Wednesday, February 28, 2007

June 19, 1999-February 29, 2004

As the first rescue to come into our lives, part of you lives on in the many dogs who have followed in your pawprints and those who haven't found their way here yet. You forever run with us in spirit.

Til we meet again, know that you are always remembered, loved and missed.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Back on the trail...

After a week of working on their lounging techniques, the dogs headed back out today. At about 10am there was no wind. It was still close to -30C, but without the howling wind that didn't feel so bad! A windy week has obliterated all the tracks across the lake. Sundin did not inherit his mother's gift for finding the trail. There was much weaving and wandering all across the lake! Good thing it's just a little pothole lake! The dogs were having fun. I think some of Sundin's wandering was related to his love of snowdrifts! He seems to delight in plowing through drifts!

Once we got off the lake, Sundin did something I've never seen from him before. He quit! First he tried to turn the team around. When that didn't work, he just laid down. I wish someone who believed sled dogs are forced to run could have seen me trying to get Sundin just to stand up! There was no way that dog was moving unless I figured out what he wanted and he could somehow make it look like moving was his idea all along. I finally decided I was just going to load him into the sled. He hadn't shown any signs of difficulty, but I figured something had to be wrong! As I brought him by the wheel dogs, he perked right up! Sundin wanted to run. He just didn't want to lead!

Once I put him in wheel, he went back to doing his happy dog gait, tail wagging and tug line tight! He went another 15km without missing a stride!

Now that we got that silliness out of our systems, we are all content to spend the afternoon inside defrosting!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

No, we won't go!

Paxil has appointed herself spokesdog for the pack:

"NOOOOO, we won't go outside. It's freaking cold out there lady!"

Big, tough sled dogs....yeah, right!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Good News and Bad News...

First the good news:

Smilin' Annie is back! He got his stitches out yesterday and the results of his bloodwork indicate his kidneys are functioning perfectly!

He was pretty thrilled to get rid of that darn collar! It's been quite awhile since he could scratch his ears! He has to take it easy for a few more weeks, no pulling, but he's off complete crate rest and can stretch his gangly legs a bit!

The news from the vet was not so good for my old kitty, Beau. He looks healthier now than when he first got here so I was quite suprised at the test results.

Beau is hyperthyroid and in elderly cats, that condition often masks kidney problems. Beau's latest blood tests show both his thyroid and his kidney numbers are way off, but we can't treat one without making the other worse. So he'll continue on the same dose of tapazole(for his thyroid) and I'll try to get him to eat more low protein food. I don't think that's going to go well, considering his favorite food is all seafood flavored! It is simply a matter of time before his little kidneys can't cope. The semi-good news is that time could vary from a couple weeks to a year.

So until that time comes and I'm sure Beau will let me know when it has, I'm going to spoil him rotten, indulge his nip addiction as he wishes and keep him happy.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A new toy!!

I splurged on a new toy for myself this week...A Nikon D-80
The things this camera can do are mind boggling! I'll be playing with it for a very long time!

Despite the fact that I don't know what I'm doing, it takes a fine picture! That's Beau, my senior tabby boy, looking healthy again!

This is my new favorite of Pete! I love that little tongue sticking out!

I haven't had a chance to use it outside much yet...It's still pitch black by the time I get home from work. I had hoped to get out with it today, but no such luck!

Don't really want to take it in a snowstorm yet! This was shot through my picture window! Delta and Antare see no point in using the straw filled doghouse! They are quite comfy apparently!

I'm keeping my little pocket-cam too. Not taking this one out on the dogsled! This was taken this morning on our abbreviated run! It didn't seem that bad at home, but once we got out on the trails, the wind was miserable! The dogs weren't having any fun after just a few miles. Paxil, my leader, started stopping much more than she actually needs to. I learned a long time that my lead dogs are smarter than me and arguing with them will only get us all in trouble! So we turned around as soon as we could and went home. Paxil is now cuddled up to the woodstove, Pacer is on the couch and the other silly huskies are outside sleeping in the snow, including the neighbor's dog, who won't go home!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Crate rest requires Tequila...

