09 632 1138 info@iwh.co.nz
Planning your OE?  Welcome to International Working Holidays
 
 
 

My Canadian Experience - Oliver Batchelor

My Canadian Experience - Oliver Batchelor

Author -  Oliver Batchelor

After spending three months throughout many great American states with the help of the Camp America program...

I was off to my next grand adventure in Canada. Flying into Vancouver I was kind of expecting it to be like New Zealand, just bigger, and I was right. The three short days I spent in Vancouver were pretty awesome. I met new friends, walked through the city, and got an awesome tattoo. After this it was onto Grande Prairie.


Canada_IWH.jpg


On my arrival into Grande Prairie in late August 2017 I had a couple of expectations about the place. First, that it was not going to be a big city and second, that the place I was to work at would be a bit further into the countryside. As I flew over Grande Prairie my first expectation was quite accurate. It was quite the country town and flat, which I was glad to see. When I landed I was quick to notice that it wasn't as chilly as I was expecting, but that would soon change. Walking off the plane I was greeted by Andrea, a staff member at the place I would work at. He took me from the airport to the supermarket to get food for the week. Then we drove to the place I would happily call home for the next three months.


Group_Canada_IWH.jpg

My dog sledding ranch stay placement was a boarding kennel and sled dog tour facility. They are located about 25 minutes east of Grande Prairie. The main building has the boarding kennel on the ground level. Aaron and Eva, who are the lovely owners, live on the second level of the main building. They built a cabin about 250m from the main building where they used to live but now let some of the workers stay there. This is where I lived during my time there. They also have three beautiful horses on the property and the characteristic sled dogs about 10m from the cabin. Plus they have three amazing dogs of their own Jimmy, Buck, and Anne, and also a cat and two kittens. Aaron and Eva have two young bubbly children, Clancy and Sunny, who were a lot of fun to have around.

Elevation Dogs_Canada_IWH.jpg

Upon arrival I spent the rest of the day settling in and started working the following morning. I mainly worked in the boarding kennel during my stay. The kennel could hold 20 dogs, but at times we had more than that. I would start around 7am to rotate the awakening dogs outside in the six pens to do their thing… and yes, we did have to pick it up. After that, it would be time for their breakfast. Once well feed they would go back outside while we then cleaned the whole kennel for the energetic dogs. That would take us to about 10am where we then had a coffee break for a bit. Then it was straight back to rotating dogs in and outside so they could release their stored up energy and get some fresh air.


dog sledding Canada IWH.jpg


We provided extra activities in the late morning for the dogs if their owners wanted. This included walks, baths, and quad bike runs. Lunch was from 12-1pm, then from 1-2pm we worked on some building projects for the kennel, as it is still a new building. The dogs had their well desired nap time from 12-2pm. After 2pm we would play with them and continue with any other extra activities. We also would interact dogs with each other if we felt they wanted to make new friends and were a good matchup. Dinner time for them was around 4pm and just before that we would have another quick coffee break. The kennel would close at 6pm and that is when it would be bedtime for the tired out dogs. However, someone would do a final rotation in the evening just as the sun went down. That is what a typical day would be in the kennel, but it varied depending on the dogs we had and how they chose to behave ;).


dog sled park canada IWH.jpg


Now onto the cunning sled dogs. These dogs are Alaskan Huskies, so they’re smaller and more toned for endurance running compared to the big and fluffy Siberian Huskies that everyone knows. My involvement with them in the beginning was not a whole lot, but as time went by and I grew in confidence and responsibility, I became more involved. The main dog handler was Andrea for the time I was there. He would run the dogs every day and feed them. Aaron was the musher, but he also worked at a Bison ranch so Andrea did most of the training. During my time there Aaron was training for the Iditarod 2018, the biggest race held in Alaska, 1,000 miles. (At the time of writing this he finished

34th with a time of 11 days 14 hours 42 min. Amazing!).


dog Canada IWH.jpg

My involvement with the huskies would be to feed and free run them with the quad on Andrea’s day off. Sadly, about two months into my stay Andrea had an accident with the quad on one of his runs. The injuries he sustained were not too severe, but it did mean he was unable to work for quite awhile. This meant that I had to become more involved with the sled dogs. I would feed them everyday, but not take them out on runs by myself because I did not quite know how to train them properly, especially on the sled when the snow began to fall. Aaron would run them when he could and I would tag along when I was not busy with other responsibilities at the kennel.


There were a total of 41 sled dogs and by the end of my stay I knew each dog by their name. They had amazing personalities, from the oldies to the yearlings, they all loved people and there was never a dull day with them. They are pack animals and the majority of them were born and raised in the dog yard. There is a noticeable hierarchy, which can occasionally lead to fights and disagreements in the pack, which we are there to break up. Overall, my time with these incredible and brave dogs was breathtaking. Learning how to mush a little bit, caring for them, seeing them run, and loving every second of it, I created a special bond with them that made it hard to leave.


