interview with a lab worker at the Arctic Circle

Recently, a commenter mentioned that her dad is a lab supervisor in a mine at the Arctic Circle, and there was a clamor to learn more. Her dad graciously agreed to do an interview for us.

Here’s the Q&A — with much thanks to Kevin Lackey, who works at Teck Alaska, Red Dog Mine.
(By the way, this was conducted over email and I submitted all the questions at once, which I feel is important for you to know so that it doesn’t appear that I’m badgering Kevin with questions he’s already touched on.)

How did you end up with this post? How long have you been there and how long do you expect to stay?

I first came on 9-11-2001 as a consultant. My company sold analytical equipment to Red Dog and I came to install it and train the employees here in its use. I have been here almost 13 years, and I anticipate being here until I retire, which should be about three more.

What’s the basic set-up? Are you posted in a remote community, or is it just “the lab”? Where do you live?

This is a remote “community,” but probably not in a manner that you envision. Generally, community implies things like houses, post offices, stores, etc.; we have none of that. We are a remote fly-in camp. We are about 22 miles from the closest town, which is the village of Noatak, Alaska. Neither the mine nor Noatak are accessible by road. None of the villages in this region are accessible by road. The only way in to the mine is by air, and Noatak is accessible by air and river in the summer, and by snow machine during the winter. Our mine facility includes a living area for about 400 persons. The best description may be a large industrial complex with an attached dormitory facility. Meals are prepared by a staff of excellent chefs/cooks, and we have a wide variety of entertainment options. There are several weight rooms, aerobic exercise facilities, sauna, craft areas, satellite TV and game rooms (pool, darts, cards, etc.).

How is it similar to a regular office environment? How is it different?

For 10 to 12 hours each day, it is very similar to a regular office. My office and laboratory would fit easily into any industrial or mine facility in the lower 48 states. The only real difference is that, when I’m off work, I’m still 4,000 miles from home. There is no daily commuting for anyone.

That is sometimes hard to explain to vendors when we talk about servicing equipment. They want to know how far it is to the nearest supply store, Lowe’s, etc. When I explain that it’s at least a full day by plane, it takes a while for them to fully comprehend. They just don’t understand how remote we are. If we need a simple repair, it’s generally a five or six day trip for the vendor. They fly to Anchorage on Tuesday. Our charter to Red Dog is on Wednesday. They can complete the routine repair on Thursday, but the charter back to ANC isn’t until Saturday afternoon. Their return to the starting point will be on Sunday. And if they “forgot their screwdriver” and it’s not something we have on site, it can be really challenging.

In addition, flights can be delayed due to weather. I have had one unlucky service rep who came on Wednesday for a routine two-day preventative maintenance visit. His Saturday flight was delayed by weather for four days. He didn’t leave until the following Wednesday. By the time he got home (to Pennsylvania), the two day repair had taken nine days.

In looking for people to staff a location like this, do they look for any odd qualifications on top of the usual ones for the position? Anything specific to being able to thrive in an isolated location?

Our first choice for staff is always from the shareholders of the corporation that own the land on which the mine is located. It’s owned by the Northwest Arctic Native Association, and all of the shareholders are members of the Inupiaq Eskimo tribe. If we have an opening and there is a qualified Inupiat applicant, they will be our choice. If there are no interested NANA shareholders, there is a lengthy list of other preferred candidates (shareholders of other native corporations, other Alaska natives and native Alaskans, etc.). If a unique skill set is required and no one from the preferred candidates can meet those needs, we search in the lower 48 or other countries. That’s how I wound up here.

There are no particularly odd qualifications, but being accustomed to extreme cold, times of 24-hour darkness and 24-hour daylight certainly helps.

How isolated is it there? Is it difficult to have any sort of “life” outside of work when you’re in the Arctic Circle?

We are 600 miles northwest of Anchorage, about 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The only road leads from the mine to our port facility, which is about 60 miles southwest. We ship the metal concentrate that we produce from the port during the summer, which is approximately July through early October. We do have (slow) satellite internet, satellite TV and internet phone service, so routine contact with the rest of the world is not difficult.

There are two answers to the difficulty of life outside of work. Daily, it’s not a real problem. I talk to my wife regularly, and, in my opinion, at length. Since we routinely talk for an hour or so after work, I would guess that we actually talk more than many, if not most, married couples. As I mentioned earlier, we do have an extensive group of activities available, so we can be as entertained as we like. Or, we can go hide in our room and watch TV.

