Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Birthday Delta & Antare

Sheesh, I almost forgot! Halloween means Delta and Antare are four years old!Antare celebrated with a 15km run. Pulling is his favorite thing to do. All of his fears vanish when he's in harness! Delta is making slow and steady progress, but he's still the most timid dog here. He is a sweetie though.

They are very attached to each other. Antare picks on Delta occasionally, but no one else is allowed to--just like human siblings!

Happy birthday boys!

Sweet, sweet Chase...

Chase grew up in the local shelter. Came in at four months old, already terrified of pretty much everything; got his name from the amount of time people spent chasing him around trying to catch him; came here at about 18 months old. Growing up in a shelter, no matter how nice of a shelter, does funny things to a dog's head. Chase is simply not all there. Quite frankly, he's a little dense! But he is nothing but sweetness and silliness. He's always happy, always up for a run, loves to cuddle and adores Goldie. Goldie is a bit of a bitch and she didn't have any doggie friends before Chase got here. She can handle the other dogs in short doses, but she can't live with them. She can't live without Chase now. They are a little doggy love story!

Technically, this is a lousy picture, but it does give you some idea of how fast Chase is. This was just in his pen. He has a huge pen and shares it only with Goldie.

He's really a very handsome boy, when he stays still long enough for a picture!

And he's a big momma's boy! A trait I kind of enjoy in him!

Off to run a team now....Chase is a great wheel dog too!

Oh, one pic of his girlyfriend!

She does her best to keep up with him, but her short little legs just can't get that kind of speed up!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Wandering Jimmy.....

Earlier this week, my friend, Braden called to ask if I had any strange dogs in my yard. Well, I have lots of strange dogs in my yard, but at the time I didn't have any who don't belong here! Braden had a one of those runs that make people give up mushing. In the process of untangling an 18 dog team, he lost a few of them. Now he often lets his dogs loose and they just run home. Most of them did just that, but Jimmy vanished. It's always the truly great lead dogs who vanish into the mist! So I've been keeping an eye out for a skinny little black and tan sled dog still wearing his harness--who was not one of my skinny black and tan sled dogs! (well, mine aren't that skinny!) No sign of Jimmy for days though, until last night!

Jimmy showed up just down the road at what I call "the crazy neighbors' place". He was in her yard and her dogs are miserable beasts! I'm the only musher she knows she so figured he must be my dog. I didn't bother to correct her, I just took Jimmy in!

He is unbelievably skinny, but otherwise unharmed! He ate like a dog 4 times his size last night. I feed him small amounts three times and two more times this morning! Last night I couldn't get ahold of Braden or his handler, Steph, so Jimmy spent the night in the arctic entry.

I took Jimmy home early this afternoon. He was very happy to be back in a familar place. He gets to be a house dog for a little while. He needs to gain some weight before he will be able to keep himself warm outside!

While I was there I got to check out Braden's dog yard, including the two dogs he thinks I should take! I'm seriously tempted.....both leaders......need a leader......sigh......

This is Sundin. Not only am I tempted by his ability to lead, but also by the fact that he is my Pingo's son! Pingo also used to call Braden's home, until almost three years ago when she came to me! She's a great dog, slightly neurotic, but aren't we all, a little at least!?? Sundin is very much like his mother and would probably fit in nicely here.

This is Cookie. Cookie had a near death experience last spring. She had a singleton litter, but the pup died in utero and became stuck. She had to have an emergency c-section/spay to save her life. She also had some weird reaction to the drugs used during the surgery. She's a bit of wheezer now and takes prednisone regularly for this. She's very sweet though and seems to hold no ill will!

Jimmy is not the first of Braden's dogs to wander his way into our yard. A couple years ago a young puppy did the same thing. He stayed for several days. He didn't look like a sled dog so I never called Braden about him! He looked like a black lab! But eventually, he found his way back to his rightful owner. He was a great puppy though. I'd have kept him and I don't do puppies!

That dog is now over two years old and called White-Paw. He grew up just a lovely as I expected he would! He's still a big sweetie!

....need a best is almost 10 and had cancer last winter....................need a leader.........

Monday, October 24, 2005


Well, snow was falling today while we were out on the trails, but there was barely enough for Antare and Pingo to lick up. Have I mentioned they are both dippers? Oh, they tried to dip today, but only got dirty noses for their efforts. It's a habit I should probably try to break, but I don't really care that much. They can grab snow if they want to. Hopefully, there will actually be enough for them to get a real mouthful soon!

