Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A gift from Beyond...maybe??

It was three weeks yesterday that Twicket moved on to the next life. How did that happen?? Seems like yesterday sometimes and forever ago at others. One of the last things I told him was that if he knew of another senior kitty in need to send the kitty my way. Twicket was a senior when I adopted him, already over 13 when he arrived. I had looked at some other cats at the shelter, but wanted to wait for a senior, to honor Twicket's memory.

Stuart called me this morning and asked me to bring him lunch at the shelter. So I took him lunch and just as i was about to leave, he asked if I wanted to meet a kitty. I was introduced to a big white fluffball with clear blue eyes. She was hiding in a kitty condo, but came out for some loving after a few minutes. I cried into her fur for a bit as she reminded me of my Twicket--who was predominately white with big blue eyes.

Later Stuart told me how old she is and asked if I wanted her. She was abandoned yesterday by her owner who didn't want to take her when he moves. Kasha joined the family a couple hours later. She was born the same year as Twicket so she's 15! She appears younger than her age. She was seen by my vet today(he's also the shelter vet) and Dr. Kim says that Kasha could have several years of life left in her. She's in very good shape! She has a small red spot above her tail from over grooming, but hopefully once she settles in here that will stop.

When I went back to pick her up, there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky. The perfectly rational side of me knows that came from the shower we had just before, but the other part of me, the part that believes in miracles and the Rainbow Bridge, believes that rainbow was Twicket giving his approval.

I know that Kasha is not Twicket and she will never replace him, but there is room for another in my heart & home. Welcome home Kasha and Thanks Twicket!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sleet's getting old.

Sleet is getting old and I hate it! She's my little canine soulmate. I love all my dogs, but Sleet has a special place for me. My first "real" sled dog, my first leader. If not for Sleet, I'd either still be in the yard trying to figure things out or hopelessly lost in the middle of nowhere! But she's at least 11 now. Her eyes are cloudy, her hips are stiff and she just can't pull anymore. Her last run was almost a year ago. Her last run was also Ozzy's first run on September 11, 2004. She never asked to go last winter at all, although she would bark at the team sometimes. She knew her time had passed. The year before she ran occasional, short, quick, fun runs.

Today she had to go to the vet again. Her allergies are acting up. She's late this year. Usually she needs a steriod shot by June. I thought we might get through to the snow without meds, but she was scratching herself raw again.

As an added bonus, yesterday she started walking on three legs. She wouldn't put any weight on her left hind leg. She's been getting stiffer and slower over the past few months. There's definately athritis in her hips, but this hopping was new and without a preceeding incident, at least that I saw.

Sleet hates the vet. I have never figured out why they have to make the floors so freaking slippery in clinics! She hates that feeling under her feet. Today we saw Dr. Kim Friedenberg who was nice enough to do the exam outside. No way was he going to see how Sleet walks in the clinic. She was not standing up even. I had to carry her through the door! He did a very complete exam on the little patch of lawn beside the clinic!

Sleet has an acute injury to her left hind ankle. She likely twisted it. It's swollen and sore, but doesn't appear to be too serious. If she's not weightbearing by Monday, she has to go back for x-rays. She's still eating and drinking and trying to run around the yard. I don't think she's in an extreme amount of pain. Unfortunately, with the steriod shot, she can't take Metacam for a while. They don't mix well. The depro-medral shot she had today though has some anti-inflammatory properties and should help her ankle too.

Her right leg has some laxity in the knee, but apparently it doesn't bother her. The hip on that side is great, almost a full range of motion in it. The left knee is solid and the ligament is tight. However, that hip is a mess. She has a very limited range of motion in it. But again, she showed no pain signs. No yelping, no trying to pull away, nothing. She did all of those things when Kim was messing with her ankle, but not when he was manipulating her hips. He doesn't think meds are warranted yet for her hips, but I will be upping her glucosamine and other supplements.

He's a little worried about her teeth too--her incisors are gone, worn right to nothing, her one lower canine is broken and most of her molars are cracked. She broke the canine a couple years ago. It's a complicated dental surgery to remove it and there is a very high probability that her jaw would break in the process. It doesn't bother her at all so I've never done anything with it. Most of Sleet's life she's eated bones and frozen fish. That's worn down her teeth. Again, no pain it seems and no sign of infection in her teeth or gums. She chowed down on a piece of frozen moose tonight!

