Those who are truly interested in the life of a guide can apply for one of our longer guide-training schemes. In these, you will work alongside and live with our regular guides and become part of the greater family. Hence, we make every effort, ahead of time, (by sending you a detailed manual about what life in this part of the Arctic is like and about the fact that when you are here, your life is dogs, 24/7) to ensure that you know what you are getting yourself in for and that you will be a good fit within the team. If you are not put off by the manual, then there is an application procedure to go through in order to make sure that both we and you will benefit from your time here. Please contact us for more details.
The standard placement length is three months, although we occassionally accept people for a minimum of one month. Those interested in longer placements or a gap-year experience have a separate application process and references will be required.
1 month trainee placements - occassionally available through schools, eg for veterinary students / those training to work in animal-related professions / arctic tourism.
3 month internships - our standard training programme.
Gap-year experiences - for those wanting a more comprehensive insight into life on an arctic husky farm.
Short 'guide' experiences with us are restricted to those visiting as part of a school traineeship - either from within the tourism sector or, for instance, animal-related industries. At the end of one month, most people will be independently able to perform, without too much supervision, the basic farm tasks at the time of year that they are visiting in. They will not, however, have much line of sight to what goes on here at different times of year and are unlikely to feel like a functioning member of the team. This option is best reserved for those training to work in the industry who want a short sharp hands-on internship. We will spend one week working through basic training with you and allow you one consolidation week in which to identify your key targets for the remainder of your time with us. Then, if for instance, you are a vet student and need more practice in basic assessment / nail clipping / anal-gland emptying / heart-listening etc, you might find yourself fully involved with the medical aspects of life on the farm. If you are a tourism-student you might work more on the website or marketing-related aspects of the business. All participants are still expected, however, to help with basic tasks during their stay.
We have found that generalists without specific learning targets from schools benefit by staying at least 3 months with us. In that time, most people can learn to stand on their own two feet within the team and feel like they have graduated into a reasonably competent husky handler. Becoming a competent husky guide obviously takes longer.
There is always building work, dog-training work, maintenance work, medical work, project management work and computer work that needs to be completed. You will definitely get a chance to have a go at everything but we will also try to find you an area to 'own' so that you can develop your own skills and confidence along the way.
In the words of Leah, one of our previous interns who came to us having participated in multiple workaway-style placements over a 2-year period around the world... (and who returned to the US with an adopted dog from here)...
This experience is just “more”. More crazy, more fulfilling, more stressful, more engaging and more all-encompassing than anything I’ve ever been through, for good and bad. After 2 years of travelling the world and volunteering or participating in internships everywhere I went, I thought I knew myself pretty well but I’ve been through things here that I never would have dreamt of. I’ve loved more, cried more, worked more and thought more than in any other job; and every second of highs and lows over the last few months was worth the exhilarating sled time and seeing a dog team stretched out in front of me on the tundra under the waning arctic sun. At the end of it all, I have grown in confidence and take from here some unique life skills which will stand me in good stead in my professional life.
Whilst many farms have volunteering options, few have devised a specific training course which takes interns through from being complete novices to fully functioning sleddog guides. There are also few farms in Scandinavia (at least according to the numerous vets who have visited us as a model farm) with higher dog welfare standards.
In other words, this role is an all encompassing one in which you can expect to live and breathe and talk 'huskies' 24/7 and to want to excel, despite much of the work being repetitious in nature. In this role, be warned that we also explicitly aim to push you to your limits and beyond, particularly in the winter season, because, as former endurance athletes, we believe that the hardest things in life bring the most rewards. If that doesn't entice you just a little bit, then it probably isn't the right role for you.
If you are interested in a gap-year placement with us, that is a long time-commitment from both sides so we have to both be sure that it will be a good fit. You will need to be someone who will be confident project managing activities to tight timelines. You will hopefully also have some specific skills that you can contribute to the group and you will likely become involved, more, in the computing and behind-the-scenes tasks than those who are here for shorter periods.
You will definitely learn more business-related skills than you might initially imagine. For instance, about lean pathways, 80:20 business practices, marketing, sales and all of the background aspects of running a business that you might be surprised to find also apply to a husky farm in the Arctic. You will, of course, still spend the majority of your time working with the dogs and taking part in safari products during the safari season.