Pingo and Raven taking a break today at the spot we turned around. Raven is laying down. She's no fool, she takes a break whenever she can. Plus Pingo and I were having a little discussion about what the word "GEE" means. That's why she wouldn't look at me. She knew she was ticking me off! Took three tries to get her to gee today. She wanted to keep going straight, along the trail she runs most often. I wanted to turn right and go home. I won eventually, but Pingo was quite clear that she disagreed with my training plan! About the only thing I really like about training on the ATV is that parking brake! Means I can correct issues without worrying about my team running off without me--not that my lovely crew would ever do that!!!!!

Deuce came along today too. First time he's run beside another dog. He was great. Antare can be a little jerk sometimes. He thinks he's very tough, until another dog actually challenges him. At that point he's a little wimp again! Apparently, he knows that Deuce could kick his butt and was wise enough to just shut up and pull!

Today was Ozzy's first run in a long while. Last time I tried to put him in the team, he blew a gasket, slipped his harness, broke his collar and vanished into the forest! Apparently he didn't want to run that day! He did follow the team though and came back into the yard without any further commotion. Today he waited by the picket line to be hooked up (God bless the person who invented those things!) He ran very nicely in wheel beside Franklin, who never misses a stride.

This was taken after 12 km. Happy little Ozzy looking like he could run another 100km. He's the sweetest little guy. I love his happy, optimistic nature. Hard to remember that he used to be afraid of his own shadow and was pretty sure that all humans were pure evil!

Ah, the joys of cats...

After being gone for a week, were my cats happy to see me back? NO! That would not be dignified. The dogs were joyful and all over me. The cats were little snots!

Glacier wouldn't even look at me.

Pete just glared!

Only Kasha was truly happy to see me!

She promptly took up residence in her favorite spot! (Pic was taken before I left, but if I'm sitting down, Kasha's cuddled up!)


Finally, here are some pics from my trip to Halifax. I think I've recovered from the jet lag, but I picked up some kind of cold on the plane! Thank God for NyQuil!!

This is a view of downtown Halifax. It's a beautiful city. I found it a bit confining. The streets are very narrow and the buildings are huge. Course I can't see any buildings from my house, except our garage! I'm very used to being able to walk for miles and never see another person!

The architecture in the city is stunning. This is St. Anthony's church. It's a beautiful building.

They have these funky lobsters all over town. This music-inspired one was my favorite.

I went on this tour bus on Sunday. Stops at all the historic sites around the city--the Titanic gravesite, the Citadel, and the Alexander Keith Brewery! (He does make a good beer!) Only posting this one cuz I like the rainbow in it though!

This is the view from the Citadel--where the soldiers were stationed to protect the colony from invading ships.

A ginormous tanker ship just leaving the port. Can't go to Halifax without walking along the harbour and taking pictures of ships!

Will post a couple more in a new entry!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Kayleigh & Muskwa

I'm back from Halifax--so tired I can hardly see straight so please forgive any typos in this post. I literally crossed the entire country yesterday--left Halifax at 7am East Coast time(3am Yukon time) and got here at 5pm Yukon time. I am wiped out. I haven't even plugged my camera in yet, but I did take lots of pics so they will be coming soon.

Yesterday was Muskwa's birthday.

Muskwa(aka: Rat Brain, Musky the Husky, HEY YOU NO, Dammit-I-mean-it) is now 8 years old. You'd think he would be past driving me crazy, but in typical Siberian fashion he still finds new ways to outsmart me, piss me off and generally keep things interesting. He is still the pack alpha male and occasionally must be reminded that he is NOT my alpha too! Currently he is rarely outside of his dog house. He is guarding a stockpile of moose bones, cuz his life is so hard that he never knows when I'll feed him again(insert sarcastic voice)! Muskwa was my introduction to huskies. He was 7 months old when I met Stuart. What a long, strange trip he started! Happy birthday, Rat-brain. You drive me nuts, but I can't imagine life without you!

Today is Kayleigh Kahoona's birthday! She's seven.

Sometimes she's a lab in a malamute suit--she plays fetch, comes when she's called and is generally pretty laid back. Unless you happen to have food or you are another dog. Kayleigh quite firmly believes that she should be the only dog on the planet. Other dogs are at best treated with indifference. Most often they met with outright aggression. She hates other dogs, thinks cats are snacks and still has issues with food. Her first owner starved her as a puppy. Dogs forget alot of rotten things, but I don't think they ever forget being hungry. Kayleigh is handful and a constant challenge, but she's made progress and oh, the things she has taught me. I'd never dealt with a starved dog before her or a dog aggressive one. I'd never dealt with a big dog with a serious attitude problem. Never had to confine one or train one quite like her. Now I've dealt with all those issues and some others.