It all sounds like bad news, but overall Kim said she's in pretty good shape for an 11 year old sled dog. Her heart is strong; her lungs are clear; she's hears well; her coat is shiny and soft; her weight is stable and healthy for her; she's happy and fairly active. She should be with us for a good while yet to come. Thank doG!!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Twicket's Stone...

I make memorial stones for each critter as they move on. Twicket's was ready to be moved outside today. One of the teardrop stones broke when it came out of the mold. I'll have to redo that one next time we are mixing concrete which shouldn't be long. There are more fence posts to set!

Twicket's fur was full of swirls of orange in no particular pattern. I called him a flame point, but he wasn't really pointed like a purebred siamese cat would be. I put the glass pieces in his stone in random order to symbolize the nature of his markings. The blue pieces in the teardrop match the color of his eyes.

This is where all the stones sit for now. Next summer I'm going to make a little garden spot for them. Just have to find the right spot in the yard. I miss all three of you all the time.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Back in the harness again!!!

WOOOO!!! It's pretty cool here today. Time to get the lazy sled dogs off the couch and back in their harnesses. They went nuts when I started the ATV, so I decided a small team would do for our first run! Five dogs--Pingo-Paxil, Hobo, Antare-Pacer. Hobo has to run alone or I could have taken 6. Psycho puppy can't contain his energy well enough to have a partner. He gets so excited that he'll start a fight just to pass the time until he can run!

Sorry about the blurry pic--taken on my old digital and it's really hard to hold a camera and drive the ATV at the same time! This was just barely into the run. Look at those happy husky butts!

Taking a little break where we turned around. The dogs thought this was a bad idea. They would have prefer to keep going and take the long trail. It's a little warm for a long run though. After some discussion, the girls up front decided to "HAW" after all!

Back home after about 5km, happy, tired dogs! They did really well considering they haven't seen a harness or heard a command since late April!

Today's Team Members:

My Pingo girl! I was really impressed with her. She's had some trouble with soft tissue injuries lately, pulling muscles in her hips, but she was raring to go tonight. Her gait looked great, her tail was up and wagging the whole way. I'll give her some Metacam tonight just in case she's a little sore, but I think she's going to be fine. That is a relief--I need my leader girl! Plus she's one of my favorites(don't tell the others!)

My precious Paxil--can you tell she's over 9 years old and had cancer last winter? Me neither. She is as good as sled dogs come! I love that spotted tongue too!

Hobo, running in swing all by himself. We should all approach life with joy and enthusiasm that Hobo does! This world would be a much happier, peaceful place! I suppose if a wolf had tried to make his dinner and I lived to tell the story, I'd be pretty joyful to still be here too!

Pacer ran in wheel with Antare. A year ago, the sound of the ATV motor would have terrified him. Tonight, he didn't even notice. He was so happy to be working again. He does love to pull and what a beautiful gait! (It's easy to analyze their gaits from the quad. You can learn alot about a dog when you watch their butt wiggle for mile after mile!)

And finally, Antare, solid, dependable, little Antare. There's not much too him under all that fur, but he uses every ounce of muscle. He's a strong little guy and he'll pull all day. Antare never lets me down!

WOOOOO!! Now I can't wait for snow!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Delta & Antare's Gotcha Day!

Three years ago today, two timid 9 month old littermates joined our pack. Technically fosters at the time, but seriously, did anyone think they were leaving!? Delta and Antare had spent most of their puppyhood in the shelter. Cute as buttons, but no one was interested in dogs who cowered in the back corner of their kennel all day, who had to be carried outside even for fun stuff.

Their shelter website pic. Such cute little guys, but they rarely moved from this position!

The day they joined us wasn't a particularly happy one around our kennel. The night before we had rushed Kayleigh to the vet with a 6 inch gash across her neck, a wound inflicted by her sister who we were attempting to foster. Unfortunately, Summit's temperment was even worse than Kayleigh's and despite our best efforts we could not keep our permanent residents safe from Summit. So on the morning of August 16 as the shelter manager unlocked the doors, I was waiting with Summit in the truck. She had to go back to the shelter, the only foster we've ever completely given up on. Of course there were no open kennels so someone had to leave for Summit to return. I said we'd take a timid, non-aggressive male and walked out with two of them.

When we got to the house, Antare could not get out of the truck fast enough. He was thrilled to see other dogs and he already knew several of them from the shelter. It took over an hour to convince Delta that it was safe to come out.

They've come a long way in three years. They will never be super friendly, outgoing dogs, but they no longer cower in fear from everything. Antare is one of the best little sled dogs I have. He'll do anything if it means he can go for a run. He hates being left behind. Several miles from home, I can still hear his mournful howls if he's left in the yard.

