Sunday, January 30, 2005

Mac can run in lead!

With Paxil sick, I was short a lead dog today. Although when she saw the harness, Paxil got up and starting wooing. Now she's ignoring me for leaving her behind. Howdo I explain "for your own good to her"!!???

I have two command leaders, Pingo and Paxil. Pingo had no choice but to come along today. The dog she often runs beside (founder) has a paw injury and he can't run for a week or so yet. Franklin will run up front, but Sunday afternoons tend to be busy and we run into lots of loose dogs. Franklin has been jumped by a loose dog once too often and now he attacks first. Not a great option for leading on a busy day! Muskwa won't run for me. It's just aggravating for both of us. He only runs for my husband. Sleet's too old and stiff although she'd try if I asked her too. Leading is too much pressure for Antare, Earle, Chase or Pacer. Hobo's too crazy and tend to try and lead us off on trails only he can see! Hmmm, running out of dogs here!

So I put Mac beside Pingo. He's got great drive and never lets up. He's timid normally, but I have seen no fear behavior from him in harness. He knows the trail I planned to run today so as long Pingo followed the commands we should be ok.

He ROCKED!! He never let his line go slack. He made all the turns. Did whatever Pingo told him to do. Never hesitated. Passed a car on the way home and a bunch of skidoos at one spot in the trail. Mac's pretty bright and picks things up quickly. I think he'll learn the commands in no time. He got a big chunk of arctic char when we got home for all his hard work.

The picture is from earlier this year, one of Mac's first runs ever! He's only 18 months old. He's got a long career ahead of him!

Ozzy, Mac's brother, also came along today. Ozzy likes to pull, but please don't make him do anything else. He's become a bit of a clown and all he cares about is having some fun! No decision making or control please. He's just looking for a good time. He's the same way in or out of harness. It's nice to see how far he's come from the terrified puppy who shook in the corner of his kennel all day!

Ozzy is on the right in this one. Pacer is beside him. The pic is from this fall when we were still training on the ATV. It's one of my favorite pics and show's Ozzy's goofy side perfectly!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Paxil's health..

Well, Paxil finally got to come home from the vet today. She's been there since Thursday on an IV, getting fluids and antibiotics. The original diagnosis was Pancreatitis. Which certainly explains the uncontrollable vomiting on Wednesday night. She was severely dehydtrated and needed to stay for the fluids. She wasn't allowed to eat anything or drink any water until this morning. Fortunately she kept it down and was allowed to come home. She has to take more pills and eat a special diet. The diet is for at least a week and likely a long term thing. Paxil is much happier today. She's giving kisses and has much more energy.

And now the bad news....

Paxil has cancer. She has a lump on her back leg that the vet aspirated yesterday. It's a mast cell tumor. Unfortunately, at this point, we don't know what that means for Paxil. She isn't strong enough to have it removed right now. So, we wait. In two weeks her blood work will be redone. On Wednesday she had elevated kidney and liver levels, in addtion to pancreatitis. If those levels are back down, it will be safe to put her under and remove the tumor. It will then be sent out to Saskatoon for further testing. If it's a grade 1 tumor, the removal should essentially cure her and Paxil has a good chance of living a normal life span. (she's eight and a half now) If it's a grade two tumor, the odds are less and the outcome is less predictable. If it's a grade three, she has a few months left with us. Given some of Paxil's other symptoms, weight loss, pancreatitis, the cancer may have already spread, but we are trying to stay hopeful.

In any case, Paxil is retired and will live out whatever time she has left as a House Princess.

This is Paxil just last weekend, when I just thought she was a little skinny! She was wooing at me, trying to get me to open the gate faster so she could go run around the big yard.
I want that happy little dog back. This sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Off to the vet...

Sigh, I've been up most of the night cleaning up doggy puke. Paxil has been heaving and heaving and heaving some more. She wouldn't eat last night, so she's just bringing up water and bile. Around 1am I gave her some kaopectate, as directed by the on-call vet. That seemed to settle her down and she went to sleep, but this morning, she had more bile on her blanket. So she's going in today at 1:30.

Paxil has lost a lot of weight lately and she had none to loose. She was dewormed in December. I thought it was just the cold snap we recently had. Dogs burn alot of calories just keeping warm in -40C. So I've been feeding special food, lots of it, and keeping her inside so she doesn't have to work to stay warm. She seemed happy enough until two days ago, when she just seemed to crater. She's acting exhausted and not her usual affectionate little self.

