Monday, June 6, 2011

My Kipp d'Amundsen experience

"I was just realising how much I appreciate being around these guys and caring for them, and then..... someone decided to piss on my pants! Tough love! A real test of faith out there in the kennel: 'I'm happy when you arrive, I'm happy when you bring me food, I'm happy when you come and stroke me, I'm very happy when you give me attention and affection and..... I don't respect your pants one bit'.... BUT!! 'I'm happy when I piss on you!' :-p.

Well .... does this make me love them the slightest bit less?? Hell no! Coming to think of it, they are the sweetest pissers in the world, and I guess I'll gladly accept that bit of dogness from them." (June 3 2011)

I would like to share a few thoughts about my experience as a dog handler at Kipp d'Amundsen kennels.

We (my girlfriend and I) came here in March to work as dog handlers for three months, a quite long period of time, but that gives the opportunity to get to know both the dogs and the people well. We had been dog handlers before, for little over a month, though not with exclusively Siberian huskies. Therefore, I was glad I had plenty of time to get to know all these pointy-eared furries... To a newcomer, most Siberians look similar and it took me about three weeks to get to know and properly distinguish all the individual dogs. By now, I know and love them all so well! I now am surprised how I could have had trouble telling the difference between them in the beginning...nice how one grows in these things :-)

Another thing that amazes me is the incredibly kind and affectionate character of the Kipp d'Amundsen dogs. None of them is bad tempered or grumpy, they are all happy, friendly and wanting to be stroked and played with. I find this a very special to witness! Credits and respect to Katerina&Jachym for raising them this way! It is of course partly due to their own nature which is cute, but keeping them happy and in such good shape (both physically and emotionally) is a task that needs a lot of love, care and devotion, and that is exactly what they get here. This truly is a great thing to experience and to be a part of! An expression of this love and care is the way they get fed and the attention that is given to the health and happiness of each individual dog. When it comes to the feeding, the dogs get a very complex and balanced mix of food and supplements, which changes with the season and their performance. For those who need it, even an individual food-plan is made by Katerina.

In treating the dogs according to their individual needs, Katerina&Jachym realise that each dog is worth the best treatment the owner can offer, and that is a heartwarming thing! Especially when you consider it's not just a housedog to take care of, but a whole kennel of almost 50 adult dogs and 6 newborn pups!

Seeing this level of care and devotion makes you want to follow the example and pay attention to the dogs' conditions and learn about their individual needs. This takes extra time, but it gives the experience so much more depth and meaning. It creates a feeling of bonding with every single dog, which is immensely rewarding. I have really come to love these cuties so much and I will miss them, as well as their owners, very much indeed when I leave.... but well... that is life, and I knew this before I even started... the hard thing is only to accept it again now that I am almost leaving....

One of the greatest things of kennel-life, is that you learn to love even the process of poop-scooping, just because of being with the dogs. Of course I do not like the poop itself, but while you go among the dogs, for scooping, you get the chance to play with them, and they with you. Doing this every day, creates a great sense of attachment and affection/love between you and the dogs and vice versa, which is now very dear to me.

Living in Sweden as a dog handler is part of a bigger journey in my life and it is so grand to get to know such great people and animals along the way! Katerina&Jachym are awesome people and I am honoured and pleased to have been given this chance to share their lives and share my life with them.

I am so very happy and grateful to have become a part of both the kennel-life and human life here :-)

***

Nardo Drouven
Vedjeön, 6 June 2011

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