Monday, August 31, 2009

August 31st

Took the dogs out for a run yesterday morning. The temperature was 56 degrees, but for some reason, Yukon and Samantha seemed totally unmotivated. Yukon kept stopping to smell the roses (or weeds as we call them), and Samantha kept a slack tug for most of the trip out.

Freya and Demon on the otherhand were rearing to go! Freya kept running over Samantha's tug, so I had to slow the team down to keep her from getting hurt. This made Freya unhappy, and she kept whining to go faster, and jumping forward in her harness. I think next time out, I'll put her in front with Yukon and see how she does. She definitely has ample motivation, intelligence and pure heart. Of course this might be a bit hard on Demon and Samantha being slower, so I will have to be careful.

Samantha did get in the mood on the way back, and began pulling, but I can't help thinking that she either doesn't like the new x-back harness, was injured in an x-back harness, or wasn't sure she was supposed to pull in it/never had one on before. She certainly didn't have a problem with the draft harness, so something about the x-back has her off her stride.

Freya appears to be in pre-heat and has everyone on edge. She wants so bad to run and play with the boys, but we have to ensure she doesn't get pregnant at her age, and especially not from her father or uncle... It has only been four and a half months since her last heat, so we are hoping it is a false heat. Just can't be too careful though. Samantha is picking up the pheramones and is starting her odd behavior again (mounting poor Demon who is not too thrilled about it), and Demon has decided that since G'kar doesn't exactly smell male that he must be a bitch in disguise. Needless to say, Demon's amorous advances annoy G'kar to no end. Yukon seems aloof from all this, and quietly watches from the sidelines. More and more he has taken to laying down away from the other dogs. Guess all these hormones disturb his philosophizing.

Valkrys is convinced she can run with the sled dogs, and at 18 years, she runs along inside the fence trying to keep up. Then she dances around in circles when I bring the team in, as if to convince me she's ready for her turn. I humor her and pet her, and tell her she's a good girl. Somewhere along the line I think she forgets she wasn't the one in harness, and happily lays down and goes to sleep. Hope I'm as energetic at 126.

Freya has turned into a dynamo. I was amazed when I checked her paws and gave her a rub-down. She is incredibly muscular and seems to be one solid muscle from nose to tail. She's more fit than a fiddle, and probably the most athletic dog I've ever owned, and that is saying a LOT. She makes me so proud.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

August 27th SPIDERZ!

2 dogs + 1 daddylonglegs = hours of redneck entertainment.
This still makes me giggle inside. Freya thinks daddylonglegs are cool toys. She picks it up, throws it, and it still tries to move away! It is even more hillarious that when she throws it and it lands on another dog, they freak out, shake and move away. Freya thinks this is great fun, and I'll admit it is pretty darn funny!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August 26th 21 years

Jim and I have been married for 21 years today. In this day and age, I consider that pretty good. It hasn't always been easy, but we do get along really well and have a lot of the same interests. I'm just very glad he likes our four new dogs and likes the fact that I am training them to mush. The dogs have taken to him at last, even Demon smiles when Jim pets him now, and this makes Jim happy too. He's never been a big dog person, but these four very loving personalities are changing him for the better. ;-)

An odd note about the neighbor dog. I kept thinking about why the dog barks and barks, and I believe I figured it out. She's lonely, and wants to see a person. Even if she doesn't want to be petted, she just wants to know that she is not alone. Poor puppy dog. She will shut up and go back to her yard if one of us simply walks out the front door so she can see us. Hearing us isn't good enough, she wants to see a person. Not sure if I can do anything to break her of her habit, but maybe if I let her see me before going to bed she will let me sleep? Something to think about anyway.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

August 25th

zzzz This should be me...

Jim wakes me up just after 1am by opening the door and calling out the dogs. None of them move until he has shut the door and they jump on me wanting to go out.

Groggy and more than slightly annoyed, I get up and let them out, knowing in a couple hours they will wake me up to go out again....

3am, yup, only this time it is that !@#@%#%^@!!! annoying neighbor dog barking outside my house again. Demon jumps up and starts licking my face and whining to go out.....

I let them out thinking of how I'm going to get the neighbors to control their dog's barking. This has been going on since I moved in, and I love dogs, but I need sleep too....It would be fine if the animal stayed in their yard and barked but the bloody thing insists on sitting on my front lawn by my window and barking.... I know it is not the dog's fault, but the owner's failure to control and/or train their animal. Sigh... I think it is time to buy a book on training and leave it in their mailbox.

