For the majority of husky farms, the dogs are first and foremost a business. As such, as with any other farm animals, it makes financial sense to ‘retire’ older / lazier / less pretty / troublesome etc dogs at the vets. However, for us, our dogs are part of our extended family. At least five - sometimes as many as 25 - live indoors with us and sleep on our bed or around our bed each night and another five rotate through the guide house each night. In the process, they are house trained and we build up an all-round knowledge of which of them would enjoy life as more of a pet than as a working dog (quite a few, seemingly!).
We obviously have to make money from the farm or we couldn’t continue to look after the dogs. That is part of an overall commitment to sustainability. However, we do not believe that the old dogs need to be put to sleep when they retire from running for the farm to be viable, economically.
We have made a decision that we will not put down any dogs that are healthy and happy. As a result, we have older dogs which don't run, an epileptic dog, a dog with a heart condition etc all happily hanging out at the farm, being taken for walks in the summer and playing in the running fence. We also try to run our lazier dogs (who have generally been castrated so as to prevent future accidents) as ‘7th’ dogs when other teams running that day just have 6, just to keep their fitness up. This is a very unusual policy amongst kennels but it doesn’t seem right to put dogs down for no reason other than that they simply aren’t fast enough or good enough to work if they are still enjoying a good quality of life.
Obviously, that puts our costs up and - even though this is not reflected in our prices, it really should be. Unfortunately, however, we know that most people assume that all husky farms provide the same care and attention to their dogs and hence, make their choice of mushing venue primarily on a cost basis. We live in the hope that one day we will be able to encourage people to choose our kennel based on the care and attention that our dogs are accorded.
Our adoption and sponsorship program is part of our general philosophy and commitment towards the dogs to ensure that they have the best possible lives whilst living in our care. We appreciate your interest in these schemes.