Home Sweet Home

In “Terrible and True” I write about my experience shooting a dog for the boss, and her name was Hope. I’d like to take a moment, to share with you, how she lived.

The Kennel

Hope’s home was a large “rain barrel” made of thick plastic. Her name was written on the side facing the front, where the entrance was. Most of the rain barrels are blue.  Since it was warmer there one be one or two large tin cans, like the one’s restaurants have an excess, drilled to the barrel, for her to drink out of. Those would be filled with fresh water daily, and refilled at night.

The food she hate was raw chicken, and it was quite a process for it to get to her house. Since it was warm, we would feed every evening,  by placing a roughly measured, on top of her barrel. She then would have to jump onto her skid, and eat from the plate that was the top of her house. If she was lucky, the consistency of the chicken would be thick enough not to just poor down the side of her barrel and onto the ground


The barrels are drilled onto a platform made from skids. The top usually hardwood- or blue and sides, made from softwood pallets, since softwood is easier to saw. So the legs were a softwood pallet cut in half, and hammered on, with a little brace on the front of back for extra support. The softwood was not very resistant to weather, and urine, and dogs. The platforms often got replaced.


She lived on a chain that was driven into the ground with an axle. The chain was 4 feet long, which gave her a 8 foot parameter to semi-circle around in. Her chain had, two rings on one side, connected by quick-links, to the chain, and quick linked to a bull snap, which was connect to her blue collar, that wrapped around neck tightly. Tight enough but you must be able to put two fingers, between her neck and collar.


I had seen something similar with the other kennel, though, at that kennel, at least they could touch one another. Sometimes those dogs would be stuck together by the chain near the collar when we got to the kennel. It made sense not to have the dogs’ chains overlapping because of this at the larger kennel. It was also very convenient for many tasks at the kennel

The ground in the kennel was mostly sand, as the dogs had worn away the thin topsoil by then. Allot of dogs dug holes. Some dogs, had clear circular paths of their pacing at the end of their chains. The sand was great for absorbing the urine in the warm weather. We picked up all the poo every morning, and dumped it in the back mound of dirt. Poo mountain.

All the dogs in the kennel, lived a life similar to hers.  There where many rows of dogs, but not as many as there had been when I had started four years before. The longest row was about 13 spots long. And each row is spaced in a way where the dogs could not touch one another front to back, and side to side, for safety reasons.

There’s a puppy pen too, at the corner, for new moms, and pups. Eventually the pups get weaned, moms go back to their chains. Then after a few months the pups start living full time on a chain.

Since it was warm, there were no markings in the rows. There is a space that has a bush instead of a dog home. We called that the bush row. It’s great because it’s a great landmark to give direction when staff had trouble memorizing a particular dog’s locations. Staff like me, I was never great at it, but I could make do.
Speaking of Staff:..

I want to take this moment, to mention Jill, the black dog seen in this video. She had a litter of puppies, that we’re illegally euthanized the very same day they were born.

Hope was on the older side, 11 maybe. Medium size Alaskan husky. She had black ears and was white all over with little black spots, like tiny black ink drops. Her hair was pretty short, but not like a bulldog, a little longer. I’m not sure, but I believe she may have been born there. But she had spent the most of her life on that chain till the time comes to run.

This is completely normal when we are talking about sled dogs. “After all, they are sled dogs, they are bred for this”: A common slogan among the dog sled community.

What About the Law?

These living conditions are legal in Ontario’s Regulation 60/09 Standards of Care and Administrative Standards

Take Action

Sign the End Sled Dog Cruelty petition and ask the government to ban 24/7outdoor dog chaining.

Sign the Petition : https://e-activist.com/page/27249/-/1?locale=en-US

Watch the movie”Sled Dogs”: http://sleddogsfilm.com/watch/

Thank You

Chantal Dostaler

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