The second part of having a life is the R&R time when we’re not on site. When I’m off site, it’s for a two-week stretch if I don’t take additional vacation time, and can be for a month at a time if I choose. During that time, I generally have no responsibilities at work. When I’m home, I can be totally home if I choose. I’m free to spend 24/7 doing what I like with my family. Again, that’s an opportunity that most regular jobs don’t offer.

What do you do to stay sane when faced with limited things to do outside of work? Do you ever feel trapped?

Our things to do outside work are in many ways no more limited than in a regular job. As I mentioned, we have several exercise facilities (six, I believe), a full basketball court, sauna, and many other facilities. In addition, we have a Recreation Committee that oversees other activities. We have recently had classes in making local-style beaver fur hats, and we’ve just begun classes on making fur-lined mittens and boots. There are annual photography contests, and quite extensive celebrations at Christmas and New Year’s. We have had several sessions of “Financial Peace University” (Dave Ramsey) classes offered after hours. We also provided Rosetta Stone software to any employee who was interested in learning a second language. All of those things are provided at no charge to the employees. As I said earlier, we can be as involved or as isolated as we choose.

Are there any additional or unusual perks or benefits due to the location?

As a staff employee, mine is a regular salaried position. Our most common work schedule is two weeks at work, one week off site. In my case, I spend four weeks at work and two weeks off site. In a regular job, you get weekends off, and a few weeks per year in vacation. Here, I have eight regular “rotations” per year. That’s at least 16 weeks off in two week chunks. I also have about five weeks of personal time off that I can schedule. If I choose to take it all, I can wind up with what is effectively 21 weeks per year of paid vacation. I personally don’t take all of my vacation time, but I still enjoy 16 to 18 weeks per year of free time. I enjoy hobbies that lend themselves to large blocks of time (building, remodeling, etc.). With this schedule, I can easily plan a project that takes three weeks and know that I can have time to finish it in a leisurely manner if I choose.

The other perk due to the location is the location. We don’t have many options to see northern lights in Oklahoma. I’ve never seen a caribou in my back yard, a musk ox in the garden or a grizzly bear along the road. Those are all relatively common here. I’ve had to wait while driving to the port for several thousand caribou to cross the road. We are committed to not interfering with their migration, so when they choose to amble across the road, sometimes singly and sometimes by the thousands, we just stop and watch. That doesn’t happen in Oklahoma.

What is the food like? They must have to bring a lot in. Is there enough variety? Do you ever crave things you can’t get there?

The chefs are excellent, and the meals are quite varied. Every Thursday is rib eye steak night. Other than that, it changes regularly. Every morning, I can choose “buffet style” hot breakfast, or the morning cook will prepare eggs to order. There are usually at least three or four choices of fresh fruit, and often more. I’m a big fan of strawberries and grapes at breakfast, and I definitely have them much more often here than at home. I’ve almost quit having either prime rib or crème brule when I eat out at home. The chefs here do a much better job at both of those than most restaurants.

The only “complaint,” and it is a very mild one, is that they really don’t understand Cajun or TexMex as well as they believe. I’ve tried several times to explain what spicy really means, but it hasn’t helped yet.

What has surprised you the most about working in a location like this? What do you like and dislike the most?

My biggest surprise is that I don’t find this lifestyle difficult at all. Before Red Dog, I had a variety of positions that required routine travel. It was not uncommon for me to fly somewhere 30 or 40 weeks per year. I actually fly fewer miles now than I did in the past, even though the roundtrip is about 8,000 miles.

The 8,000 roundtrip is also what I also dislike the most. In general, I don’t mind flying, but eight or nine round trips per year, 12 to 14 hours each way for 13 years gets a bit old. I will confess to liking the “good old days” when men wore suits on the airlines. Adults in flannel PJs and carrying pillows on the night flights is less fun than one would hope. The first time I see someone boarding a plane in footie PJs, I may scream.

I imagine that some people take this post and end up realizing fairly soon that it’s just not for them. Have you seen that happen? How is it handled when/if it does?

It’s not at all uncommon for someone to realize that they were not cut out for camp life. I’ve had several people who were not able to finish their first two week rotation. The record is one young man who realized after about three hours that he was not going to like working here. He flew in one day, reported to work the next and then flew out that day.

