Dinner time, we all sat at the table, the owners at the end of the table. It was hard to get used to when I started working there, but eventually I gave in to this routine. Staffers were expected to eat at the Kennel office, which was also the owners home.
The meals were generally pretty great if you had no dietary restriction and there was desert every night.
The boss always sat at the end of the table. The loving partner, to their left. The rest of the seats were open, but generally the new staff and volunteers sat all the way at the end of the table.
Anyway, one night, I decided to share a pretty funny story to the boss.
Earlier that day, we were doing the evening chores at the kennel, and a volunteer came up to me, that one of the dog’s penis stuck out. It was Friar.
Friar was notorious for having troubles with his penis. Sometime, a dog’s penis will stick out of its “sheath”. It happens sometimes when they urinate and when it’s as cold as gets in the Almaguins. That exposed skin can get frost bitten very quickly. The dog will naturally try to lick at the wounded area, and it will swell and freeze. As a musher, this is something I was taught to look out for. As we know once you get frost bight, your skin never quite has the same resilience to cold. A cold injury, is a serious injury.
Apparently his injury was prone to relapse, and the volunteer had caught sight of it. The volunteer came to tell me, about Friar’s penis, unsheathed in a evening like tonight. I had asked if the volunteer had re-sheathed the dog’s penis. They said they did, and would get him some fresh straw for extra warmth in his barrel.
Sometime goes by, and the volunteer returns to me, they had a worried look on their face. It seems the dog seemed grumpier then usual. We went over to take a look together. Friar looked all comfy in his barrel which was full of fresh straw.
I asked the volunteer then, to tell me what happened for him to think the dog is grumpy. The volunteer then tells me he tried to check the dogs injury. Of course, while telling me that he was making a back and forth motion with his fist. Without trying to embarrass him, I told him we didn’t do that to the dogs.
So I tell this to the boss, the kind of person everyone listens to when they speak. The boss looked over at the volunteer and jokingly said “would you stop molesting my dogs”. Pretty damn funny.
It’s one of my favorite memories of working for this person, who has passed away.
It’s kind of fucked up, looking back.
Nothing else came of that, that’s how we took care of dogs with frozen penises.