Not sure if the tequila should be for me only or I should share it with Anvik!

Crate rest and sled dogs just don't mix very well. Anvik has already torn the stitches out once. Getting that repaired cost almost as much as the original surgery! There is no sleeping for more than an hour at a time. At least once an hour I hear a thump from his crate, which means he has his 'bite-not' collar off AGAIN!! It's better than an e-collar, at least he doesn't hurt himself freaking out and pulling it off, but it was not worth the sixty bucks it cost me to have the stupid thing shipped from the States! I've added another strap that runs around Anvik's hips. That seems to be slowing down the removal rate. It's amazing what you can do with a double leader line at 3am!

He's wearing my old t-shirts! This was before the second surgery, but he's back to about this happy again today.

Right now he's napping behind me on a comforter, long legs stretched right out. He's lucky he's so freaking cute!

A very good friend recently returned from Mexico and brought me a beautiful bottle of Tequila,not the swill they sell in bars, the kind that should be sipped and savored like a fine single malt scotch. I think I'll be cracking that bottle tonight!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A rant and a huge THANK YOU!!

Over the weekend, the trail I use most frequently with my dogs was badly damaged by a moron in a Jeep Rubicon. Local readers may have already read about this as my ticked off letter to the editor was published in both local papers! The Yukon News even published the plate number(BPA10). The tire tracks made the trail dangerous for dogs and humans! There is really no way around it either. That trail is the only direct access to Mary Lake itself. I am certainly not the only person who uses it either. It's heavily travelled by skidoos, skiers, skijorers, other dog teams, walkers ect. It's a busy little section of trail.

This is what some of the trail looked like. This was one of the better sections! There were much more damaged areas!

Last night, I sent an email to the Klondike Snowmobile Association asking if they knew of anywhere I could get some kind of trail grooming device to try and repair some of the damage. I offered to pay rental fees, hourly wages, gas money...whatever.

By 10 o'clock this morning, I had been contacted at work by a member of the KSA. By the time I got home from work tonight, the trail was repaired! It's actually better than it was before! It's a thing of beauty. I was so relieved and grateful, I came close to tears! The KSA members volunteered their time and equipment as they have experienced the same type of problems repeated this year on the trails they normally maintain. I can not thank the KSA, specifically Jim and Harris, nearly enough! Your generousity will allow the regular users of this trail to return to their winter activities with no additional worries! THANK YOU!!

I'm not normally a big fan of further government regulation, but I think it's time the City stepped in; A by-law banning the use of anything larger than an ATV on city trails in the winter months makes perfect sense to me. Why should one inconsiderate jerk ruin the enjoyment of an area well within city limits for everyone else?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Annie's recovery...

After a couple days of worrying silence, Anvik has found his voice again and found it with a vengance! So far today I have heard all about how much he hates his bite-not collar, how he dislikes the peanut butter chewies, hates his crate and a whole lot of HEY LET ME OUT!! So, I caved!

He's been outside several times. He perks up out there, but he can't stay out for long. He doesn't want to anyway. In one of his panic attacks today he managed to chew up his coat, so now he can't stay out for long even if he does want to. It's not that cold, but that's a lot of exposed skin and he doesn't need frostbite on top of everything else!

This is has got to hurt and I'm sure some of his carrying on is pain related. Not just that he's a big momma's boy at the best of times!

Then I caved again a little while ago. Now Anvik is in the computer room with me, lounging on a comforter eating the same chewie he hated a few hours ago! He has pulled the bite-not collar off since I took this, but he's not ripping the gauze off his stitches. I'm just going to leave it off for awhile.

It's nice to hear his voice again, but suspect this two weeks of crate rest is going to feel more like two months for both of us!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Only my dog...

This would only happen to one of my dogs! Read'll understand....

Anvik got to come home tonight. When I picked him up, Dr. Rick came out to talk to me about the surgery and recovery expectations. Turns out that the lump was not actually intestines poking out. Anvik had a very definate hernia in his abdomen wall, but the lump was his KIDNEY!!! His freakin' kidney had popped right out of his abdomen!! That is not good, not good at all! In his career, Dr. Rick has seen this same injury once before!! Once!! He said it's so rare it's not even mentioned in vet school and he can't find any mention of it in his reference library. Only my dog would get hurt in such a unique way! It was a complete fluke injury. Annie was in the exact wrong position and the exact wrong time!