August 24th

We got the new dog door insert for our sliding door, but unfortunately it looks like the 'snug in' portion sits too tall for our door. Jim decided he could cut it down to size, but I'm pretty sure he cut the wrong side. Anyway, it still doesn't fit, but we were able to teach Samantha, G'kar and Valkrys how to use the door once we are able to fully install it.

Another problem is the width. The insert takes up a good portion of the door, and it is impossible for Jim and James to fit through the gap. I can barely fit through, but we do have another rear door off from the laundry room we can use. It will make things a bit inconvenient unless we can figure out a way to have it insert in to the stationary side of the door.

Samantha thought it was great! She could go through from the outside to the inside, get a treat, then go back outside and get a treat! Even after we had stopped the training session, she went through the door roughly six more times looking for treats and seemed mildly miffed when there were no more forthcoming and the door was taken down.

Monday, August 24, 2009

August 23rd ZOMG Chickens!

Our team's new pasttime consists of running up and down the fence yelling "Chickens! ZOMG Chickens!" every time the neighbor's chickens come across the road and down the hill on our property to feed on the river bugs.

I swear they can hear the quiet 'cluck, cluck' of the mother hen herding her pack of nearly grown chicks to the best feeding spot while the dogs are in my livingroom enjoying a nice movie. I'm lucky to hear my son sneaking another bite of leftovers in the kitchen less than thirty feet from me, yet our pups can hear the quiet foraging of the chicken family that is outside and almost 200 yards from the back door.

They scramble to their feet, howling something about "I'm going to catch them this time!" even though they know the chickens are on the wrong side of the fence. I have to scramble to open the door for them before they decide to make short work of the plate glass. And off they go! Good thing we have reinforced that leg of fence and plugged nearly every spot of fence that might possibly bend enough to emit a dog. I dread the day that one gets loose and has a chicken dinner.

I took the camera out there to try to get some pics of the chickens, just to prove they were on my property in case the dreaded event occurs. Got some great pics of the dogs, but the birds moved too fast for my focusing mechanism, so I wasn't able to get any clear shots. Hopefully I scared them off enough so they won't come back. I doubt it though.

While mowing the lawn yesterday, I was cutting down the path next to the one I just carved out by the river when I saw a writhing brown mass. A closer examination showed the body of a cotton mouth sans head. Yikes! I've run up and down this stretch of bank with the dogs on numerous occasions and hadn't seen hide nor scale of cotton mouth or water moccasin. I'd been reassured by the guys I work with that they don't live near where we are. Apparently nobody told the cotton mouth. Good thing I found it before it found me or the dogs.

I picked it up with a long stick and carried it up the hill to show Jim and James what to watch out for. The fat brown body with the lighter mottled patterns and the white belly were quite plainly seen. There was no sign of the head though, which is probably a good thing. Even dead snakes can bite.

August 22nd

Nice cool weather! Took the dogs for a run in their new harnesses and gang line. The harnesses worked well, the gangline, not so much. It took a lot to keep them from getting tangled, and the leader section had far too much slack in it from the anchor of the tug, and Freya and Demon kept getting tangled in it. At 100yards I ended up stopping the team and tieing a knot in it to keep it from dragging. Samantha and Yukon didn't seem to like the new gangline much and didn't really pull. Demon and Freya were my stars Saturday, they both pulled their hearts out. I think this was a great day for Demon. He's never been a very motivated puller, but he and Freya worked like gangbusters together. They were all very happy to be out running though, and Yukon and Samantha did not want to turn around.

I need to find a circular route to take them to avoid turning around. The dogs seem to hate going back the same route and don't want to pull towards home. Leaves a lot of pedaling for me hehe. It was bad enough Saturday that I got out of the cart and pushed-ran half the way instead of pedaling (which is barely an assist) back. At 2.5 miles, I was a bit tired myself by the time we got half-way up the home hill. I unhooked the dogs, left the cart off the road and walked them the rest of the way to the house. Yukon, Samantha and Demon were tired, and Demon went wading in the pool, Freya went to back of the fence running back and forth trying to get the neighbors chickens that had come on to our property to eat bugs. The three adults just watched her from the porch. If they could be shaking their heads in disbelief, they would have. Just watching her makes me more tired.