I was going to take her in for a check up when my favorite vet opens his new clinic in February, but I don't think I can wait any longer. She's not a well dog. I hope she'll be ok. She hasn't been here for long, but Paxil is the dog who changed my life. My very first time on a dog sled, she was my leader. Nothing has been the same since that afternoon!
The two wandering spirits (giggle, that's my kennel name) have been reunited with their owner--who was sobbing hysterically again, but this time with pure joy and relief. The dogs staged an escape on Sunday and have been missing for three days. Where I found them is close to 20 miles from their home--they actually live quite close to me, no where near the Wally-World!They are lucky dogs to have not been hit and killed on the Alaska Highway. The dogs were as happy to see their person as she was to see them--hertears were licked away by joyful doggie kisses.

Another happy ending!

I can't even go to Wal-Mart!

On my lunch break yesterday, I went to Wal-mart to buy stuffing for some dog beds I am making. I come out with a cart full of stuff. Running around the parking lot are two dogs--a brown husky cross with stunning blue eyes and solid black husky mix. They are obviously together and buddies. They seem quite happy and not particularly worried about the cars swerving around them. I put leashes on them--I always have treats and leashes in my truck. I walked around the parking lot with them and they didn't seem to have jumped out of a vehicle and no one claimed them. So I put them in my truck. They are very sweet dogs. One of them snuggled right into my lap while I was driving. I had to go back to work, so I took them to the Humane Society. My husband is the adminstrator, although he's not working today. One of the resident dogs is at the vet so they have an open kennel until later this evening.

Someone reported two similar dogs missing over the weekend, but only left a cell number, which they aren't answering. The shelter staff who took the message said she was sobbing so hard that he could barely make out the message. I have again called the radio station and animal control. I'm sure she's looking for these two. They are adorable, well socialized, friendly, well fed. They stink to high heaven--apparently they found something gross to roll in while on their walk-about!So when I am done work and a volunteer thing I agreed to do tonight, I'll be picking them both up from the shelter and keeping them until the owner turns her phone on!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Popular dog...

This little cutie has lots of friends. Her owner's next door neighbor just called. He says she used to be a sled dog, but wasn't any good at it so she was rehomed. Her former musher was supposed to be taking care of her. Apparently, she still doesn't want to be a sled dog! This guy has spent lots of time with the dog and knows all about her. He's going to help take care of her until the owner returns.

I think it's a good thing that she's not staying here for long! She's way too easy to fall in love with! What a sweetie!

She's been claimed

My little stray sweetie, who's name is Mellis, has been claimed in a roundabout way! Her owner is in Cuba. His tenant heard my message this morning after he returned from a weekend trip. He is not the dogsitter. He thought that Mellis was staying with the owner's friends out of town--about 60km from where I found her, but he doesn't know who she was supposed to be with. I haven't heard from the dogsitter, but if she really ran that far, they are probably looking in all the wrong places for her!

He was a little suprised that she let me catch her as she is normally quite timid. She's been a little shy around our place, but our pack can be a bit overwhelming for anyone! I just laughed and told him I had a little experience with timid dogs. Probably helped that i had another dog with me at the time. She does like other dogs. He doesn't drive and Mellis actually belongs not far from my office so tomorrow she's coming to work with me and I'll drop her off later in the day. I think I'll go get her a tag with the right info on it first!

Honest, she followed me home!

Honest honey, She followed me home. I didn't go looking for her!

That's what I had to tell my husband Sunday afternoon. I left to go skijoring with one dog and came back with two! A small black and white husky cross jumped in the truck with Hobo when we were done skijoring. WhenI first saw her, she was just wandering around the truck. I thought she knew where she was going--we see lots of dogs allowed to roam out here! But she kept coming back so just before I drove away, I opened the door and asked her if she needed a lift. She hopped right in.

She has an assortment of tags on her collar, but none of them appear to be current. Her city liscense is current, but they are closed on Sundays. The one on another tag number says he's away for the next month. I left a message there too--just in case she is being dog sat in my area and escaped. I've called the Pound and the Humane Society and will put up a poster at the mailboxes tonight.

She's very sweet, a little timid and obviously used to other dogs. Her appearance caused complete chaos around here and she never even blinked. Just walked beside me into the enclosed porch. She appears to be well cared for--nice weight, good coat. She has the cutest little floppy ear, just one,the other one stands straight up!! I love husky-crosses with floppy ears! I'm sure someone is looking for her. I hope they find her soon. I know not many of you live in my area, but if by chance you hear of a missing huskycross in the Whitehorse area--she's at my place!

Cute, isn't she??!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Kitty Intros..

In addition to the dogs and 2 humans, 8 cats also share the house. Well, they think they own it and are gracious enough to allow the rest of us in occasionally!

This is Glacier, named for his ice blue eyes. Glacier is six years old. He's the original feline friend around here. He's been very understanding about all the others who followed in his pawprints. Glacier was born just outside of Calgary under a friend's deck. I hauled him out when he was six weeks old. 18 months later he made the big trek north with us. He's refused to travel ever since. Glacier in the truck is not a pleasant experience! Fortunately, he's a very healthy critter so his trips to the vet are infrequent!

