I was living in a trailer that had been gifted to me, with my dog in a small town of 1000 people. I had to go into town to get my water. At night, I used to have to go pee, I’d step outside, squat and look up at the milky way. I could start howling and get the kennel dogs to howl from my spot in the forest.
Now I live in a city, in a basement apartment. Pee in a white ceramic bowl into liters of clean drinking water where it gets flushed and filtered and makes its way back into the system. My dog howls when the phone rings now.
It’s been a huge learning curve.
Right now, I am feeling safe enough, in my life, to tell people what has happened. Actually, if I had felt safer before, then maybe I would not have had stayed at the kennel this long. Or maybe I would have spoken up sooner.
I’m glad I waited though before telling the public. Before, I didn’t think anyone would believe me. Now I know, the Right people will believe me.
I sit and write this Reader and I tell you. I went through all of this first hand. THIS ISN’T OKAY.
When I no longer worked, I had a wave of bullshit hit me ( at this point I could see the train coming, but it still hit me). Everything I’ve written is true, try thinking about that 24/7. And now I had no job, no mental health, I could hear the dogs, the colleagues I had seen everyday, never reached out to me. I had no doctor. I was so fucked up. My friend, who had several dogs of his own,and had been my partner for a few years, wouldn’t help advocate more loudly for the dogs (But he did drive me to the hospital several times). I was broken, had suicidal idealizations, I was full out depressed at this point. Nightmares about the awful things people would say to me, the death of the dogs and the outrage. I had been through fucked up things in my life. But this one, this one really fucking set me back.
So, now that I feel safe?
I should have had more protection.
As a Worker, I should have had the option of refusing unsafe work or alternative work without the fear of loosing my job.
As someone who took care of the dogs, I should have had medical professional around to help me when animals were sick beyond me and my colleagues training.
It’s absolutely horrible that I was essentially told that if I spoke out about anything the animals would all die.
Thankfully, I am no longer at this kennel and surround myself with supportive people. The kennel, however, is still operating, the same people still work there, along with some new.
It took me a while to come forward to the right people, but since I have, it’s been a lot of work get any sort of accountability on the dogs within the animal welfare and regulating. Allot of forms,research and paperwork. Getting petitions signed and so on. That’s just my side of the story. There’s a whole team of people advocating for sled dogs. From the awareness campaigns to house of commons. I am sure that everyone will agree, there is a lot of Waiting.
I truly believe that sharing this experience will help change the laws faster.
Whether or not it continues to happen, I can’t tell you: I haven’t been there in a couple of years. What I can absolutely say is, that it may still be happening and it’s mostly legal, and “easy to get away with”.
The laws need to be updated people.
**This isn’t even a farm. Well, it didn’t feel like a farm, but I do consider it as such now. Hobby farms and industrial farms must have the same arguments: where one is essentially more humane. That or deny that there is even an issue altogether. I wouldn’t know about the farming industry, but it sure sounds like my experience in the dogsled community/industry.**