In Spring 2017, I was exposed, for the first time, to a “seasonal kill”.
My employer sat all of the senior staff around a table and decided which dogs were to be killed before the new summer staff joined for the season. I quickly learned that even healthy dogs with minor lumps and bumps which could not be explained to clients were killed, regardless of their age or otherwise good health. Older dogs were also killed so as not to “waste” money feeding them for another season. Because it would be too expensive to “humanely” euthanize the dogs, the employer hired someone to come and shoot them. This was very traumatic for me. I can remember the sounds of the dogs, who I loved, being shot, hearing them being dumped into a big burial put and then being instructed to bury them myself.
Myself, and one other staff member, brought the dogs one my one to the man with the gun, long time dogsled race champion and son of founders, Rene Marchildon.
We were asked not to watch, but even with the dogs all yell frantically, I could still hear the gun shot and the body of the dog thumping into the pit, probably right over the dog that was just shot before.
We buried the dogs together, quietly.
For the next days following, we had to go check the pit and make sure no animals had tried to dig up the dead dogs.
We were all in it together. This terrible mess. None of us enjoyed this. We all sat at the table deciding the fate of the dogs, all of us “senior staff” , being asked by the supervisor to agree verbally on the final decision of which dogs to be culled. Some of us went to the kennel and helped out the person with the gun, by bringing the dogs the the pit.
Even if we didn’t hold the gun, we all took part.