Wednesday, December 23, 2009

December 23rd Puppy Envy

The dark spot at the bottom of the photo is Moon's nose, she wanted to sniff the camera.

Poor Freya. She's so tired of being mommy and wants to be a puppy again. She plays and plays with me and with Samantha's puppies, trying to regain her own puppiness. I have to keep reminding her that she is bigger than the 5 week old pups, and needs to take it easy with them. She hasn't hurt any of them yet, but she has scared them quite a bit, and I don't want it to get out of hand. She plays with her own puppies, but much more gently. One thing good has come out of all this, is that her shyness seems to have completely disappeared for the duration. I hope she stays as social and friendly once the pups are totally weaned. They eat mostly moistened or dry puppy food, but still nurse as much as they can from Freya who doesn't want to nurse them much at all.

Samantha rarely nurses her pups, and is almost done with it. They subsist almost entirely on puppy food and puppy formula. They are fat and happy though, and are doing fine. They will be 6 weeks old today and are full of run and energy. They are so fun to watch, not so fun to be chewed on by, but fun to play tug-o-war with old socks, rope toys, etc. For the most part Samantha's pups play well with Freya's, except Xena, who still needs to be reminded to take it easy.

Demon is great with the pups, but also needs to be reminded once in a while to take it easy. Yukon still runs away from them. Samantha will play a little bit with them, but not much. She still cleans up after them occasionally, but not often. That job has fallen to me.

The puppies got to pig out this morning. First, they ate all of the moistened food, so I filled a regular food bowl half with milk and mixed in puppy formula. They drank that dry, so I opened a can of puppy food for them. They devoured that until their bellies hung so low they had trouble walking (okay I exaggerate, but they were rather rolly polly). Samantha's pups got to have an outing in my room and played for an hour before conking out. Freya got to spend that time in the kitchen eating up the rest of the canned food. I let her out, and put Samantha's puppies back in the kitchen after cleanup and before my shower. They were for the most part, unconscious when I left for work except for Squeaker who was out in a dog igloo with Demon. I got James up and told him where Squeaker was before heading out the door.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 22nd The Great Outdoors!

Squeaker has learned a new trick! She figured out earlier how to get out of the dog door. This morning, she learned how to get back in on her own! She loves going potty outside, and this is the beginning of a beautiful training opportunity. It's great when a dog's natural wants coincide with what you want! She's a good little pup! She comes when called (except when she is really sleepy and already settled in), and sits when asked to. I really love that little girl!

It was amusing to see Freya try to play with her this morning. Squeaker has also learned a trick from the Red Menace, the "Leave me Alone!" growl!

Freya was taken aback! "What? What did you say to me?"

"LEAVE ME ALONE!" or more appropriately: "ROARWR!" Man did she sound seriously mean! For such a tiny delicate pup, to hear such a noise was a bit scary. It worked though and Freya found another pup to pick on, namely Moon.

Moon quickly learned that Freya is not so fast at crawling under the bed. She would race around the room to get Freya's attention, then dive under the bed and laugh when Freya tried to follow. She would quickly crawl out the other side leaving a half annoyed Freya to shimmy back out from under the bed, as she couldn't fit under the lower footboard opening, only the sides.

The pups love playing in my room! They have traction! Man can they run! I can't wait until they are old enough to put in harness, especially Moon! She is a running little pup! Zoom, zoom, zoom, she makes me tired just watching, and she keeps it up for a good hour before finally laying in to the water and food. With a full belly she crawls under the bed for a snooze.

Okay, I admit, Squeaker does have a down side. She, well, she squeaks, or more appropriately screams bloody murder if she is awake, in the kitchen and she knows I'm home. I have created a spoiled little monster, and she knows if she screams loud and long enough I will eventually crave silence enough to pick her up, carry her around for a while so that she can decide on what to get in to, then let her go make trouble. I think though, that if she continues to let herself out and back in, the point will be moot, and the kitchen may no longer be the bane of the great adventurer, Squeaker.