During my three months there we had multiple workers from all over the world. When I first arrived there was Andrea from Italy, a great work mate and awesome friend. Then there were Katie and Craig, a couple from England. Craig worked alongside Andrea with the sled dogs and the projects. Katie worked with me, showing me the ropes of how the kennel works, and also how to do some admin and office work, like making bookings, etc. When Ronda, who was the phenomenal kennel manager, had her days off, we would have to do her job as well. Eva Maria arrived just before Katie and Craig left. She came from Germany and roomed with me in the cabin for her time there mainly working in the kennel. A few weeks later we welcomed two other incredible Germans to the team, Rena and Anni. They were also mainly involved in the kennel aspect, which was good because at times when it is quite busy having extra people was a blessing. When it came to say goodbye to Eva Maria, we also welcomed Marine who came from France. During her time there she helped in the kennel and also with the horses.


group on farm Canada IWH.jpg


Working was a lot of fun because I was always learning more about the dogs, the kennel, and the family we formed. We would go out once or twice a week to Grande Prairie to get groceries and hangout, whether it be eating out, or going to this awesome board game place. We also did social events as a whole, like game-nights, movie-nights, or a group dinner every week with Aaron, Eva, and the kids. This was good because it made the whole experience feel like you were working as a family rather than just work colleagues. I loved it. 


I sadly left the crew in late November. I wish I could have stayed longer. My experience with the people and the dogs is something that I will cherish and never forget. I know for a fact that in the future I will return there and see the progress of this amazing place. I see big things happening for this place and the family. They have a vision and I can not wait to see how it pans out. I am grateful for being a part of this amazing crew and helping Aaron and Eva work through their vision toward their dream. My prayers and blessings are with them and all they do! 

Complete the form below to find out more and book your free no obligation consultation

Fill out my online form.

My Canadian Experience - Oliver Batchelor

After spending three months throughout many great American states with the help of the Camp America program, I was off to my next grand adventure in Canada. Flying into Vancouver I was kind of expecting it to be like New Zealand, just bigger, and I was right. The three short days I spent in Vancouver were pretty awesome. I met new friends, walked through the city, and got an awesome tattoo. After this it was onto Grande Prairie.

After spending three months throughout many great American states with the help of the Camp America program...

I was off to my next grand adventure in Canada. Flying into Vancouver I was kind of expecting it to be like New Zealand, just bigger, and I was right. The three short days I spent in Vancouver were pretty awesome. I met new friends, walked through the city, and got an awesome tattoo. After this it was onto Grande Prairie.


Canada_IWH.jpg


On my arrival into Grande Prairie in late August 2017 I had a couple of expectations about the place. First, that it was not going to be a big city and second, that the place I was to work at would be a bit further into the countryside. As I flew over Grande Prairie my first expectation was quite accurate. It was quite the country town and flat, which I was glad to see. When I landed I was quick to notice that it wasn't as chilly as I was expecting, but that would soon change. Walking off the plane I was greeted by Andrea, a staff member at the place I would work at. He took me from the airport to the supermarket to get food for the week. Then we drove to the place I would happily call home for the next three months.


Group_Canada_IWH.jpg

My dog sledding ranch stay placement was a boarding kennel and sled dog tour facility. They are located about 25 minutes east of Grande Prairie. The main building has the boarding kennel on the ground level. Aaron and Eva, who are the lovely owners, live on the second level of the main building. They built a cabin about 250m from the main building where they used to live but now let some of the workers stay there. This is where I lived during my time there. They also have three beautiful horses on the property and the characteristic sled dogs about 10m from the cabin. Plus they have three amazing dogs of their own Jimmy, Buck, and Anne, and also a cat and two kittens. Aaron and Eva have two young bubbly children, Clancy and Sunny, who were a lot of fun to have around.

Elevation Dogs_Canada_IWH.jpg

Upon arrival I spent the rest of the day settling in and started working the following morning. I mainly worked in the boarding kennel during my stay. The kennel could hold 20 dogs, but at times we had more than that. I would start around 7am to rotate the awakening dogs outside in the six pens to do their thing… and yes, we did have to pick it up. After that, it would be time for their breakfast. Once well feed they would go back outside while we then cleaned the whole kennel for the energetic dogs. That would take us to about 10am where we then had a coffee break for a bit. Then it was straight back to rotating dogs in and outside so they could release their stored up energy and get some fresh air.


dog sledding Canada IWH.jpg


We provided extra activities in the late morning for the dogs if their owners wanted. This included walks, baths, and quad bike runs. Lunch was from 12-1pm, then from 1-2pm we worked on some building projects for the kennel, as it is still a new building. The dogs had their well desired nap time from 12-2pm. After 2pm we would play with them and continue with any other extra activities. We also would interact dogs with each other if we felt they wanted to make new friends and were a good matchup. Dinner time for them was around 4pm and just before that we would have another quick coffee break. The kennel would close at 6pm and that is when it would be bedtime for the tired out dogs. However, someone would do a final rotation in the evening just as the sun went down. That is what a typical day would be in the kennel, but it varied depending on the dogs we had and how they chose to behave ;).


