Cold Warning- The Kennel


There are steps taken to help keep dogs safe from the cold.

First of all, the people feeding the dogs, would make sure to give the extra foods “extra shivering energy”. This means 3 to 5 pounds of raw chicken served in frozen 1/2 pound blocks- per day. This time of year, the dogs will sometimes get beef meat, “to change up the proteins” so I was told.

We give the dogs fresh straw in the kennel if we are anticipating some cold nights. The fresh layer of straw, adds insulation to their barrels. There are of course, a few dog’s that chose to never sleep in their barrel, so we gave them a little extra straw. We knew where to put the straw in these cases because of the outline of melted down snow, in the shape up a circle.

Around 9 pm, a worker drives by the kennel “to check on them”. Meaning: Flashing a light from the car towards the dogs, through the fence, to make sure no one is off chain.

In the mornings after a cold night, the staff are told to “invite” or get the dogs out of their barrel and encourage the dog to run around to heat up.

This is also done to make sure no dogs died overnight. We needed to check, because what kind of shit show would it be if we asked a client to go get a dog and find out the dog wont come out of it’s barrel because it’s lifeless, frozen stiff.



It was rare, but it happened.

Dogs at this kennel died when the nights got cold.


In fact, my first year, a dog was dead, frozen in her barrel.

I don’t remember her name just now, but the person that found her, loved her. This small mighty dog, was on this guide’s team. I remember lots of tears, but I didn’t ask questions. (That staff didn’t come back to work with us the next year, but went on to other kennels).

I assume they put her in the freezer. Read about this in “The Freezer by the Straw Barn”.


During my last few years employed here, a senior staff built 4 special wooden boxes with a 1/2 inch insulation inside. Those houses were for the dogs more so prone to hypothermia.

Like Merv. Oh Merv,” Pervy Merv” we call him. He’s not in this picture, I have no idea what came of his fate.

When the weather came close to -30, Merv would get a ride back to the office, and sleep inside in a dog crate with blankets.

Oh! How Merv loved seeing that white truck pull up to his little red house!!! He knew, he would spend the night inside.


The rest of them, slept in barrels every night, unless they were on trip…

Meanwhile the OSPCA releases Cold weather Safety guidelines

Chantal Dostaler


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