Monday, December 21, 2009

December 21st Happy Solstice!

Winter is here, although by the look of it here in Kentucky, you wouldn't know it. The snow we were supposed to get went south of us. Major bummer, though we did get a dusting of snow.

Took a couple of the pups out in to the yard. Squeaker's coat is thick and fluffy and she had no problems. Ace too seemed to be fine as far as the cold, but she got a little intimidated by the boys. She loved playing on the porch though. But out in the snow, she explored a bit, then wanted to be held. Squeaker loves the boys, and goads them to play with her. I have to keep reminding Demon and Yukon that she is just a young pup though and they need to play gentle. They haven't hurt her, but being pinned down by an adult dog is intimidating. I think Squeaker is getting used to it now, as it doesn't seem to bother her at all, she's just happy the adult dogs are playing with her. The other pups, though, kind of freak when Demon stands over them and 'itch' bites their fur. It's his way of being gentle and playing, but some of the pups think he's genuinely trying to eat them. He wants to rough house and tumble so bad, but knows they are just babies.

Moon gets cold rather quickly in below 30 temps, but did well at 34 degrees. She is starting to get over being intimidated by the boys, but still is not too fond of being 'itched' by Demon. She loved playing on the porch with Squeaker. The two of them ran from dog igloo to igloo picking up pieces of straw, chewing on the odd dead beatle, cruching up stored kibble, chasing eachother around the igloos, and seeing who was brave enough to stay out in the snow side of the porch the longest.

It is so fun to watch them play, but I also need to let the big dogs have fun, so I hooked up Samantha to just me and we went for a slow jog Saturday. We ran about 3/4 a mile. Samantha loved it and wanted more, but she was tired, her composure told me that she was pushing herself, so we walked the last 1/4 mile back to the house. She seemed sorry that it was over when we got back, but when it was apparent that I wasn't taking her back out, she flopped down on the couch and dozed off.

Sunday I got the cart and the two boys out, and we went about a mile and a half with me assisting on the up-hill. This time, I put Demon in dual lead with Yukon, and he was fantastic! He really put his considerable brawn in to it, and goaded his brother in to pulling harder too.

It is the greatest feeling to be at one with the dogs, to feel their power and free spirit. To know the joy of the run and the wind. You really get to know what is in their hearts and minds. It is a kind of mock-hunt, where the run is the game, and at the end of the trail there is meat. It is play and instinct rolled in to one event, one joyous venture into the wind and wild with the pack, and I do not dissapoint them. At the end of the run, they get meat and they are fulfilled in their trust in me their provider and benevolent diety. They shower me with their love and obesence, happily pushing each other away in order to show their devotion is deeper. I return their affection whole-heartedly and check their feet, massage their shoulders, legs, back and belly, ensuring there are no knots or anything out of place. They love the rub-down and lick my face enthusiastically showing their approval when they can.

It is a ritual passed down from the depths of time. An ageless unity of soul for human and canine, and the awe still lingers.

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18th, Snow in the Forecast!

1-2" of snow in the forecast for tonight. Here's hoping for a white Christmas!

Silver is the pup in the middle facing out and is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Her personality is just manifesting itself, and I'm quite pleased with the outcome. She's very affectionate, and loves to be petted. Her little tail wags a mile a minute when you are petting her, and she'll roll on her back and wiggle the whole time you pet her belly. The longer you pet her belly, it is like winding up a spring until she can't stand the exuberance any more! She rockets to her feet and bounces around like a toy dog, her tail wagging in circles until she comes back for more. She is such a happy affectionate little girl, and she loves to run around! She plays with all of the pups from both litters, and is probably the most social.

All of Freya's pups are starting to manifest definite personalitites. Brownie also is a very affectionate pup, but unlike Silver, he will patiently nibble at your fingers while you pet his belly. He loves to eat, and is in clear running with Silver for the biggest puppy. He loves to play with Samantha's pups, and singles out Mitu and Ace who are both his color. He hangs out with Ace most of all.