Friday, August 21, 2009

August 21st G'kar's Midlife Crisis

G'kar has been our fuzzy kid for twelve years now. At six months we had him neutered to help calm his separation anxiety, and he has been a great dog. As a puppy, he learned to fetch and to pull. His favorite game is still fetch the squeaky ball. At nine, though, he had a cancerous lump on the left side of his jaw, and we had it removed, but our fear was that it would return. The vet thinks they caught it in time and he was able to get all of it out. In the three years since his surgery we haven't seen any growths on his left side, but more worrying lately has been a slow onset of arthritis. But this hasn't slowed down my old man, he still begs to go play fetch at least twice a day and nothing will do but his rainbow colored squeaky ball. He loves that toy to death, and would love it to death if we let him keep it too long. G'kar is notorious for removing the squeak in squeaky toy.

G'kar was raised with cats, and it is obvious by the way he plays with his paws that he identifies partially with his previous feline companions. He's very dextrous with his paws and has been known to fish things out of cracks and crevasses under the couch, behind the bench, etc. with them. Unlike Valkrys, though, G'kar is far too noisy and graceless to be a ninja. Freya on the other hand, is light on her feet, graceful, and femininely delicate enough to pull off the Valkrys ninja techniques. Most importantly, she is colored mostly black to hide well in the shadows and lurk around corners waiting for the perfect ninja opportunity to nab food and run. For this amazing talent, G'kar loves her and thinks to replace his lifemate Valkrys with something younger. Yes, our old neutered boy is going through mid-life crisis.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 20th

Someone won the $243 million powerball and it wasn't me. Ah well, back to work, I guess. Still hoping to sell my house in NC, my ~2.7 acre sportsman's paradise of twelve years complete with beaver pond, deer, turkey, otters and the occasional coyote. I still love that place, but I like having a steady job too. Our house in KY has more floor space, but I swear there was 1.5 x the storage space in NC. Hopefully when we get the garage/barn/recroom built it will illeviate some of our storage issues, but that is a ways down the road. So I've swapped the paradise in NC for one here in KY. I do love it here, but there are some things that I want changed, like a well. We were spoiled by having one in NC. Here we are on city water, and water here is expensive even though there is plenty of it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August 19th

Ok, so now Demon seems to think that every morning at12:30, and 3:30am there are vicious possums that must be dealt with. So he wakes me up for patrol duty. Tonight he's going to sleep in my son's room.

We also learned a valuable lesson. No matter how much they beg or want to play with or chew the cobs left over from the corn, don't let them. 4:30am, you will revisit your decision to let the dogs chew on the corn cobs.

So now I'm trying to stay awake at the keyboard at work after a large group BBQ. It's not easy.

Cabin fever? Freya, Samantha, Yukon and G'kar were all wound up last night, and wanted to play and play and play. It was raining pretty hard when I got home, and the pups were all inside and restless. James took G'kar out on the covered porch and played fetch with him while I rough-housed with the young ones, and a good time was had by all. Around 8pm the rain had gone and the ground was drying up, so we went out for a game of "chase me". It still amazes me how fast Yukon and Freya are. They leave the other dogs waaay behind.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August 18th

Demon, my fluffy fuzzy cuddly bear was so proud of himself. 3:30am he needed to go out, so I let them all out, and groggily followed old Valkrys to make sure she made it down the steps and back ok.

Next thing I know, Demon is happily trotting towards me with a white-ish gray mass in his mouth which he drops at my feet. "Here mom! I am teh great provider with my 1337 hunting skillz!"

I have to admit it was a pretty big possum. I thanked him, and promptly got a shovel. When I went to pick it up, G'kar was convinced it was still alive and a threat to me, and he attacked it... Thanks for killing the dead possum G'kar. So wizening up, and putting my body between the possum and my earstwhile protector, I scooped it up and heaved it over the fence. Poor Demon was insulted that I didn't want to eat his catch, but he was so stoked about being teh greatez hunterz, he did four laps around the perimeter of the fence at top speed, and could not be convinced to come back in for more night-night time.

At least Samantha and Yukon thought more sleep was good, and of course G'kar would not let me out of his sight with dangerous dead possums showing up. So the four of us went back to sleep.

After I got up in the morning, and as I was getting ready for work, I asked my son to go get the dead possum with the shovel and throw it in the garbage can, but when he went outside to find it, it had vanished. Some other neighborhood dog is probably rolling in it now, much to the owner's chagrin.