Pete arrived in October 1999 at the tender age of three weeks. Pete was born to a barn cat who disappeared when her litter still needed her. Pete is the only survivor of that litter. He was hand raised and bottle fed. He is very attached to Glacier and to this day Pete still tries to nurse on Glacier's dewclaw. Neither of them seem to mind that Glacier is a neutered male! Pete has had some serious health issues in his young life. In January 2002, he began to suffer from urinary tract blockages. Eventually, he had to undergo a special surgery to correct the problem. He's a much happier kitty now!

Dominique is our first Yukon born critter. She was found as a young kitten wandering around downtown Whitehorse by herself. I took her from the teenager who found her and said I would find her owners or a good home. No owner ever appeared so I guess I found her a good home--she stayed here! Dominique is named for her dominant nature. At 5 weeks old, she walked into the house, batted both Pete and Glacier on the nose and promptly took over the place!

The beautiful Princess Ivy was the first critter we ever adopted from the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter ( She would not be the last! Ivy is a delicate, regal princess. She keeps herself quite separate from the other cats, but she loves a good snuggle with her humans.

Polly Paws is our polydactal girl. She has 28 claws!!! And she's not afraid to use them! Polly Paws came from the City of Whitehorse's Animal Control. She was rescued just before she was to be euthanized. Polly acted very sweet in that little cage in the Pound. Her true colors were revealed when we got home. She's actually a semi-feral wild cat! Over the past three and a half years, she's tamed up quite a bit, but she's still full of attitude!

Onyx is another shelter cat. He was dumped with his littermates in a box outside the shelter door. His littermates got adopted quickly, but Onyx waited and waited. Black cats are often the hardest to find homes for. Onyx came here at about four months old. He's a huge cat. He weighs 19.5 pounds, but he's a gentle soul. Onyx only wants to be loved.

Felicia is a special needs cat, also from the shelter. Felicia was born without an elbow joint in one front leg. When she was smaller she could still use that leg, but now it doesn't touch the floor anymore. She does use it bat at her brothers sometimes! Don't tell Felicia that she's handicapped. She doesn't have a clue. She finds a way to do all the things other cats can do!

The last feline addition was Twicket who arrived in June 2003. Twicket was dumped at 13 years old at the shelter by a family that had owned him since kittenhood. I can't comprehend how anyone could just get rid of a pet like that. Twicket holds no ill will though. He's a happy, content purring ball of affectionate fur. He would like to be carried around 24/7! Twicket just turned 15 and he's still going strong. He's lost some weight but has no health problems.

And that's the current feline family!

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Pingo's trail sense

My lead dog, Pingo has great trail sense. Pingo always knows the best way through deep snow, overflow ect. She always knows the way home, even when I am going "where the (*%&# are we?" This afternoon Pingo showed me a new side of her trail sense....

The run started off as a gong show. I should have known better than to go today. It's only -10C. After two weeks of -40C, everyone and their dog is out today! But I've only run a couple times in the last two weeks and I have itchy feet to get back on the runners so off we go! Six dog team. Raven's first run in weeks as she hasn't wanted to come lately. We get 3km from home and Raven decides she didn't really want to come after all. So after some discussion with her, I just set her free. Raven has great recall and she stayed right with the team. She just didn't want to pull. Probably not a behavior I should have reinforced, but I didn't feel like arguing with her!

We get another 3 km or so down the trail. Down to five dogs so I'm thinking we'll just do the short loop (10km) and call it a day. Come down a big hill, the dogs are finally hitting their stride and we're all having a good time. Screeching halt! 3 skidoos stuck in the deep snow, completely blocking the trail. Now we could have gone around through some really deep stuff. I set the hook and went up to have a little chat with Pingo. Ever seem that look huskies get when they are really thinking, actually problem solving? Well, Pingo, a husky-border collie cross, gave me that look, licked my cheek and did a perfect "come around haw"...Turned the entire team around without even a little tangle in the gangline.

Trail sense can include the ability to know when to call it a day! :)

The last of the doggy intros...

Continuing to introduce the pack!

This is Pacer. Another foster failure who spent over a year in the shelter before we got him. Pacer takes timid to a whole new level--or rather he did. He used to be almost untouchable, everything made him jumpy! He's been here for 14 months and he's a different dog. Now he's still timid with people he doesn't know, but he thinks his role in the house is to keep my feet warm, which, of course, means sleeping on the bed!

Right after Pacer came this big guy, Founder. Founder was left tied to the shelter fence one night. A year later he was still at the shelter and he was not happy! He came here and we quickly realized that in his former life, Founder was a sled dog! He definately knew what he was doing in harness right way. Right now, he has an injured paw, so he's on R&R for a couple weeks.