Face too, is a very affectionate pup, and loves to be petted. He's always on the go, though, and doesn't like to be still for too long. He's one of the best eaters of the litter as well and often is at the food or water dish. Originally he was the runt, but he's been gaining ground quickly and appears to be passing Buck in weight and muscle. Face is a happy pup, and generally amuses himself when not playing with the other pups. He too is very social, but loves to hang out with Xena or Elvis. He comes running, though, when I step in to the pen, and excitedly tries to climb up and lick my face along with all of Samantha's pups.

Flakes is only semi-social. He plays mosly with Cat or Silver, and occasionally Buck or Brownie. He won't seek out Samantha's pups, but will play with them if they come to him. He loves being petted and have his belly rubbed, but doesn't come seeking it like Silver, Face and Brownie.

Cat is fickle. Sometimes he likes to be petted, sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes he plays with Samantha's pups, sometimes he runs away from them. He's always up for a tussle with Flakes or Buck, though, and will mingle with Silver and Brownie. He's not usually the first to the food, and sometimes doesn't come to drink the milk mix. He's still a big fat pup though, so I know he's being well fed.

Buck is an odd one. His light tan (buckskin) coloring set him apart from both litters. He's a narrow chested and narrow hipped pup, unlike his burly siblings and cousins. He is still coming in to his personality, but he has a very odd quirk. Buck doesn't bark, whine or howl like the other pups, he screams, albeit softly, when things don't go his way. It sounds almost like a young human saying "AH! AH! AH!" in a high pitched whistly voice. Buck hangs out with Face or Silver when they are around, but he mostly sticks close to his mommy, Freya. He will occasionally follow another pup around, seldomly play with Samantha's pups, but always close to first to the food or milk bowl.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 17th Chores!

Spent the entire evening from the time I got home from work until the time I went to bed cleaning, mopping, relaying down papers and pads. Whew! Good thing my son helped lay down the papers. Time to get the barn fixed up for the pups! I've picked up a heater and have lots of straw, just need to fix them up an insulated box to get out of the cold, and fence in enough area to let them romp, pee and poop in the area that has been sealed and rubberized (hose cleanup sounds so much more fun than papers and mops. I have a bit of straw ready to lay down in the box once I get it built. I also plan on picking up a sleeping bag (mine didn't appear to have made the move from NC) and sleeping with them in the barn to be sure it is warm enough. If it gets too cold, I take them and myself back inside.

Samantha's pups are at the point where I think they can be trusted with light supervision with Freya's pups. I've been letting them socialize under heavy supervision for the past few days and corrected rough play enough that they have gotten the idea quite well. Freya's pups are thrilled to be playing with the bigger pups, and take every opportunity to romp with them. I still worry about their development as they were a good week and a half/ almost two weeks early, but they are growing fast and strong. Their coordination is getting better by the day and improves by leaps and bounds as they begin to play with the older pups.

Brownie, Silver, Flakes and Cat are as big as Samantha's pups, Buck and Face are still a bit smaller, but heavier than Squeaker. Poor Squeaker looks to be the runt of both litters, but she is fast, agile and smart, and, of course, cute as a button. She is also the only dark eyed puppy out of both litters and I have to wonder a bit about the genetic sequences of dogs, and where eye color sits on the chart. I had thought that blue eyes were recessive genes in dogs as they are in humans, but I'm beginning to rethink this. The fact that Squeaker has undoubtedly dark brown eyes suggests that brown eyes are the recessive gene in Siberians. Anyway, they actually make Squeaker look prettier than if she had blue eyes. It completes the striking markings she has on her face.

