a cookie and they are glad to snuggle up again. The indoor crowd usually hang out in the bottom yard while this is going on. They are doubly happy to go back in the house.
At this time I get the afternoon food, add whatever broth was left from the morning and a bit more water and let it soak.
1:30. Time to get everyone out of the house and barn. Same routine as morning brothing. Only this time they get a lot more time outdoors. All the dogs are welcome in the house while I am making the individual bowls inside. At times I have had about 15 dogs in the house. I have to be careful of what is lying around. Zorba ate half a tennis ball a week ago. Luckily it all came out the other end.
The dogs like to romp and play but as they get colder they will head to a dog house.
2:30. or there abouts….feeding time. Lots of different bowls and amounts. While they are eating I head down to the poop pile and dump the 2 buckets that I have collected. The pile grows in the winter, but easily decomposes during the summer. We have some beautiful fire week growing on older piles!
3:00. Back in the barn. They are all full, tired and content.
I head out to the freezer for the blocks of frozen meat (we cut them up from a 50 pound block). We thaw 7 pounds for the morning broth by pouring hot water over them and leaving them in the utility room overnight.
6:00. Back out of the barn for an evening romp. Each time they all get cookies. And when they stay in the barn for extended periods the get frozen marrow bones that take a long time to lick out. Or I will take old empty marrow bones and fill them with a dog food slurry and freeze them. Just some entertainment to keep from too much boredom. Although with all their breaks, they are usually pretty tired. Most dogs at these temperatures if left outside just curl up in their dog houses and try to keep warm.
Bowls are washed again and ready for the morning.
8:30 pm. Leo gets an extra little helping of food. He has had seizures in the past and we find that keeping his blood sugar levels stable keeps his seizures at bay. Jewel usually finishes her afternoon bowl. I think she likes to leave herself a little snack. Bonsai also gets fed again. He is very high energy and wiry and thin. So needs that extra portion.
10:30-11:00 pm. Last break. And the 4th and last time I have to dress and undress with all of my gear.
The dogs are good for the night. No one has accidents in the barn right now. We have some very old dogs but luckily they aren’t incontinent and can hold it for 8 hours.
And of course I have my job! Luckily only 2 or 3 nights a week but I can usually let the dogs out of the barn around 5 pm. Head to work…Home by 10:30 and out of the house and barn they come. Everyone in the house gets along just fine and they usually don’t get into stuff or chew anything up. I love my pack!
This is why I am grateful when Don is home. We split the chores and he takes 2 shifts of getting them out of the barn for breaks, getting the food, washing the dishes, etc.