Most of the time, it’s relatively easily handled. If the person is willing to work a full rotation, they can resign without prejudice. If they feel in the future that they’re ready to try again, they will be considered for an open position.

In some cases, we have folks who just can’t tolerate another day. That is a minor problem, since our regular flights to Anchorage are only on Wednesday and Saturday. If it does come up, we can hire a local airlines to fly them to Kotzebue where connecting flights to ANC are available. The planes for the local airlines generally hold only 6-12 people, and getting one to stop by for a quick pick-up isn’t too difficult.

That is a discussion that I have particularly with the young people who apply for positions in the lab. I point out that if they like being single, working here gives them a good chance to stay that way. When you’re away from home for two-thirds of the time, you don’t have much time to develop relationships. I urge them to consider that very carefully. We invest a good deal of time and effort in training our employees, and having folks work for a few months before deciding that they can’t maintain the lifestyle is expensive. It’s much better to think of that early, both for the employee and for the laboratory.

{ 94 comments… read them below }

  1. TotesMaGoats

    All of this was absolutely fascinating! So very cool! (Pun completely intended.)

    If we can add to the list of jobs we’d like to hear about: buyer for somewhere like Macy’s. I’ve always been intrigued by that role and I know nothing about it.

  2. Steve

    Great interview and such well thought out answers. I would have liked to have known a little more about the off hours; personal space situations, are any pets allowed, any kind of private social interaction – I don’t necessarily mean sex, but how intimate personal relationships can become, etc.

    Thanks, Kevin, for giving us a glimpse of your work world.

  3. Kristen

    Hey, cool! I was a researcher at a remote field station on the Alaskan tundra in grad school, and I absolutely loved it up there. This all sounds very familiar and brings back fond memories!

  4. Stephanie

    Very cool! More interviews like this, please!

    Is there a medic on-site? For major emergencies, do you have to be airlifted to Anchorage? Are you allowed visitors?

    And yes, it is hard conveying spicy in regions/cuisines that don’t usually have spicy food.

    1. Natalie

      The Splendid Table just did a piece on Thai food in Germany – apparently there is some kind of underground Thai market that is the only place you can actually get spicy food. They interviewed customers there and almost all of them were expats.

      1. louise

        I’ll have to look that up! I’m not a regular ST listener, but am always delighted when I happen to catch it.

    2. pgh_adventurer

      I would love to see more of these interviews! Like “Dirty Jobs”, but not necessarily dirty…just outside the norm.

    3. Anonsie

      That was my question as well. What about medical facilities? Does the mine employ a clinic staff? What types of health workers, if so? I… I want to know for reasons.

      Come to think of it, what about a pharmacy, OTC or prescriptions? And other basic necessities, for that matter. Things like deodorant or toothpaste. I imagine there’s probably some shopping available for things like that, even just a small commissary-style thing? Or is everything provided?

  5. Sascha

    Very cool, thank you so much for the interview! I would also like to see more interviews like this about other professions.

  6. Leah

    Wow, this is so interesting! Thank you for doing this interview.

    I was trying to figure out, how do they get so much fresh fruit all the way up to you? Also, do you and the other people on site ever go outside/ski/snowshoe/hunt?

  7. LBK

    Is it weird that this sounds like something I would love to do? Maybe not for the rest of my career, but I could totally envision myself living and working there for a few years…it sounds fascinating.

    1. Anonicorn

      Same here. I always watch movies like The Thing and think how I’d love to do something like that, minus the alien monster of course.

    2. Canadamber

      Yes! Sadly, I don’t have a science background (taking commerce in university), but this sounds so cool.

  8. AdminAnon

    So fascinating! I’m going to add to the requests for more interviews like this. Thanks Alison and Kevin!!

  9. Jake

    I think a lot of people would be surprised by how many “camp workers” there actually are. It is very common in construction. When I worked for a top 20 contractor every person that had more than 15 years of experience had worked at least 3 of those years on a camp job out in Africa, Canada, Northern New York, etc.

    They loved the 2 weeks on 1 week completely off thing… It actually works out that you get to spend significantly more time with your family than the standard work week.

