DOG BLOG MUSHER # 3
As operators of a large kennel, we get really nervous about going on a trip and leaving your dogs to the care of someone that is new to numerous responsibilities.
Just recently Lisa and I headed to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to meet half way from Minnesota; my 86 year old Mother, Sister, Brother-In-Law, and another Sister visiting from 6 years of living in Egypt with Her Husband and their two daughters. We had a wonderful time riding the new tram to the top of a mountain and walking back down eight miles, taking old western photos, picnicking and spending quality time together. We drove out in my pickup along with all of my fire fighting clothing, chainsaws, backpacks, tents and bedding, in case I were to get a call to go fight a forest fire.
The first evening I get a call from the 19 year old young man that was taking care of the dogs. He had a couple of dogs get loose but was able to catch them. He also found that one of the pups had a large bump under the chin, with no sign of a cut. It ended up being a tick bite. I told him to give the antibiotic that I had shown him before we left and to keep an eye on it, seeing if it comes to a head, so it can open up and drain. I suspect that it may be a small foxtail grass seed has worked its’ way in underneath the hide. After that we didn’t hear from him until the day before we get home. The alternator gauge had been acting up and we called to inform him that he will have to water the next morning and have to feed again in the next evening.
After talking to him about those tasks he asks me if he was suppose to feed in the mornings. He had been and he only had one bag of food left! “You’re only were suppose to feed the puppies and the mothers in the morning,” I told him. I instantly figure in my head that the misunderstanding just cost me about $120! Next he tells me that Lilly was loose for a couple of days and had gotten in a little fight her hide had cut on her shoulder. It’s about five inches long and has pulled apart. She wasn’t limping so I knew it was a superficial wound. His Mom had been coming up a couple of times a day and was washing it out. I’m sure his Mom isn’t appreciating this. He was giving her the antibiotics regularly, which I liked, but he had forgotten about the wound spray that I had shown him before we left.
The map of the kennel that Lisa had drawn, with all the dogs locations and names, helped immensely when he needed to report specific needs or questions about a dog.
I guess the lesson learned is that as well as you may think you are explaining to a new kennel handler of all the tasks that need to be done, they are still going to miss some the information that you have told.
I guess the lesson learned is the next time I need to train someone, I will type out a list of all the responsibilities, including proportions of food, medicines, and how often a day. Even though to you or I, it may be common sense, everyday stuff, but to the novice kennel handler, it is just too much to absorb in just a couple of training visits. Over all he did a good job and he couldn’t stop talking about the dogs and how they all are so different. He now is the proud owner of one of the puppies and we are looking forward to his help during the fire season.