Sunday, December 21, 2008

A solstice rememberance...

Solstice used to be a pretty happy day for me. One of the only things I hate about living up here is the dark! In the last 10 years, I've developed a number of ways to cope with it and overcome my fear of it, but darkness is still not on my list of favorite things!

Two years ago today, my black and tan canine soulmate decided it was time to move on. Preacher would have stayed, the spirit was still strong, but his body failed him.

My hubby and I shared a toast to Preacher a little earlier today and he commented "that dog was indestuctible"....and he was, right to the end. Hypothyroid, Stone cold blind before he even showed a hint that he was trouble seeing; he fell into a trench in the yard once and a few years ago while I was putting away the Christmas decorations, he fell into the crawl space. I'm sure I sprained my arms trying to lift his 80 pound butt 6 feet straight up, but he was completely unfazed and uninjured!

He was probably the most protective dog I've ever owned. Nothing, nobody came between me and Preacher. If I was home alone, he always kept his big ol' butt between me and the door. If you wanted to get to me, you had to go through my Preacher protection. He sounded mean when he let go with that big bark, but he was really a gentle, sweet soul. Ok, one time he bit an aquaintance of Stuart's, but I never liked that guy anyway. Preacher was a good judge of character!

The only thing Preacher was more devoted to than me was his Franklin. They arrived together, the first of what would become many foster failures. Franklin was afraid of his own shadow and often wouldn't even move unless Preacher told him it was safe. Preacher stayed in this world long enough to give Franklin the confidence he would need to function without him. It's hard to believe that the dog who slept on my feet last night is the same scared little waif who first arrived here.

Preacher loved his food...any food, even things that weren't food! Stuffed toys, rocks, cat toys, cat litter....he wasn't fussy! When he missed two meals in a row, I knew it was time for a vet visit, expecting he had a blockage. Which he did, but for a change it wasn't from something he'd eaten that wasn't actually edible. It was from one of dozens of tumors. In the end even the indestructible dog couldn't beat cancer.

Happy Solstice, Preacher Creature, I miss you.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Back on the runners....

I finally got my act together enough today to get a dog team out. For any number of reasons, I was irrationally nervous about this so I just took a little team. I can control four dogs without too much difficulty!

That's Reggae and Anvik up front with Tehya and Pacer behind them. Reggae and I had a couple discussions about what I meant by "gee", but he figured it out pretty quick. He does a beautiful "ON-BY"! He got us by three loose dogs without even a sideways glance at them! That's way harder to teach than the directional commands. I am deeply, deeply relieved that he already knows that one!

Monday, December 08, 2008

That's what happens...

When you beat up Pacer, run up the vet bill get neutered!

Reggae came home from the vet a bit lighter tonight, after taking a round out of Pacer about 10 days ago!

Pacer is recovering well from several puncture wounds including a dangerous one on his neck. I'm not sure what it is about Pacer, but if someone is gonna get hurt around here, it will be Pacer!

As a bonus, putting my lead dog out of commission for awhile has finally brought the snow! I may have to ask Sundin to lead a couple times while Reggae recovers!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

That's my boys!.....

In my obsessive little world, before there were dogs, cats and glass, there were the Calgary Stampeders. So I'd really just like to say "I told you so" everyone who told me that the Stamps would loose on Sunday; that Anthony Calvillo would get the fairy tale ending to his come back season; that Henry Burris would choke! HA!!! It is a heart warming story and I'm very glad that Anthony's wife is winning her battle with cancer. Mike Labinjo has a heart warming story too and he's a Stamp! Yup a couple years ago, Henry might have had a bit of trouble with the pressure, but that label is gone forever after Sunday! Someday if I ever get to name dogs again, I'm think Nik, Jermaine and Ken-Yon would be awesome sled dog names!

Picture of Sandro DeAngelis hoisting the Cup was stolen from a Calgary radio station website because I wasn't there. I have, however, already asked for November 27-30, 2009 off work so I can be there to watch them defend the title in their home stadium. Yanno, assuming I can find a dogsitter! A year should be enough time to get that organized, maybe!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Introducing Reggae....

He arrived a week ago, but I've been playing nurse to both my hubby and Heyoka so I haven't had time to introduce him properly. Both the sickies are still sleeping this morning, so...

Please meet Reggae. He was a little confused when he first got here. So many dogs, no tethers.....

But he is settling in nicely. Reggae is nine years old and came from the same kennel as Sleet and Paxil. Paxil's retirement left us more or less leaderless! Tehya will be a leader in a year or two, but she's not quite ready yet. It's still way more fun for her to stop and play with loose dogs rather than obey an "on-by" command! Reggae is a command leader and should help us get down the trail without too much ruckus this winter....just need a few more inches of snow so that snowhook will hold!