Chum is another shelter dog. Originally we were just hiding him from his very abusive owner. We're doing a really good job too--he's been here for well over a year now! Chum is a very chatty dog, he loves to woo and growl and carry on about just about anything! Someday when his brain turns back on, he'll be a good sled dog!

Hobo arrived last February. His story is long and rather dramatic so I'll make a whole post abotu it sometime. Hobo is eight years old but acts like a puppy. He's in constant motion and into everything!

More littermates--Mac & Ozzy are yearling hound-husky cross. That's Ozzy on the left. They are timid too, like many of our dogs, but quickly shedding their fears! Ozzy is a big sweetheart who can't get enough affection. Mac loves to pull and play with the other dogs.

Last, but certainly not least, this is Paxil. She arrived in November 2004, but I have known her for years. The very first dog team I ever drove was lead by Paxil. I told her musher that if she ever wanted to rehome Paxil, I wanted her. Four years later, Paxil arrived! She is eight years old and slowing down a bit, but still a highly reliable leader for my recreational team.

That's all the canine companions..I'll intro the cats soon.

More dog intros..

Ok, where was I...


Delta and Antare are littermates. They arrived here at nine months old, after spending most of their lives in the shelter. They are very timid dogs. Delta remains very timid. Antare forgets that he's shy when he's in harness. He lives to pull! They were foster dogs, but like so many others, we failed at fostering them! We excel at adopting though!

Raven is another foster failure. She spent a year in the shelter (are you seeing a pattern yet!??)and arrived here at 18 months old. She's a big ball of energy and life. She has the loudest squeal/howl of any dog in the yard!

Heyoka followed Raven by just a few days. He's a purebred Alaskan Malamute, another shelter dog. It boggles the mind that no one claimed this gentle giant. His name means "clown who teaches through his antics" in Sioux. That's exactly what he is!

Then came Pingo in December 2002. She's my main lead dog and a couch princess! She's got great trail sense and there are lots of days when I would be lost in the bush without her!

Things were quiet for the next six months, no new additions....

Then came Chase. Growing up in the confinement of a shelter does funny things to a dog's head. As his friends are fond of saying, "chase has a few loose wires", but he's very sweet, full of energy and a good sled dog!

There's still more to come.....

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


For my first post, I thought I'd introduce you to the family. I think my animals are a whole lot more interesting than I am, so I'll start with them... This could take awhile; there are a lot of critters who call this place home! So without further ado and in order of arrival...The DOGS!


He's a looker and he knows it. Muskwa is a seven year old, purebred siberian husky, the only dog we've ever bought from a breeder. Actually, my husband bought him. Muskwa has been here for longer than I have! Muskwa is our alpha male, in every sense of that world. He rules his pack with a velvet paw. He's too smart for his own good and keeps us on our toes. It's frustrating to be continually outsmarted by a dog!


Earle is the canine love of my life. I adore him! He is five years old now. He is Muskwa's son, part of the only litter Muskwa ever sired. Instead of stud fees, we got Earle. He's not nearly as smart as his Dad(thank god for small mercies!), but he's the sweetest dog ever; full of love, joy and general goodness. Earle is always the first dog we introduce a newbie to. He's never met a dog or a person he didn't like!


Sleet, my first lead dog, my best friend, my constant companion. She's 11 years old now. She arrived here as a 6 year old in her prime, a command leader. She taught me everything I know about sled dogs. Sleet is getting stiff as she ages and she has been retired from active mushing. She is now a house princess!


Kayleigh, my big, beautiful girl; my problem child. Kayleigh had a rough start in life; spending her first 18 months with an owner who starved her and abused her. Kayleigh has issues that are in no way her fault...she's food protective, she doesn't like men, and she ain't big on other dogs. Kayleigh has her own special area where she stays during the day. The dogs she likes go in to visit regularly. Fortunately we live in an area where there is lots of space and Kayleigh can be allowed to run loose at times.

Bandit is an eight year purebred Siberian Husky. I basically stole him from an abusive neighbor. Bandit used to run away regularly from his old owner. He always came to our place so one day I just kept him. His owner knew where he was and never bothered to claim him. A couple weeks later a bag of leashes, collars and Bandit's AKC papers were left hanging on my door. That was three years ago.



Preacher and Franklin arrived as a package deal, our first foster dogs. They had spent almost a year in the local humane society. They needed to stay together. Frankin is a timid dog and at the time took all his confidence from Preacher. He ceased to function without Preacher. Three years later, Franklin is much more confident. He just turned five and is a great sled dog and soon to be my skijor racing dog. Preacher is much older and has lost his sight. His health isn't great, but he's still happy.

Goldie was next. She arrived in April 2002 after a very long time in shelter care. Goldie is not a sled dog as her front legs are deformed. She's got a bit of an attitude, but mostly she's a sweetie!

More coming up............