My happy little sled dog--even when there's no snow!

Delta is still much more timid than his brother, but we can handle him now. He doesn't approach often for attention, but we have long conversations every day. He does love to WOOOOO at me. I'm hoping this winter he will find his place in the team too. That beautiful gait is being wasted running around the yard! Delta adores other dogs and they in turn adore him. He is one of the dogs in our kennel who can go in just about any pen and get along with the other dogs.

Even at -40C, Delta's a looker!

I wasn't happy the day I got them, but I'm happy they are here. Happy Anniversary, boys.

Oh, & Summit, the foster from hell, eventually found her forever home too--with a single man who lives in the boonies, no other dogs, no cats, no kids, no neighbors. A perfect place for her less than perfect temperment!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Godspeed, Twicket

Twicket lost his battle with time late this afternoon. I could not have asked for a better crossing for him, if he had to go. He was calm, serene and in no pain. He died in my arms, which was his most favorite place to be. His breathing had been shallow for about half an hour. Then he let out two big sighs, stretched his paws out around my neck and was gone.

(Taken August 7, 2005 during a snuggle session)

I am so grateful that he waited for me to get home and that I was able to spend those last moments with him. I spent several hours today just holding him and telling him how very much I love him. My boss was kind enough to let me have a two hour lunch break and I left early so I could spend time with him. I got to tell him everything I needed to and I know that he left surrounded by nothing but love.

He was an amazing cat and I was blessed to know him. I will miss his purr, his snuggles, the way he slept around my head. I'm not sure my heart can take this. It has only been nine weeks since Dominique died.

I know that he was met at the bridge by Dominique and Hoodoo and that all three of my bridge kids are together, happy and healthy. The ravages of old age no longer affect Twicket and he is able to play and run again. I hope there are lots of honeysuckle trees up there. He did love his honeysuckle!

Rest well, my little angel. You deserve it. I wish we had more time together, but I don't regret a second of what we did have. I knew you wouldn't be here for a terribly long time when I adopted you. You were already over 13. My heart is broken again now, but you were so worth it. I love you, snuggle-buddy. I will see you when I get there.

My all-time favorite pic of my beautiful boy.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Trip to Haines....

We spent the past weekend in Haines, Alaska, one of my favorite places. It's a beautiful drive there, it's a gorgeous little town and it doesn't scream "tourist trap" the way Skagway does!

Taken from the Haines Highway on our way down. Not a bad pic considering I took it through the windshield!

We rented this little cabin at Salmon Run campground. I don't sleep in a tent, especially in an area as full of bears as Haines is! We saw a little grizzly close to the campground, but it was too dark for pics.

We arrived right around supper time, so we decided to eat junk at the State Fair. After a greasy, totally not good for us dinner, I indulged my inner hippie and bought some great clothes while Stuart tested the local beers! Then came the big event....Steve Earle! The entire reason we were in Haines in the first place.

I've seen alot of Steve shows and this one was Steve at his best! He played for well over two hours, did a three song encore, interacted with the crowd lots. There had been some negative press about him in the local papers--too political, too anti-Bush for some. But the crowd that came out to see him clearly weren't those people. This crowd knew the words to "Christmastime in Washington"--I thought I was the only one! ;) It was even better than the show in Whitehorse. NO drunk idiots yelling at him to play Copperhead Road--it's damn near 20 years old people, lets move on!

Sunday morning, my co-worker took us fishing on her boat. The fish weren't biting, but we had a great time anyway and saw some amazing sights!

Like the Davidson Glacier.

Stuart did catch one fish. It may be the tiniest pink salmon ever caught!

He had much better luck on Monday when he went fly fishing in the Chilkoot River. He loves to fly fish for salmon.

I kayaked on Chilkoot Lake while Stuart was fishing. The ocean swells were a bit much for me! The lake is huge and stunning! It was a lovely paddle!

Then we took the ferry to Skagway. It's a much shorter drive that way and the ferry is a relaxing way to travel. Skagway was insanely busy--3 big cruise ships in town for a total of close to 15, 000 tourists in the tiny town! Crazy! We did not stay long!

The dogs were thrilled to see us come home. Stuart's dad took care of them and they were fine with him, but acted like they had been left to fend for themselves! There was one unauthorized absence while we were gone. Ozzy escaped, but let himself back in a couple hours later. I finally got his brother safely confined and now Ozzy is being an escape artist! Never a dull moment with huskies!