Can you tell Squeaker is my favorite? Heh, I love the little spunky gal, and she obviously loves me. When I come home, she howls bloody murder until I come and pick her up. When she is awake, she's not happy unless she is either exploring the larger world beyond the kitchen, or being held by me. She has the cutest puppy smile when I pick her up, but the amount of time she wants to be on the go makes me firmly believe she would make a great addition to the team, and her looks and agility would probably garner her a solid conformation. I'll probably take her to the kennel club when she reaches 3 months of age.

Moon is strong and on the go a lot as well, which is a great sign, but her ears have not yet picked up. I'm hoping they will, but if they remain semi-floppy like her father, she is out of the running for a show prospect even if she will be a good addition to the team. She is affectionate to one and all and loves to lick face, chew on ears and fingers, and be held. She is very pretty, almost white, but really a very light gray with barely discernable white markings. I certainly hope she maintains her coloring in to adulthood. Moon is pretty strong and probably as strong as Mitu, but she is not quite as heavy, but is more agile on her feet. She is also very smart, and is one of the first to escape from the kitchen when the opportunity arises. Her soulful blue eyes tell you about the love and mischief inside.

Mitu is a dynamo of energy, is incredibly heavy/stocky like her father, but she has his ears without question. She is going to be a great sled dog/puller/agility dog, or whatever her future owner has planned for her. She is outgoing and affectionate, loves to be held and petted. It will be sad to see her go, but I'm happy she has a great home to look forward to (former musher and vet tech).

Ace is a very beautiful girl, calm and quiet for a husky, which may not make her a good sled dog, but she would be a great companion, pet or show dog. She has very pretty blue eyes, erect ears, and near perfect perportions. She is happy amusing herself, playing with the other pups, or being held and petted. Quite unusual for a normally high-energy breed. She could probably do well in any home, which gives her a secure future in this area of sparce dog sports.

Christmas is a nice blend of active on the go and affectionate. She would make a great show/agility/pulling/sledding dog as well as a great canine ambassador. She has a good amount of intelligence and learns quickly. She was the first puppy to learn to be gentle with the younger litter, yet plays with them a lot. Freya's pups adore her and follow her around until she lays down and bats at them with her paws and mouths them when they jump on her.

Elvis too is a lot like Christmas in temperment, intelligence and affection. He loves his belly rubs most of all and will come up to me and flop down on his back for a rub. He especially loves the belly rub when he is sleepy, and will fall asleep while you rub his belly. When he's not sleepy though, he is very active and inquisitive. If you rub his belly while he is fully awake, expect your fingers to be gnawed upon, but not very hard.

Xena, well, she seems to be the epitome of a sled dog. Very active, not so endeared of being held or still long enough to be petted for any length of time. She is fairly independant, but she is also a good looker, striking markings (she has a white 'mowhawk' stripe down the back of her head and neck, and a mostly white face. She is the only true black and white puppy of the litter, the rest are mostly gray or dark gray and white) and strong personality (like her names' sake ;-). She is smaller than Mitu, but constantly challenging her dominance. She doesn't mind me holding her for a short period of time, but doesn't put up with being held by Jim or James. She may be the toughest puppy to place appropriately here in this land that has barely heard of sled dogs. She may end up on the team by default, we will have to see, as I would definitely not put her in a pet home at this time. We will have to keep an eye on her development.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ace chews/rests with her toy. That puppy is a happy little girl who amuses herself most of the time, or plays with the others. When she is sleepy though, she will grab the nearest toy and settle down with it, gnawing on it until she falls asleep.

It amazes me how nice both Samantha and Freya are to each other and each other's puppies during this time. I guess the pack mentality is really forming strong bonds, and I'm happy. Even Samantha's puppies are learning to take it easy on the younger Freya puppies. Christmas in particular has become a great playmate and cousin for Freya's pups, as she has learned to be gentle with them and generally plays well with them. She is allowed free reign in Freya's enclosure, and we only need to remind her once in a while that she is too big to suckle on Freya.

