Monday, January 29, 2007

Five Years Ago Today...

It's hard to believe that five years has passed already. My husband would probably say that January 29, 2002 was the beginning of the end of life as we knew it. It was the day our very first foster dogs arrived. They were dogs # 7&8. It amazes me now that we agonized for weeks about how to fit them in, if we could handle two more dogs!

Preacher and Franklin had been in the shelter for well over a year. Franklin was afraid of his own shadow and Preacher was so depressed he wouldn't even eat. Preacher liked nothing better than food--didn't matter what kind of food, where it was served or if it was actually meant for him, he just loved to eat. The loss of appetite was bad sign, as it was in December 2006 when not eating led to his final trip to the vet.

Today Franklin is adjusting to life without his best friend, adjusting
better than I am some days. He spent this afternoon running twenty miles in his favorite wheel position of a six dog team.

We explored a new trail today, which we all enjoyed.

No longer afraid of his shadow, Franklin is a happy, playful, silly 7 year old. He loves to pull, he loves to play chase with his both his canine and human buddies. For the first year we had him the only real way to interact with him was to play a game we call "Get Frankie". He playbows and barks, I chase him saying that I'm gonna get him. We still play Get Frankie almost daily, but now we play just for fun. Franklin isn't hard to catch anymore! He seeks out attention and even snuggles on the futon some nights.

Preacher was never shy, never timid. Even when he lost his sight, he never lost his courage. He took over this house within days of his arrival, claimed a spot in the hallway as his own and dared any other dog to try and move him.

This is my favorite picture of him. Taken in the fall of his first year with us, before he lost his sight, before his hips hurt, before age took any toll on him.

Preacher became my best friend, my shadow and part of my soul. He showed me what real forgiveness, bravery, dignity and acceptance look like. Five weeks after his death, it is still painfully quiet without him. I still stop every night where he used to get fed, simply out of habit. I still say "it's ok buddy, it's just me" as I step over his sleeping spot in the porch. He is still very much a part of this place.

Happy Gotcha day boys. Look what you two started!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Moonlight Mushing...

Finally a pic that half-assed turned out!

Taken last night as we crossed the lake. It will only get brighter as this week goes on. I love full moons!

I have no idea what Raven was looking at. She was seeing something I certainly couldn't! There has been a moose and two yearling calves in the area lately. Maybe Raven could see them or maybe Raven's just nuts. Her real name is "Crazy Raven" and she earned it!

The little red lights are blinking LED collars on the lead dogs. I'm way too cheap to pay for actual dog collars. Those are actually from the bike supply shop, much cheaper and they work great.

One of my goals for this season was to get more comfortable running in the dark. The trails are deserted; haven't even seen a snowmobile yet this year at night; the dogs seem to enjoy it and there are no loose dogs to worry about. Which means I can take some of the less predictable dogs more often. Franklin is running alone in that picture. I had plans to take six dogs, but Deuce almost broke my wrist in his excitment about getting to run! Once I got him hooked up, I just left!

Behind that sweet face is a pulling maniac! He really is a sweetie. Just has no idea how big he is, how strong he is, how hard his head is(breaks new glasses with ease!). A tired Deuce is a very good dog. Another advantage to running at night--Deuce is tired more often!

Monday, January 22, 2007

It's not all dogs...

Sometimes it's cats too! They are very helpful little creatures.

Here's Pete saving me from further credit card debt by shredding the Sears catalogue.

Beau was holding down a pile of dog blankets. Never know when a blanket is going to get unruly!

And Her Royal Highness Princess Ivy monitoring my computer use or putting up with my exsistance so she can continue sleeping on my monitor. Depends on your point of view!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Oh, my Franklin is officially a senior today, if you believe what the makers of senior formula dog food tout as fact! Franklin is seven! Except for the grey muzzle that he developed as a four year old, I don't see many signs of aging in Franklin

He spent this evening doing what he loves best--pulling. Picture is from Saturday afternoon. Too dark for a decent shot of his sweet, frosty face today!

Today is also my Dad's birthday, but I bet unless you're giving him a discount on something, he'll tell you has at least one more year before he's offically a senior! I doubt Dad got to do what he loves best--it's hard to golf in Saskatchewan in mid-January!

But I bet he got to play with the grandkids today, that's almost as good as golf!

Happy Birthday to two of my favorite males!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Snow and trees and Antare

Ah, fresh snow, beautiful, fluffy, white stuff!

Made even better by an early bird skidooer who reset the trail for us. No idea who it was, but Thanks!!

The weight of the snow is affecting more and more trees! Sometimes being tall is a problem--lots more ducking!

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Ducking leads to wobbly videos! Dogs today were Paxil-Mac, Ozzy-Pacer, Anvik-Franklin.

It warmed up to about -20C today. Felt almost spring like. Mac needed a snowbath to cool down after his run or he's just nuts. Could be a bit of both!

I know this next picture sucks, but some things just have to be documented anyway!

This was taken this evening. The dogs are Antare-Pingo, Hobo, Raven-Deuce. It occurred to me the other day that my leaders are rapidly aging. My two best will be 10 & 11 in a couple months. Sundin is just as good, but I can't catch him often enough to rely on him.

So I've decided to try some of the others up front. Antare got his first turn as a lead dog tonight! Antare is afraid of his own shadow most of the time; he acted like I was killing him when I moved him past his usual wheel position; I really wasn't sure he was even going to move, but he did and once we got past the chaos of the first few minutes, he settled right in. He worked hard, he looked comfortable. I don't think he really knew what he was doing, but he did what Pingo told him to and for now, that's good enough! I am very proud of my little chicken dog!

Saturday, January 06, 2007


The mushing by moonlight pictures all suck so I decided to do an opposite post---mushing in the sun!

Running across Mary Lake at noon today.

Crossing the same lake a couple hours later. It was perfect weather today--clear and about -20C. Stacie was right--new plastic on the runners made a big speed difference; even the ol' tank sled was skidding around a few corners!

This shot is from a few days ago, taken about 3 in the afternoon. That run had it's moments. The picture was one of the good ones.

This was one of the not so good ones! "Houston, we have problem". The dogs had no problem getting under this fallen tree, but getting the sled and myself under was a bit more difficult! With some creative positioning though, I made it home with my team, not walking 5 miles behind them!