Monday, August 17, 2009

August 17th

Freya is my little sweetheart. I've about come to grips with the idea that she might not get much bigger than she is. That pup is all muscle from nose to tail-tip, and all heart. As my most eager puller and enthusiastic runner, she is most definitely top of the list on my team. She is about average Siberian size, but I had hoped she might fill out to close the size of her daddy, Yukon who is really a gentle giant among Siberians normally bred to be a smaller dog breed as far as huskies go (Malamutes and Alaskans are generally bigger). She is the epitome of the 'show' Siberian with her beautiful black and white markings, blue eyes and smile. If she wasn't so shy, she would make an awesome show dog, but I'm pretty sure we are not ready for that yet. It is something to think about on down the line, but for the time being, I'm happy to train her for obedience and for harness.

Yesterday was way too hot and humid for anything but a few forrays out in to the furnace... er summer heat for a run around the yard and a game or two of "chase me". In all of that, after the evening biscuit, I was sitting in the den on the couch when Freya hopped up next to me, with her biscuit that she hadn't eaten. Instead of munching the biscuit, she dropped it in my lap and pushed it towards me with her nose. I picked it up and handed it to her, and she curled up with it for a few moments, then, very deliberately, picked it up and put it back in my lap nudging it with her nose again. She was so sweet, I think she wanted me to have it since she didn't feel like eating it. I pretended to eat it, and put it aside for her later. She did end up eating it before bed, but I thought her gesture was noteworthy.
Sunday, my husband had set out some mouse traps, as we had seen signs. Just before I went to bed, I heard a screeching scrabbling sound from the kitchen, and all the dogs bolted for the cabinet under the sink. Sure enough, one of the traps he had set caught a mouse, but extracting it with the dogs eagerly waiting to protect us from this tiny terror was quite a challenge. I ended up convincing the dogs there were more outside waiting to do us harm, and took them all out while Jim got the mouse taken care of.

August 15th

Took Samantha out with the bike. She was very happy to be out with me, but I was a bit disappointed with her pulling. Perhaps it was the new harness? She's been pulling with a cart/drafting harness up until this point, but we got some nice padded x-back harnesses from Mountain Ridge . The people there were really nice btw.

Since it was a new harness, a bike and a single pull instead of with the team, Samantha may not have realized what was expected of her. She did not keep the tugline taught but maybe 100 feet during the .5 miles out, so I turned us around and came back. She did do well turning around though. I'm still wondering if she wasn't injured by her former musher. She did have a patch of rubbed hair on her back, and walked/pulled rather bow-legged even though she did not appear to have any hip issues (I've since had her evaluated by a vet with a clean bill of health and no hip problems). Going in to her fifth month with us, her gait has evened out and become less and less bow-legged and the patch of fur has grown back completely. She is a great dog as a pet, and when in the cart harness with the team, is always pulling. I'll have to wait for it to cool off again to run the team with the new harnesses and gangline to see, but will work with her again. She definitely pulled hard when I was working with her commands on foot.
If we decide to do any kind of racing, though, I'm pretty sure Samantha will probably not make the race team. Demon as well, he's more of a goofball than a puller. Yukon and Freya seem to be my best most eager to run/pull dogs. Freya most of all! After Samantha and I returned, I hooked up Yukon for a run. Man is he fast! He loses a bit of eagerness on the way back. Guess he wants to run further to places he hasn't been. We made record time to the 1 mile turn-around, and it took me a bit to get him turned back around. On the way back, he started out eager enough, but about 3/4 the way back, he no longer seemed interested in pulling, but more interested in exploring. He was good about Leave it, but I ended up telling him this way too many times. Ah well, it is still summer, and we are all still learning about each other and the fun of mushing.
By mid-morning the temps had reached eighty and humidity was climbing, so after watering, and giving snacks to the dogs, we got them inside in the AC, and Jim and I went shopping leaving James to watch the pups. We picked up enough 2x4's and plywood to make a whelping box/house with a removable roof, some stone and sand for the path in the back yard, and some shelving units. By the time we returned, temps were in the high 80's and humidity was 70%, too hot and humid for most outdoor stuff, so we let the dogs out to do business, but kept them in most of the rest of the day.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

August 13th

So many days I wish I didn't have to work and could stay home with my puppies. Ah well, bills got to get paid somehow, and since Jim is partially disabled, that leaves me to provide for us.