  10. BetsyTacy

    See, to me this sounds like a pretty great gig. My husband works as an engineer on commercial shipping vessels and when you’re going across an ocean- there’s no plane that comes once or twice a week. These ships now usually have internet but speed isn’t guaranteed so having Skype sounds really fantastic. From experience I tell you that 2 to 4 weeks isn’t that long to spend apart (record is around 150 days for us with 6-8 weeks between phone calls at one point).

    Awesome interview and I’m amazed at how many parallels there are between working in this type of isolated field camp and working on a ship.

      1. BetsyTacy

        Thank you! I was trying to explain to someone the awesomeness of this series of books a few days ago and they asked ‘oh. like the babysitters’ club?’

        I am glad I wasn’t the only kid reading these!

        1. hayling

          I read those too! Thanks to a wonderful librarian at my elementary school who introduced me to so many books.

  11. Chantal

    Awesome interview – very interesting! Thanks!

    In addition to the other questions, I was also curious, what’s the male-female ratio out there, and how does the women’s experience differ from the men’s?

    1. Lissajous

      I’m not at the same site as Kevin – or even the same country! I’m in Australia – but I do work on mine sites. Generally the ones I’m on are smaller than what Red Dog sound like, from Kevin’s description here, but I work for a consultancy so I’ve been on a few of them.

      In my experience the percentage of women on site is usually quite low. On smaller sites – 30-100 people, say – I am often the only woman, or one of two or three, who isn’t camp staff or admin (camp staff and admin don’t generally go out on the plant etc.) On the other hand I’m usually involved with getting a new mine started, or refurbishing an old one; the numbers may be a bit better on an operating mine, when you have lab staff etc. (I’m a mechanical project engineer). Roles that work on mines in the plant – trades (boilermakers, fitters, sparkies, mechanics, truckies, blasters etc), geologists, engineers (mechanical, chemical, process, sometimes civil and structural, electrical, mining), lab techs, etc. The gender disparity in those occupations will give you an idea of the likely disparity on site.

      Having said that, I’ve never really had any trouble working with the boys due to gender; generally there’s an attitude of “well, you’re out here and getting your hands dirty, you must be alright.” For the sites I work on, as long as you’re not the sort person to stay inside the office doing paperwork all day (and that applies regardless of gender – a civil engineer we had once, who was a guy, comes to mind), and as long as you’re used to a bit of dust and dirt (and mud when it rains), you’ll get along fine. And to do my work well I need to get out and around anyway.

    1. Anonsie

      As long as you have some folks who speak Norwegian, they’ll get the warning in the beginning and the whole thing can just be avoided.

  12. louise

    So neat! I’m pretty sure I want to go to there.

    I spent a summer in Alaska right out of high school working for a small radio station and living in a apartment attached to it. One of the best experiences of my life — I often wish I hadn’t been only 18 because I’d get so much more out of an experience like that now, in my 30s.

  13. The IT Manager

    Very, very, very interesting. thank you, Alison and Kevin. Reminds me of Air Force deployments at established deployed locations except nicer and with lots more time off. Not that military doesn’t try hard, but they generally do not/cannot build permanent structures in deployed locations (lots of trailers and portable buildings) and lots of deployed locations don’t really have very high quality food available so the food isn’t nearly as good as it sounds at the Red Dog Mine.

    Even that, though, I always did say one of the best perks about being deployed is that you pretty much can only work and play. There’s no house work (except sweeping the tent or trailer), chores, or errands to worry about and someone else cooks and cleans up after your meals. I always got an amazing amount of reading done while deployed. It was only that or watching DVDs when I got back to my trailer.

    I think the point about being single/remaining single is a good one, though. Wouldn’t have thought of that. I would guess, also, that for people with young kids it is tougher than those with older ones because young kids change quickly, and the remaining spouse is a single parent when the miner is away. I’m not sure if them being there full time for half a year can make up for the half a year, they’re being a single parent.

  14. B

    Oh how fascinating this was to read. Thank you Kevin for taking the time to do this interview, it really was such a pleasure to understand something many of us have always wondered about.

    AAM – please keep these coming!

  15. University Allison

    This was great! Not something I could do, but fascinating all the same. (Footie pajamas –> scream is a great line. Bravo!)

  16. Ashley

    So neat! I once interviewed a candidate who worked on (in?) Antartica – it was really hard for me to not just spend the whole interview slot talking about Antartica and how cool/different that must be.