The repair did go quite well. There is massive bruising including some in the kidney itself. He has significant muscle tears just above the actual hernia. Those couldn't be stitched. They were too ragged so will have to heal on their own. Unfortunately, due to the kidney damage, no pain meds! Anvik has perked up since he got home, but sheesh, that has to hurt!! Has to!!

So the current rehab plan is this:
-Two weeks of crate rest! Outside to pee, on a leash and right back in his crate!
I will be stocking up on every treat known to man! Anvik has lost ten pounds since he arrived here so he can afford to lay around and snack for a bit!
-In two weeks, the sutures come out and he gets his kidney function tested.
-For the next two to four weeks, controlled, limited exercise. On-leash only, no playing with other dogs, no bouncing around the yard like a kangaroo!
-After that, if he is recovering as expected, Anvik can return to harness--slow, short runs at first.

The good news is he will heal and he will be able to pull again. I don't really care if he ever pulls again, just want my happy boy back, but Anvik would care. He is a working dog and he thrives on it. He would not be a happy camper if he has to retire at 6! He's going to be ticked off enough when he feels a bit better and gets left behind!

The other good news--the bill, while still substantial, was less than I was expecting!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Anvik Again!!!!

Anvik has lived here since the end of August and I swear he's spent more time at the vet than any other dog in the yard! He's at the clinic right now, been there all day and if we're both lucky he might get to come home tomorrow!

Last night, I was getting ready to head with a team for a little mushing by moonlight.

The run went really well, once we got out of the yard. Prior to this fun(pic was taken last night), the dogs had a little scuffle. Waiting to be hooked up + a full moon = brain dead dogs! Anvik, who could not fight his way out of a paper bag, ended up on the bottom of a dogpile. The fight looked pretty minor and didn't last long. We've certainly had much, much worse fights in the past. I got the instigators isolated and checked everyone over. No blood, no obvious wounds, within a few minutes almost everyone was back to their usual little canine selves.

Except Anvik, he was whiny and upset, but I couldn't find anything wrong with him. So I put him in the porch, where he eats and where one of his crates is kept and went for a run. After the run, he ate and drank like he always does. Still couldn't find anything obviously wrong with him, but he squealed in pain when he tried to jump up and give me a hug. He gives the best hugs! So I gave him a dose of Metacam and put him in his big crate beside my bed. I thought he'd just pulled a muscle or was just stiff from the fight.

This morning, he was not terribly interested in getting out of his crate, but when he finally did, he whined and was moving very stiffly. As he drags his little butt out of the crate, I notice a lump on his left side about the size of both of my fists together! It feels like it's full of fluid. So I figure I missed something and he's got the start of a big abcess. Call my boss and tell her I'm going to be late. Take Anvik to the vet clinic. Since he was a drop-off, they just squeezed him in whenever they found time, which turned out to be about two o'clock this afternoon.

It's not an abcess, not an infection, the vet can't find any wounds either. He attempted to do an x-ray, but Anvik freaked out when they moved his legs. That's when they noticed the lump changes size and moves a lot. Because it's a HERNIA! Two inches long and an inch wide!!! That's not fluid in it, that's Annie's intestines sticking out!!! That's a much bigger problem than a missed puncture wound. This requires emergency surgery or it can quickly become life-threatening! Oh, and apparently it's not quite as simple of a procedure as it was when Stuart had his hernia repair. Stuart got to come home in a couple hours!

Thank God Annie likes his crate. The recovery period is extended and will require long stretches in his crate. He is going to be a miserable creature when he figures out that he's getting left behind all the time! I've been told to expect six weeks of recovery before he can pull again! Could be less, could be even more! Wah!

This little happy face likely won't be seen for awhile!

But I expect there will be a whole lot of his patented "Anvik Death Howl" going on! I suppose I should try to enjoy the quiet tonight!