Yukon was so playful this morning, begging me to stay home and play with him, bouncing around like a 2 month old pup, and coming to me with his hind quarters in the air, tail waving his happy anthem, and his body language yelling "CHASE ME! I KNOW YOU CAN'T CATCH ME!". It is so hard to say no to the fuzzy kids when they are being good and silly. Plus, it was a good crisp morning, less than 20% humidity and the temps were below 65. We could have taken a short run with the cart, but alas, work calls, and I must say adieu to my lovely silly fuzzy kids.

My husband, bless him, called me and told me he had fixed up the red mtn bike we picked up for $10 and it was ready to run with the dogs. :) I love that man! I will probably take out Freya first as she needs the exercise and we need her tired the most. hehe, It's fun raising a sibe puppy again! If she tires before me, I'll take Samantha out after that. Big IF though.
Freya and I did a 2 mile ride/run with the new bike. Though the noises of the bike scared her some, she was a happy puppy to run. When she got back, she laid down for about twenty minutes then was up and playing with Demon. Whew! Wish I had her energy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August 12th

Tonight is Yukon's turn for a little one on one training. I need the exercise, and he will do much better today since it is a lot cooler than yesterday. Yukon is a long-hair coat, and does not like being out in the sun (can't blame him there), but hopefully he will be fine with a chance to run (jog actually, I could never in my dreams keep up with him running... lol) outside the fence for a little while.

Samantha is a short-hair coated siberian, and being a bit lighter color she doesn't mind the sun so much, but does get warm fast like any of them in the summer time. Tomorrow, I'll try to work Freya on line-out. Will probably be pretty tough for her being a wiggly high-spirited puppy. So I will probably take her for a jog afterwards as a reward. She really really really loves to run!

Yukon did great as I expected, and he really enjoyed his new x-back harness. He was overjoyed to be pulling and nearly took me for a drag hehe. He is an incredibly fast dog, and my top speed just wasn't cutting it. His intelligence is profoundly un-dog-like. It is no wonder I call him "my philosopher". He is so very gentle and loving, yet loves to have his fun, but every once in a while I'll just catch him sitting and thinking, and it is quite obvious he is in deep contemplation about something. If only I knew what he was thinking about. He is always the first to master a new command, whether it be sit, lay down, stay, leave it, gee and haw. It is like child's play to him, but it is play and fun, so he does it because he loves to have fun with his people.

When I was trying to put him back in the yard, G'kar tried to sneak out behind me, and I backed up to trap him against the fence. This was the opportunity Samantha was looking for, and streaked past me like a bolt of lightning!

Fortunately, Samantha just wanted to run and was a bit frustrated that I had taken Yukon out and not her. She ran like a shot down to the bridge as if she were in harness, then turned at the bridge, ran along the treeline like she is used to doing. She ran back into the backyard, twice around the outside of the fenced yard before trotting over to see what was at the neighbor's house. James caught up with her before she found the chicken yard, thank goodness, and she happily came back with him, having already stretched her legs.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August 11th

Small update. Got a couple of used mountain bikes to fix up and use for running the dogs. Been too hot to hook them up the past week and a half, but the dogs have been enjoying playing in the yard, going for walks and playing chase me with us slow ungainly two-legged creatures.

Got Samantha out in harness for some commands training. I hooked up a horse lead to her harness, and a leash to her collar and had her pull me at a jog. She still is a bit hesitant about "gee" and "Haw", so it was good training for both of us. We worked mainly with "gee" and "Leave it". She was very good about "leave it", but was a bit confused when I asked her to turn mid-field with "gee". So I tried to use the command in non-obvious places to giver her more of a sense of the direction of "right turn" rather than "follow that trail". It was fairly warm, so we only worked close to five minutes before I was drenched in sweat and Samantha was panting heavily, so we went back in to the yard so she could cool off in the kiddie pool.

She spent the rest of the evening tight up by my side with a large grin on her face. When I went to eat my dinner, of course the rest of the pups thought they would crowd me for some food. I said "No!" and "Back!" and was shocked to watch Samantha put herself bodily in front of each dog and back them off before laying down with a happy grin between them and I, and her paw on my foot. She has impressed me no end with her intelligence and willingness to do almost anything for me, but this simply floored me. She is an awesome pack-mom!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

August 6th

Valkrys is nicely gaining weight back from her ordeal, is alert and getting around a lot better. It still amazes me that she is so healthy for her age, and I guess our vet was amazed too. If we can keep her on an easy diet, she should be around for a while longer. Though she is nearly blind and all deaf, she still loves her belly rubs and hugs. Due to her age though, I'm not sure how long her good health will last, but she deserves every bit of quality life that we can give her until then.