  17. Sabrina

    Very cool. I know a gal who spent ~2 years in a semi less remote town in AK because her husband was a doctor at the local hospital. They didn’t have a cook though :) they were in an actual town with roads and a library and all that. Still, it was remote, everything was more expensive, and visiting home was a pain. Interesting experience, I don’t know if I could have done it!

  18. Nerd Girl

    Loved this!
    There are so many jobs out there that I find fascinating: fire jumpers, broadway dancers, trash collectors, etc. I wouldn’t necessarily want to do any othe jobs but I find it so fascinating that there are so many people who do the job and usually without any kind of recognition. Fire Jumpers literally jump from a plane into a wildfire…why are we not hearing about these people more? Broadway dancers smile, tap and leap across the stage all the while knowing that they’re not getting top billing…and they do it 8 nights a week! Trash collectors pick up our garbage and hold onto that truck in searing heat and freezing cold to keep our neighborhoods clean. When was the last time we actually “looked” at the face of the person handling the trash. I know I tend to curse when I get stuck behind the truck but that’s about it for me. I’d love to have interviews with people in “exciting” jobs as well as the jobs that people don’t want.

    1. Jen

      Check out Dirty Job’s if you haven’t watched it before – it’s features jobs like these (those that a lot of people wouldn’t want/do, or oddball jobs no one has ever heard of). Regularly has reruns on Animal Planet. Oh and the host, Mike Rowe, has a new series that’s similar on CNN called Somebody’s Gotta Do It – the first episode was very cool exploring how the Vegas show “Le Reve” works and all the backstage/behind the scenes stuff.

      1. Crow

        Mike Rowe is my flippin’ hero! Always game to try any job, always ready with a dry and hilarious quip, and typically screws up SOMEthing pretty good, always unintentionally. The ep where he spears a pallet of rice with a fork lift was the best example; I think if the cameras weren’t there, the boss would have probably punched Mike for that. I fear just how much Discovery must have paid for his accidents.

        Oh, and the show is pretty dang educational as well!

  19. Michele

    What a great read! I think I might go crazy living that remotey but it sounds like they really take care of people. I would love to see thousands of Caribou migrating. That would be a beautiful sight!

  20. Crow

    This was brilliantly written, and fascinating. I had considered sending in some mining and geology related questions (my field), and I’m glad I didn’t. I think this was more accessible and frankly, more interesting. Thanks to both of you for putting this together! Allison, please do some more interviews, this was great.

    Also I’m jealous of all that Northern Lights time!

  21. Cool!

    As someone who works in the mining sector, but in a lab that isn’t onsite, I am so intrigued by this. I’ve heard many tales of Red Dog (sort of as the best known test case) when we’re discussing how to implement technology in a very remote area, and I love seeing this insider perspective.

    1. Chriama

      I should add – I know certain native populations have first dibs, so I’m wondering about the other people.

  22. Chriama

    How do you even get a job like this? Do you just apply to job ads, or does the company do some sort of targeted recruiting?

  23. kdizzle

    Super interesting! Thank you for sharing! I wasn’t expecting it to be, but that sounds positively wonderful in comparison to my spouse’s time as a submarine officer. After having dinner on the sub, I went home and cried; and I’m not a crier. One-ply toilet paper, y’all. One. Ply.

  24. Hollis

    This was so interesting – I’ve never read anything like it and Kevin did a wonderful job of explaining the pros and cons of his position. I would love to read more interviews like this on Askamanager!

  25. Lamington

    As someone who works for oil and gas company thanks to brave people like Kevin I can have a job in the office

  26. Jamie S

    The Arctic Circle is a local fast-food chain in Utah. I thought at first this was a really weird sponsored article.

  27. The Other Katie

    Thank you very much to both Kevin and Alison for doing this! It was fascinating, I’d love to see other “unusual” jobs profiled here like this.

  28. Kevin

    I can respond to a couple of the comments:
    First, we have no pets. The housing arrangements are much like a college dormitory. When I’m on site, I have the same room every time, but when I’m off site, it will be used for housing guests, or employees who haven’t been assigned a permanent room. There are no facilities for furry friends.

    We do allow guests on a limited basis. They must be over 18 because of safety and legal concerns. Each employee may have a guest for one week per year as space allows.

