Dogs | August 14, 2015

A dog’s life above the arctic circle

Two dogs sitting outdoors in the Arctic

Tim and Ali Harper and their two Labradors Oakley and Lucy have got to be Petcurean’s most northerly customers. Perched on the shore of the Arctic Ocean in Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada, Tim and Ali and their canine kids lead a very interesting life. Check out our guest blog by Tim about life waaaay above the Arctic Circle!

We moved to Nunavut in the Arctic, in July 2014 after transferring from British Columbia.  Kugluktuk is on the southern portion of the Coronation Gulf of the Arctic Ocean above the Arctic Circle.  Life has offered many challenges for us and our two Labrador Retrievers, Oakley and Lucy.  The first challenge was that they were on a raw food diet, which is not feasible to have up here, so we researched dog foods and tried a variety of them.  GO! food turned out to be the most suitable for both of them and they have thrived since switching.  Being so remote, we have to order 15-20 (25 lb) bags annually and have it shipped up on a barge since it is very costly to have flown in.

Winter has presented HUGE challenges, especially at -50 degrees Celsius.  Booties have become a necessity despite the dogs hating them beyond belief!  Paw cream for care and maintenance for their paws has really helped with alleviating the dryness and cracking since winter is so dry.  In the extreme weather they can’t be outside to play so we try to busy their minds with indoor games.  We’ve become innovative with games of hide and seek for toys, training for treats, and taking them to work when we can and so far it seems to be working.

When the temperatures warm up we can ride our fat tired bikes on the frozen Arctic Ocean.  Oakley and Lucy grew up mountain biking with us so they absolutely love being out there playing in the snow, satisfying their love of chasing snowballs and running while we ride.  The spring here is amazing and it makes up for the cold dark winters.

Summer is now here and brings 24 hours of light.  Oakley and Lucy are still trying to adapt to the constant light and are not sure when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be awake, just like us!  We’ve installed black out blinds and try to make it as dark as possible to trick ourselves to think it’s night time so we can sleep.  We have all learnt that the mosquitos are relentless and we have bug jackets, but so far they have not invented bug jackets for dogs!  Finding windy spots is our best friend so that Oakley and Lucy do not become the mosquitos next meal.

Overall, life in the Arctic for Oakley and Lucy has been a lot of fun.  They get to run on the beach and the frozen ocean, swim in the summer, and go out on the land to run and play and live a happy life.  What else could a dog ask for?