G'kar and Yukon have become buddies, surprisingly enough, and Demon and G'kar get along well. G'kar likes Freya, but still won't play with her. He only plays a little bit with Yukon. Samantha and G'kar still vie for Alpha dog, and constantly strut around each other and growl before being admonished, but sometimes the growls are more friendly than others. At times it seems Samantha and G'kar want to play but are too wrapped up in their leadership agenda they can't. Seems like politics even screws things up in the dog world.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

August 4th

Freya was in a cuddle mood last night. She was in the dining room when all of a sudden, she whined pitifully. I called to her and she came and sat by me on the couch while I watched a movie, with her head on my knee. For such an energetic puppy to be so still and content with a bellyrub and a large grin made me wonder what tired her out?

She was being the essence of cuteness, cuddling close and nudging me when I paused in my petting her. Such moods are very rare for her. Normally she is wanting to play and won't sit still for more than two minutes. She was so content to lay by me, that she didn't mind when I pulled out the shedding tool and de-puppy furred her for a good ten minutes.

After an hour and a half, though, she was back to her puppy-gizer self, wanting to play. Valkrys spent the evening where she could see me, but her eyes were much more alert than she has been in days. She ate two chicken breasts, and it is time for me to get more chicken to feed her.

Spent some time this morning after feeding, preparing a puppy video which I will proabably upload sometime later today.

Monday, August 3, 2009

August 3rd

Spent most of the weekend caring for my beautiful old girl, Valkrys (on the right).

Friday when I came home from work, it was as if she had given up again, would not eat or drink. I forced her to stand up and drink, then gave her the medicine to coat her stomach. Thirty minutes later I gave her the pill for her pancreas.

After an hour she still would not eat, so I put a piece of chicken in her mouth. She still would not eat it, but I kept putting it in her mouth every time she spit it out until she ate that piece. Once she did, she wanted more. Guess I'm more stubborn than she is. I got her to eat four very small pieces but it was a start.

Saturday morning she fought me as I tried to give her medicine, and I was desperate to try something else. I hate prying her jaws open and getting my fingers bit only to have her spit out the pills after holding her mouth shut for ten minutes. So, Jim and I went to the store and picked up (among other things) a jar of peanut butter. That evening, I stuck a pill to the roof of her mouth with a swath of peanut butter. Though she tried to spit out the pill, it was coated with peanut butter and she eventually swallowed it not realizing that was the pill.

She acted a little miffed afterwards that I had deceived her, but when I gave her the other pill forty minutes later, she didn't fuss at all, but swallowed it without trying to extract the pill. She didn't eat anything else on Saturday, sleeping most of the day.

Sunday she put up a big fuss over the pills, and it took me some time to get her to open her mouth for the pill, but once she had the peanut butter in her mouth, she swallowed it and the pill. The small pill was much easier, and she only gave me a little bit of fuss. She then ate three pieces of chicken breast, but nothing else the rest of the day. Evening pills were a minor fuss, but still no eating.

This morning she only half-heartedly resisted me opening her mouth for the pill and swallowed it right away. Half hour later, she again, only partially resisted having her mouth open, didn't pull away, and swallowed the small pill in peanut butter. She then ate four pieces of chicken and was begging for more, following me around the house. I left instructions for Jim to cook up more chicken and feed it to her when he got up, and she ate a whole chicken breast!

I'm overjoyed that she looks to be finally past the danger point and on the road to recovery. She lost almost fifteen pounds, so she has a lot of weight to make up still, but it looks pretty positive for an almost eighteen year old shepherd-husky, Valkrys, our heroine.

On a funny note, last night, Samantha was being rather feisty and playful. Normally I try not to play with the dogs with my hands, but Samantha doesn't like to play with toys, and only plays with me, Jim or Yukon. So I tussled with her a little and she ended up with her head upside down beside my hip, hunched up in a ball with her front feet and hind feet next to her nose. She immediately began a dance-dig jig upside down with all four of her paws while yowl-growling. It was the funniest-weirdest thing I have ever seen a dog do! Jim and I roared with laughter for nearly fifteen minutes, much to Samantha's delight.

She loves to hear people laugh, and will poke you with her nose to tickle you and make you laugh. She is another great dog, and I feel fortunate to have had her and Valkrys in one lifetime.