    We do have married couples who work on site, and we have larger “apartments” to accomodate them. Other social arrangements probably are again a lot like a college dorm. They range from a society of hermits to the very social, as we may desire.

    We have excellent medics on site. There is a PA available 24/7. They handle routine colds/flu shots, etc. More importantly, both of our PAs are ex-military and are very familiar with trauma medicine. In the very rare instances where we have a serious incident, they are well qualified to handle it. We have satellite connections to a hospital in Anchorage and equipment to handle the “routine” heart attack, and both training and equipment for an industrial accident. If necessary, we can med-evac folks to ANC by jet (or Coast Guard helicopter if the weather is too bad).

    1. Anonsie

      Oops, I could have scrolled and you answered my question! Is there no MD/DO, though? Or do PAs not need to be with a physician to practice in Alaska. I imagine they’d have to have a lot of trauma experience, that makes sense.

      What do you do about prescriptions?

      1. Treena Kravm

        PAs can be supervised by an MD/DO out of the office, even hundreds of miles away. Very standard in community healthcare settings.

  29. MeUnplugged

    This was great to read! Thank you Alison and especially Mr. Lackey for this interview. Absolutely fascinating! I’d like to see more of these kinds of interviews! :)

  30. acmx

    Thanks to Kevin and Alison! It was a great interview.
    Kinda brings back memories; my father had an accompanied tour in the Aleutian chain.

  31. Anonsie

    I’m really enjoying the related posts linked on this one: “how should companies handle snow days?”

  32. JoAnna

    Fascinating!

    For anyone who is interested, I keep seeing these job postings for positions in Antarctica (will post link as a reply so this post doesn’t get sent to moderation).

    1. Former Professional Computer Geek

      I once knew someone who worked at one of the research bases in Antarctica. She used to say: You go there and you stay there for months. Where she worked you got a day off per week. The kitchen was manned 24×7 and you could get a hot meal at any time. Everyone would bring a mess of DVDs and tv shows would be watched as if they were broadcast (ie. Every Xday at N pm is when they’d watch an episode of Y tv show.) While researchers have their primary jobs, everyone takes a turn at general chores. When shipments come in (by planes, which are often cancelled or delayed due to crazy weather), everyone is required to pitch in and get things on and off the plane so it can get back into the air as soon as possible. Her stories were amazing, and it’s a pity she no longer makes them public.

  33. Momghoti

    So interesting! It’s nice to hear about other job situations. I like reading the column, but the comments make it even more valuable. It’s fascinating how different areas and fields have such different standards and norms!

    Thinking about living on-site, a friend of mine put himself through school by spending the summers working on an oil pipeline. It was good money, since room and board was included, and it paid for his tuition and living for the rest of the year if he wasn’t extravagant (we went to a state school that had very reasonable in state tuition…). Then one year he started school as normal and got a message that his tuition check had bounced….turns out that the company he worked for scarpered and had paid with bad checks. :( He was out a whole summer’s worth of pay. The school worked with him so he could continue, but ouch!! Sadly I lost track so I don’t know if he was ever compensated.

  34. yasmara

    I’m pretty sure my friend’s husband works for a similar mine. They actually moved away from Alaska to Missouri so she could be near family while she’s home alone w/their 6 kids – he commutes by plane from Kansas City to ANC & then takes the charter to work. Talk about extreme commutes!

  35. Ask a Manager Post author

    I’m glad everyone likes these interviews! I’m definitely open to doing more, but I need your help to find more interesting people to do them with. So: Who do you know with a fascinating job?

  36. Purr purr purr

    That sounds like my old job too! Although we had significantly less perks like a gym and sauna because we were stuck in tents. The seismic boats are the best though. Kevin, any chance of getting a geologist a job up there? ;)

  37. Former Professional Computer Geek

    Wow. I gotta say, that’s kinda cushy. :-) Long story short, I got snowed into my apartment last winter. Between mid-December and mid-April, the only person I saw was the delivery driver for a weekly box of groceries.

  38. Puffle

    This was a fantastic post, thank you so much Alison and Kevin! It’s so interesting reading these interview posts, and I think all us readers really appreciate the time and effort that both Alison and the interviewee put into them.

  39. Joy

    Wow, that was so interesting – thanks Kevin! I live in Bethel, but I’m not really familiar with Red Dog at all.
    More please Alison :)

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