Tehya loves her new chew toy! Reggae is nine, but he plays like a much younger dog! So far he's gotten along fine with all the dogs he's met. He truly hates being alone so I make sure he always has a buddy in his pen. He's got a good howl on him that the neighbors might not appreciate hearing all night long!

I think he's happy in his new home!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Go Stamps Go...

Finally a berth in Grey Cup. I could put up a long rambling post about that, but I think I'll save that for next week! For now I will just say Thank You to the Gods of Football for Mike Labinjo! A simply stunning defensive performance! In a league where the teams line up a yard apart, stopping a touchdown from the one yard line is almost impossible. To do it twice on back to back plays is unheard of. That guy rocks!

The Grey Cup kick-off is in almost exactly a week! :)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My cranky old girls...

They are both pushing 15 and in failing health, but Sleet and Pirate still have some spunk.

They have a daily arguement about who gets in the front door first.

An arguement Sleet almost always wins! She was here first and in her mind at least, she is the Queen Senior!

If they were younger dogs or had any teeth left, I'd have to keep them seperated all the time!

(The pictures are couple weeks old...the front step is snow covered now.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

That's my boy!

I don't understand how the most relaxed dog in the pack can possibly have anxiety issues, but it certainly seems that Earle does! He is the most laid back dog I have. I have often said that my life would be much more simple and my vet bills much lower if all my dogs were like Earle. He's sweet; he's gentle; he likes kids; he likes adults; he likes other dogs; he doesn't eat cats; he doesn't try to escape; unlike 99% of huskies, he comes when he's called! He's easy! He's my special boy and apparently he's neurotic! So neurotic that even the t-shirt isn't enough to control his obsessive licking. So neurotic he actually needs meds to control his anxiety!

But a week ago, his vet, the lovely Dr. Candace, put him on anti-anxiety medication and almost immediately I had my sweet, special boy back!

I was warned that he would be very lethargic for the first ten days or so. I haven't seen any sign of that. He is pretty lazy to most of the time anyway---a sled dog Earle never was, well, not a good one anyway!! He had a great time on our hike a few days ago. The White Pass tracks are fun!

Friday, October 10, 2008

More Wildlife in the yard....

Earlier this week a friend gave me some caribou scraps, mostly rib bones.

Eagles apparently like 'bou as much as huskies!

This one was quite fascinated with Tehya's rib snacks, but did not attempt to steal them from her. Unlike the 100 or so Ravens who were in the yard at the same time! They like to harass the dogs to no end, which occasionally does not go so well for them! There were a few dozen magpies and grey jays around too. This yard is popular with our feathered friends, especially around feeding time!

An Eagle is a new visitor to the yard. I see them frequently when I'm kayaking, but never right in the yard before. He was beautiful, if a little unnerving. I closed the kitty enclosure until he moved on. One of the big fat cats would be no match for an eagle, little Felicia would just be a snack! Yikes!! Listening to her mew her protests at the closed window was a small price to pay for her safety!

PS: Readers who like these pics should thank my Mom who was none to subtle in pointing out that I had neglected to post them! ;)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Earle the stylish husky!

Earle has been modelling the latest in husky fashion for the last couple weeks. I'm not telling him that the shirt is vet ordered!

Earle has a history of obsessive licking, giving himself sores, usually on his front legs. Recently he decided to chew on his hips and sides. He has some nasty hotspots now.

The t-shirt keeps him from doing any further damage. It was supposed to be a temporary thing, just long enough to let the sores heal and break his licking habit.
Unfortunately, as soon as I take the shirt off him, the licking starts again!

Fortunately, Earle likes his new wardrobe! In his shirt, he is his happy, sweet, relaxed self. Maybe he'll start new trend among sled dogs!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Babydog...

Tehya the Babydog is all grown up, at least chronologically. She's two! She's still all puppy in her behavior though! She's currently racing around the yard like a lunatic!

I did capture a rare moment of stillness yesterday! Sharing the couch with Boots. The stillness could have had something to do with a mysterious sore back leg which appears to be all better today!

She's a pretty girl who makes sure there is never a dull moment around here!

Happy Birthday, my special babydog girl!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Warm kitties...

It has been suggested that I should post some pics of the kitties. They do get a bit overlooked on the blog! Probably because, at least of late, they haven't provided nearly as much blogging fodder as the dogs!

Glacier and Pete having a snuggle--that's what they do!

The cats are very happy that it's woodstove season again!

Paxil's concrete dog bowl sits by the stove and holds heat nicely. It's also a perfect fit for Ivy. Matches her fur nicely too!

Glacier might be a getting a bit too close. Singed cat fur smells nasty!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Pacer

Pacer has come a long way from that terrified dog who first came to live here!

He's a pretty happy boy these days!

He can even levitate!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

When did that happen...

Sometime while I wasn't looking, Paxil got old. How did I miss that!??