I believe that's why Kayleigh's here--I took one look into her big brown eyes in the shelter and knew to the very bottom of my soul that she was meant to be mine. She had things to teach me. I'd like to think I had some things to teach her too, like that not all humans are mean and that life can be fun! I'm a better person and a much better dog owner because of Kayleigh. She's a good teacher. Happy birthday pretty girl!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Pacer and See ya!

Pacer got the three drains taken out this afternoon. He was a very good boy--cooperative with the vet tech and he didn't destroy my truck trying to get out. Being in town is a little overwhelming for Pacer. Probably doesn't help that it almost always means he is sick or hurt and going to the vet. He seems to be healing well. He's trying to play a bit and running around more. He still prefers to be on the couch, but he's like that even when he's not hurt!

I am outta here for a week! I'm going to Halifax for a conference. It's going to be exhausting with the four hour time change and a full schedule of meetings, plus hanging out with my friend, Vicki who just moved back there. I'm sure I'll have lots of pictures to post when I get back. Type at y'all in a week or so.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Not where I wanted to spend Thanksgiving..

Sunday afternoon was relaxing for the dogs, Sunday night was not relaxing for anyone! Just as we finished pigging out on turkey, the dogs decided to have a pack fight! They've been great since June--no fights, no acting like big jerks. Who knows what their problem was last night, but Pacer got the worst of it AGAIN!!!

So off to the vet we go. No pumpkin pie for me or my friend, Lise, who drove while I kept Pacer from freaking out too much. (Thanks, Lise). The two vets didnt' get any pie either! Our usual vet, Kim, had a new guy helping him out last night, Kevin. They went to vet school together. Kevin was very good with Pacer. He gave him a dose of Dormitor, which I'd never seen used before. It's a morphine based sedative. Knocked Pacer on his butt in seconds, but he wasn't fully out. When he was done fixing Pacer up, he gave him another shot of a reversing agent and 10 minutes later, Pacer walked out of the clinic. A wobbly walk, but still he walked out. Much better than having to spend the night at the clinic. Waking up alone there would have scared Pacer to death. He's timid at the best of times!

Pacer has a variety of puncture wounds, including three with drains in them. Fun, fun. I hate drains! He's anti-biotics for a week. He was whining last night, but I think that was the drugs wearing off completely. He seems fine this morning. He's walking better than I would be! He won't go outside, but I don't blame him. He's never had an accident in the house so I assume that once he really has to pee he'll ask to go out. He took his pill like a good boy and wolfed down a hot dog right after. I think that's a good sign that he's eating something.

So most of the dogs are on chains for awhile. Heyoka started it again last night. He's tied up for several days. Muskwa was even in on the fight last night, which is most unusual for him. He is so getting neutered now! He's the only unaltered dog in the yard and that is not going to last much longer!

Pacer will be getting his own pen tonight. Not that he'll be in it any time soon, but it will be ready for him. Chum and Franklin will probably go in with him during the day. They get picked on a bit too sometimes. The three of them get along very well. The fence has been up for weeks, but we got distracted by getting other chores and never built the gate. The gate gets built tonight.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

How the dogs spent Sunday afternoon

What pure relaxation looks like:

Paxil trying to see how close she can get to the new woodstove without lighting herself on fire!

Mac practicing ignoring the cats.

Franklin vegging on the couch.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Trail Recon....

In order to avoid a run like my friend, Stacie had a few days ago, I decided to do some trail reconnaisance before I hooked up a team to run our most frequent trail. Link to Stacie's blog so you can see what I was trying to avoid. Stacie owns or rather is owned by a couple of Franklin's littermates!

I took Raven and Chum along with me and just let them run loose.

Now I understand where the term "busy beavers" comes from. This little patch of poplars was all standing a week ago when I went by. Fortunately the beavers were nice enough not leave any of their dinner blocking the trail.

The view from one of my favorite spots on the trail. It's about 7km from home. No problems to that point.

Chum was having a great time.

Raven never has understood the term "take a break". She was very busy exploring.

For the most part the trail was clear. I had to move a couple little trees and chopped down one patch of willows that I ran into about 100 times last winter. I just hate those trees! Someone had been out with a chainsaw all along the trail. Sawdust and branches everywhere.

Another favorite spot. It's even prettier in the winter, but it's also at the top of a long hill and I can never convince the dogs to stop long enough to get my camera out!

Then when we were almost done the loop, about 5 km left to go and we'd be home. Raven and Chum were both getting tired and I was getting a bit cold. Then we ran into this mess:

The trail is a bloody bog!!!! Chum figured he could run right through it, but I knew I'd get the quad stuck! There's no other way out from here so we had to turn around! An extra 12km run for Chum & Raven. ooppps!!

After running about 20km Raven finally took a little break.