dog sled park canada IWH.jpg


Now onto the cunning sled dogs. These dogs are Alaskan Huskies, so they’re smaller and more toned for endurance running compared to the big and fluffy Siberian Huskies that everyone knows. My involvement with them in the beginning was not a whole lot, but as time went by and I grew in confidence and responsibility, I became more involved. The main dog handler was Andrea for the time I was there. He would run the dogs every day and feed them. Aaron was the musher, but he also worked at a Bison ranch so Andrea did most of the training. During my time there Aaron was training for the Iditarod 2018, the biggest race held in Alaska, 1,000 miles. (At the time of writing this he finished

34th with a time of 11 days 14 hours 42 min. Amazing!).


dog Canada IWH.jpg

My involvement with the huskies would be to feed and free run them with the quad on Andrea’s day off. Sadly, about two months into my stay Andrea had an accident with the quad on one of his runs. The injuries he sustained were not too severe, but it did mean he was unable to work for quite awhile. This meant that I had to become more involved with the sled dogs. I would feed them everyday, but not take them out on runs by myself because I did not quite know how to train them properly, especially on the sled when the snow began to fall. Aaron would run them when he could and I would tag along when I was not busy with other responsibilities at the kennel.


There were a total of 41 sled dogs and by the end of my stay I knew each dog by their name. They had amazing personalities, from the oldies to the yearlings, they all loved people and there was never a dull day with them. They are pack animals and the majority of them were born and raised in the dog yard. There is a noticeable hierarchy, which can occasionally lead to fights and disagreements in the pack, which we are there to break up. Overall, my time with these incredible and brave dogs was breathtaking. Learning how to mush a little bit, caring for them, seeing them run, and loving every second of it, I created a special bond with them that made it hard to leave.


During my three months there we had multiple workers from all over the world. When I first arrived there was Andrea from Italy, a great work mate and awesome friend. Then there were Katie and Craig, a couple from England. Craig worked alongside Andrea with the sled dogs and the projects. Katie worked with me, showing me the ropes of how the kennel works, and also how to do some admin and office work, like making bookings, etc. When Ronda, who was the phenomenal kennel manager, had her days off, we would have to do her job as well. Eva Maria arrived just before Katie and Craig left. She came from Germany and roomed with me in the cabin for her time there mainly working in the kennel. A few weeks later we welcomed two other incredible Germans to the team, Rena and Anni. They were also mainly involved in the kennel aspect, which was good because at times when it is quite busy having extra people was a blessing. When it came to say goodbye to Eva Maria, we also welcomed Marine who came from France. During her time there she helped in the kennel and also with the horses.


group on farm Canada IWH.jpg


Working was a lot of fun because I was always learning more about the dogs, the kennel, and the family we formed. We would go out once or twice a week to Grande Prairie to get groceries and hangout, whether it be eating out, or going to this awesome board game place. We also did social events as a whole, like game-nights, movie-nights, or a group dinner every week with Aaron, Eva, and the kids. This was good because it made the whole experience feel like you were working as a family rather than just work colleagues. I loved it. 


I sadly left the crew in late November. I wish I could have stayed longer. My experience with the people and the dogs is something that I will cherish and never forget. I know for a fact that in the future I will return there and see the progress of this amazing place. I see big things happening for this place and the family. They have a vision and I can not wait to see how it pans out. I am grateful for being a part of this amazing crew and helping Aaron and Eva work through their vision toward their dream. My prayers and blessings are with them and all they do! 

Complete the form below to find out more and book your free no obligation consultation

Fill out my online form.

My Canadian Experience - Oliver Batchelor

What do you think? Love to hear your comments!

Name *
Subscribe
Comment *

Related Articles

Top Tips for Taking Great Travel Photos on Instagram!

Top Tips for Taking Great Travel Photos on Instagram!

Date:Monday, 23 July 2018

Want to take some awesome instagram photos on your travels? Here's our top tips to help you out! ...

Finding Your Perfect Overseas Experience!

Finding Your Perfect Overseas Experience!

Date:Sunday, 22 July 2018


With so many experiences on offer, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out exactly what you want to do. We want you to get the most out of your trip away, so here are some top tips and things to ...

A Fitting Future | Namibia Wildlife Conservation

A Fitting Future | Namibia Wildlife Conservation

Date:Monday, 16 April 2018

Human-carnivore conflict is an inevitable occurrence in a country where man and wild strive to maintain a peaceful coexistence. One of the projects we work with in Namibia works on avid research ...

 
 
 
We'll find you the perfect job overseas.
 
Copyright © 2001 - Nannies Abroad Limited trading as International Working Holidays. All rights reserved  |  Website Design by Labyrinth Solutions  |  Content Management by Contegro
International Working Holidays™, International Working Holidays Logo, Nannies Abroad™ and Nannies Abroad Logo are trade marks of Nannies Abroad Limited trading as International Working Holidays.