I took her for a walk tonight with Tehya. Probably not a great mix, but there is so much I'd like Tehya to learn from Paxil. We went maybe four kilometres. That was probably as far as she could go. Tehya knocked her over twice acting like, well, a young dog! I called her a hooligan, but she was really just being Tehya! Getting up the big hill on the way home took two tries. There's no way she'd get up that hill leading a team.

In her prime and well beyond, she was the best damn lead dog ever---unfailing, strong, smarter than her musher, always reliable and willing. The first dog team I ever ran was lead by Paxil. Last winter her tug line wasn't always tight and she had slowed down, but she still wanted to go and she never missed a command, unless I was dead wrong and told her to "gee" when she knew I meant "haw". I suspect she will still want to go this winter(this fall even when I get brakes on the quad again!). She will be seriously ticked when I leave her in the yard! I'm gonna hear all about how much she hates retirement, so will everyone in the subdivision!

I will hate her retirement almost as much as she does! Her lead dog booties will be hard to fill!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A break in the clouds....

Even the dogs are enjoying the break from the rain!

Tehya catching some rays this afternoon! She's a shameless little thing!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hanging out with the nieces...

One of the many things that have distracted me from posting lately:

A visit from my nieces, my Dad, my sister and her honey.

We played tourist for a few days. The older girls have been here before, but this was Emma's first trip North.

We checked out the Yukon Suspension Bridge

Spent an afternoon in Skagway, where we saw some seals and a few salmon. And a seal eating a salmon, which amused five year old Emma to no end!

We went to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, which was very cool. This Stone Sheep was just taking a break near his water.

Emma indulged in some snowman poop, which the rest of the world calls marshmellows! Could you resist that little face!? She decided that Auntie T isn't so bad after all during this visit and was a most cooperative little model!

The dogs were in heaven with so many extra hands to pet them! Naomi was a particular favorite of all the dogs!

Emma believes you should pet a dog "so he can feel it". Her doggy massages were throughly enjoyed! The cats enjoyed her willingness to share her food right off her plate--her mother was not so impressed with that!

Hopefully, it won't be another six years before they make the trek north!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A perfect summer evening...

The long, lovely evenings that make summer up here so enjoyable have been few and far between this year. Last night was really the first one I can recall so despite a to-do list three miles long, I took the night off and went paddling. About a three minute drive from my house is a little lake.

It is shallow, chock full of disgusting weeds, and unable to support fish life since it freezes right to the bottom in the winter. You could not pay me enough to swim in that water, but it is hard to resist for the occasional paddle. I can be unloaded and on the water in under 10 minutes!

Technically classed as a dead lake, by whoever makes these decisions, this little puddle lake is actually teeming with life. Dozens and dozens of ducks and gulls call this home. I even saw a loon last night. He wouldn't let me get close enough for a picture unlike the more relaxed ducks and the completely unconcerned gulls, but I am a prairie girl by birth; you can't grow up in rural Saskatchewan without learning what a loon call sounds like!

There were at least fifty of these little gulls hanging out at the end of the lake, completely unconcerned about the human in the bright yellow boat!

These almost grown ducklings were highly entertaining. The youngsters were having a great time splashing each other--typical siblings!

At least three beaver families reside on the lake. This big guy was less than impressed that I was there.

He gave me a few warning tail slaps, but a smaller beaver seemed to be quite curious about me and actually swam near my kayak for a bit. I like beavers! They eat poplar trees, which I am highly allergic to!

About 10:30pm, the sun was starting to set on a very enjoyable evening.

Hopefully, summer will come back again at least briefly before September! It's not my favorite season, but more than a day of decent weather would still be nice! Today the clouds and rain are back!

Monday, July 21, 2008

More encounters with wildlife....

Some of the wildlife around here I could do without. I enjoy the foxes and the coyotes, cuz my cats are safely inside. I love seeing the wolves, when they are not trying to eat my dogs. I enjoy the occasional visits from the moose and the bears. The squirrels, ravens ect are cheap dog entertainment! But some of the forest critters need to stay farther in the forest and away from my house!

Like this fella! The porcupine my dogs treed this morning.

Fortunately, he's just outside the fenceline and he had enough brains to climb a tree. Now if I can find a way to keep the dogs away from the fence for awhile, hopefully, he'll have enough brains to find a new place to hang out!

Fifteen dogs in that area x about 300 bucks each for quill removal.....I'd just rather not deal with that! And I'd rather not see the porky die just for doing what porcies do!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Delivery for the dogs....

"What ya got there, Mom?"

Look at that, a truck full of food!

The food passes Muskwa's inspection! i should send this one to the Acana company.

We don't usually get those pretty blue bags but some transport issues have lead to a shortage of the musher's bags at the feed store, at least if you want a whole pallet at a time. This worked's the same kibble, just prettier packaging, and the nice folks at the store gave us the same deal we usually get on the musher's bags.