Saturday, December 30, 2006

Home again....

After a nice visit with my family and a bit of a kerfuffle with Air North on the way home, I made it back to the Yukon a few days ago. My nieces were a very good distraction from my grief. Kids, particularly four year olds, do not care that you just lost your best friend. They are very busy and have things they want to do right now!! It is Auntie's job to make sure they get to do those things! It's one of the best parts of being the Auntie. Mom's are too busy sometimes, Aunties never are.

Things like going sliding

And snow surfing, although this almost gave Auntie heart failure! I had visions of spending Christmas Eve in the ER!

And skiing, which also had it's stroke inducing moments. It's a good thing kids are bendy and bounce well!

Oh, and skating....

And bike riding. Just because there is two feet of snow outside doesn't mean you have to put your bike away!

And I could still get some purr therapy. Mystic is showing his age(17), but he's holding his own and still enjoys the holidays!

Now Auntie needs a holiday to recover from her holiday!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Preacher falls silent...

Preacher has given his last sermon; His big voice will no longer echo through the forest.

A few days ago, Preacher stopped eating, a most unusual thing for him. Dinner was always the highlight of his day. Yesterday he went to the vet. A barium enhanced x-ray showed a blockage in his small intestine. He was to have exploratory surgery this morning. His blood work was excellent. No complications were expected. He was supposed to come home tonight after they removed what he had eaten. Preacher did like to eat the stuffing out of squeaky toys.

You know when the vet calls again in under an hour that the news is not good. The blockage in Preacher's intestines was a large tumor. He was full of cancer with tumors on his spleen, stomach, abdomen wall and throughout his GI tract. He had been fighting this battle for a long time without showing any signs.

He became symptomatic this week when a small piece of his Sunday dinner got stuck on one of the intestinal tumors and punctured his small intestine. His prognosis was bleak, less than a 10 per cent chance he would ever recover from the intensine damage and the cancer would have taken him very soon even without this incident. We chose not to let Preacher wake up. He would not have been Preacher anymore and he would have had no quality of life. It would have been selfish of me to ask him to stay any longer. I always said that when Preacher stopped eating, it would be time. I desperately wish I had been wrong about that.

I am grateful that he waited for me, that he let me be with him as he crossed and that he made it very clear I had no choice. I am not sure I could have let him go if I had any hope left that my bossy, sassy, goof could have come home.

Preacher was my introduction to fostering and six months after his arrival, my first foster failure. Stuart told me that I should "just adopt him. No one is ever going to love that ugly ol' mutt like you do." He was right. I adored that dog. I will forever adore that mutt! I signed the papers the next morning to adopt Preacher and his best friend, Franklin. They could not be seperated at the time. Franklin couldn't function without Preacher. He was afraid of everything and Preacher was afraid of nothing. Franklin now explores his world with the same confidence Preacher once had. Perhaps Preacher knew his work with Franklin was done. Franky and I will both be a little lost without him.

I will love and miss you forever, big fella. It is so damn quiet without you. It is appropriate that you left on the longest, darkest night of the year. You brought me great joy and love; my world is a little darker without you today.

Rest well, ol' boy. You've earned it.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Fun, fun, fun!

Our weekend started off with one of the best runs this little team has had in a long time. We ran into two big dog teams. Between the three teams, there were over 30 dogs in a short section of very narrow trail. This was my team's first head on pass in two years! First time we've seen another team in a very long time and just to make things extra exciting, I had Franklin, my little gator, hooked up! My first instinct was to freak out, but the dogs pick up on that very quickly. If the human is freaked out, they must freak out too! Both passes were almost flawless. No tangles, no growls, no aggression from Franklin and no one jumped him! Wooo Hoooo!

On the way back, we ran into a skier with three loose dogs. Again, no problems getting by any of them. I may have to stop calling Franklin an alligator soon!

This afternoon we received a package from a Secret Santa exchange. The critters are set for a long time for toys! There was one bag for each of them, plus one for me!

Rope toys, tug toys, cat toys, stuffies, tennis balls....even squeaky tennis balls. Toys of all kinds!

Sundin has just learned how to play. He's going to have a riot with this bounty of toys!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Northern Lights....

Finally got the settings right on my trusty Olympus c-5060 camera to take pictures of the Northern Lights. I owe Stuart a tripod, thanks to the dogs' "helping" me set up, but I finally got some pictures of the Lights! Kinda blows my whole "I need an Evolt-500" theory. (I still want one though!)

The lights were quite spectacular tonight.

And they were out much earlier than usual. Usually I see them when the dogs wake me up at 2am!

One more reason to love living up here!

And one picture of my cozy little house, also taken tonight, just because I like the picture!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pingo's gift...

Monday afternoon on the lake! I love a frozen lake! Come May, I'll be impatiently waiting for the ice to disappear so I can get the kayaks back out, but right now, I love that ice!

It's probably been safe for weeks, but we made our first crossings on Monday afternoon. This team was Paxil-Sundin, Pacer-Franklin, Anvik-Chase.

We ran into one loose dog and for the third time this year, Franklin had a completely uneventful pass! Franklin is a bit of an "alligator", through no fault of his own. He got attacked a couple years ago by a loose dog and he's never forgotten that incident. Takes one lousy pass to mess a dog up and a hundred good ones to undo the damage! Every good pass Franklin get in is a bonus! I'm pretty proud of the little guy!

Team two on Monday was lead by the remarkable little Pingo. She really is little!

I never noticed just how tiny she is until I put Raven beside her. Raven is not a terribly large dog, but she makes Pingo look like a puppy!

But size is irrelavant to Pingo! She is the boss of this team, at least when she's in harness. She's a meek and mild mutt when she's not working! Pingo is a solid lead dog--reliable, happy and at over 9 years old, still in fine shape. Pingo's true gift though is not in her ability to tell "gee" from "haw" or willingness to train new dogs or in her ability to blow past distractions on the trail. Pingo's gift is her trail sense.

Notice in this picture, it almost looks like there is only one lead dog. I still haven't quite figured out how Pingo did this without causing a major tangle, but she let her tug line go slack and dropped behind Raven;

came up on the other side;(she is dominantly left pawed)

And dragged the entire team over to a different track across the lake, one that was more solid, faster and much more fun to run on! She absolutely always knows which trail will be best to run on, which turn will get us home and since she hates getting her paws wet, the fastest, safest way through overflow. She's truly a remarkable little creature!

Which is why when she's not hard at work, she has full couch privledges!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

How to stop, according to Anvik

When you are long on legs...

But a little short on brains and completely without brakes...

The best way to come to a complete stop is to crash into your favorite human!

It's fun for everyone! This approach works better in the winter. It's harder to bruise the human when she is wearing a parka!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

More trailbreaking...

At last we have tons of snow. It's a little fluffy for holding a snow hook, but that's what snub lines and trees are for! It will get packed down soon enough.

This is why I live here!

Just a little side note to the A**hole we passed on his skidoo yesterday. Did it make you feel good to scare my dogs and spray snow all over us? I did call by-law with a description of you and your machine. Don't forget Mary Lake is well within the city limits. My team is properly liscenced and registered with the city. Is your machine? I will keep calling by-law every time I have a problem with you or any of your speed freak friends. Maybe you should take a lesson from your kids. It's always middle age males driving machines who seem to think it's fun to harass my dogs. The 16 year old boy, who one might expect such behavior from, are almost without fail more polite and respectful on the trails than their fathers.