Chum laid down too, but he still looks slightly insane!

Chum was a little stiff when we got home. Raven slept for an hour and was back to her nutty little self again. I'm not sure what it would take to truly exhaust her!

And I have to find a new loop, at least until that bog part is frozen!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Deuce's first run!

One of the joys of not working on Mondays is deserted trails! This morning was frosty, calm, perfect for a training run. At long last, Deuce was not limping, the ATV started no problem. I can't walk Deuce on a leash. He's too much for me to control. Never had a dog I couldn't leash walk before. I've been dying to see what Deuce would do in a harness and today was the day to find out!

I hooked him up last and ran him alone in swing. He can be a bit of jerk and is a bit fussy about his canine friends. I didn't feel like dealing with a fight today so he ran alone. He was raring to go! I suspect that at some point in his life he's been a sled dog before. He was very cooperative with putting the harness on. Sometimes with a new dog that simple act can turn into a full on wrestling match!

Off we go, heading down the trail. That's Raven & Paxil up front, Deuce in the middle and Antare & Pacer in wheel.

Taking a break at the half-way point. We didn't go very far today. Again, I didn't want to push Deuce too much. I wanted this to be a lot of fun for him, so he'll want to do it again!

I think he'll want to go again! He was a little confused about why we had stopped. He was the first dog to start tugging and whining to get started again! He kept his tug line tight the whole run and pulled every bit as hard as he does on leash. He's got an odd gait--runs like a malamute, front and back legs together instead of one side at a time, like a husky runs. But it works for him!

My happy leader girls. Paxil was flawless, as she always is. What will I ever do without her!???
I was thrilled with Raven today. Last winter, Raven had a rough time. She had no enthusiasm for pulling. She rarely wanted to come and when she did she didn't do very well. She spent most of her time looking back, slacking off and wanting to be set free. So she got left behind alot. The first winter Raven ran for me, she was amazing--ready to go all the time, learning to lead. So I was a little disappointed last year, but whatever, she doesn't want to pull, she doesn't have to. Today she was a little pulling machine, the Raven I remember from two years ago. She was having fun, listening well, pulling hard. I hope she stays like this!

Patient Pacer waiting to be unhooked at home. I freakin' adore this little dog. He's a sweetie and a steady, consistent worker.

Next time Deuce might get a running partner.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Not a nice way to start the weekend!

Tonight I pulled up to the gates (we have a double gate system across the driveway). As usual the main yard dogs all charged the gate to say hello. They've been alone for at least 3 hours which apparently is the same as eternity to them! I immediately notice that Preacher is not outside and not BAH-Woooing at me. No worries, Stuart must have been home and left Preacher in the house. But then I notice that there is no red cable hanging off his line. Preacher is blind and when he's in the yard he's tied on a trolley style line so he can't wander too far. Ok, getting worried, but maybe Stuart took it down for some reason--had to drive the wood truck through there, maybe.

Leave groceries in the truck, run to the house, look in all Preacher's sleeping spots, NO PREACHER. He is NOT in the house. Back outside, begining to shake now. Still yelling his name as loud as I can. No Preacher. Starting to cry now and on the verge of a full freak out.

We have two large holes in the yard. One that will soon be an in-ground freezer for dog food. It's way off to the left side of the yard. It's narrow and deep. Trying not to panic, I run over there. Thank God--No Preacher in there. I have had the horrific experience of finding one of my cats dead in the yard. I do not ever want to find another broken body. Sobbing now. Preacher is old, blind, hypothyroid. I know he's not in great shape and that his time may be growing short, but he's been stable for months. No health crisis. I can accept Preacher dying, but not like this. Not alone in some stupid accident.

The other hole is huge. Stuart said he wanted to dig a pond. He dug a small lake. Seriously next summer it will be stocked with trout! No water in it right now. Preacher's best friend, Franklin, kept running that direction and I knew I had to check. That was the longest walk I have taken in my life. Then as I passed the woodshed I heard a great big BAH-WOOOOOOOOOO. Oh, thank God, again. If he's fallen, he's still alive and able to woo, but I still couldn't see him.

Got to the edge of the pond hole. No Preacher in there. Dang near fainted with relief. Then I looked to the far side. There was Preacher, about 3 feet from the edge, red cable tangled around a couple trees keeping him from moving. I have never been so glad to see a dog tangled up in my life! Any more length and he could have gone over the edge and hung himself. But he was safe, in one piece, not a mark on him, but shaking almost as much as I was!

Preacher is now safely back in the house, on his bed, chewing on a treat. He has been hugged, kissed, and cuddled to bits. A new clip has been put on his cable. I need a drink!

My old sweetie enjoying a bone last weekend.