All of Samantha's pups have displayed keen intelligence, and I'm very happy with their development. They are all getting very well socialized with people, with their siblings and cousins. Freya's pups are just starting to show some personality and becoming socialized. They are still quite a bit behind Samantha's but it is amazing to me that the bigger pups are as big as Samantha's. Brownie is almost the size of Mitu, and almost as heavy! He's going to be a very big boy! Kind of odd that he is not shaping up to be dominant, that seems to be going to Face, the runt. Mitu is definately the alpha puppy in Samantha's litter, and never loses an opportunity to show the other puppies her dominance.

While Jim took James to college this morning, Samantha knocked the gate over and let all the pups loose in the house. He found six of them sleeping under the dining room table, but one was missing. In a panic he looked all over, but could not find Squeaker. He called me but I was on a conference call with customers and could not answer the phone. While he was on the phone, he noticed Demon out on the porch, laying at the front of his igloo with his face inward. Knowing this was very unusual for Demon, he went out to see what was up only to find a cold and shivering Squeaker (it was 11 degrees this morning) curled up next to him in his doghouse. Demon had corralled his daughter and kept her safe and warm in his house once she had managed to get out the dog door. What a good daddy! From now on, the dog door block goes in before Jim leaves the house.

Monday, December 14, 2009

December 14th War Zone!

Samantha's and Freya's pups are now settled in the kitchen. We've kept them separate simply because Samantha's pups are older, more coordinated, and, well, a little rougher on each other than Freya's pups. It took some time for Freya to realize her puppies were in the kitchen and not hiding under my bed... But, she finally got the idea by Sunday morning.

I'm so happy that Samantha and Freya have been getting along! I had fully expected them both to be overly protective of their pups and possibly get in to it over the young'uns, but they've been very social to each other and even going so far as to care for each other's pups. This has made me very happy and been a nice surprise for a change.

Sunday, I removed the barrier to clean the floor and lay down fresh papers and puppy pads (an on-going exercise only with mopping once a day), and both sets of pups were allowed to mingle. It was cute to watch them cautiously regard each other. I only had to break up two play matches when one of Samantha's pups got a bit rough on one of Freya's, but other than that, they had fun playing with eachother.

Took Moon and Squeaker for another outing Sunday. They had fun exploring, but even though it was 45 degrees (F), Moon still got cold after about fifteen minutes, so took them back in. Then I spent a couple of hours scooping the yard before changing out papers in the kitchen.

After cleaning the kitchen again, I took my son shopping for a few things for Christmas. We picked up some shrimp for dinner, and baclava for desert. James and I played a couple of rounds on the Wii, then I cleaned papers again and put up the barrier between the pups for the night. Unfortunately, I only ended up with about four hours of sleep, so will probably take a nap after running with Samantha and dinner.

Samantha has nearly ceased milk production, so her pups are almost fully on moistened puppy kibble mixed with puppy milk powder. Freya's pups are just beginning to eat moistened kibble with milk powder. Of course this causes a few difficulties for Freya, as Samantha's pups want to suckle from her, which we have been trying to keep them from doing while the barrier is not in place. Not always easy, but Freya appreciates it. The only issue Freya has is with Samantha's pups trying to eat her food. I've had to chastise her once for snapping at a pup, and she got the message, but I've kept the pups from her food while she is eating anyway. Certainly do not want any mishaps. Other than that it has been surprisingly peaceful.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

December 12th 28 paws x 4 nails +2 on some that still have dews on the front

Today was nail clipping day for Samantha's puppies. They all were good little pups. With them being so young, I generally use a human nail clipper that is very sharp so it won't pinch their nails. Being the smart person I am, I waited until they tired themselves out, and were sleeping for a good twenty minutes prior to waking them one at a time. Sleepy puppies are easier to clip than wiggly ones. Jim held each one while I stretched their toes and nipped off the curved nails a sliver after the pink quick. The puppies were then treated to a couple of strips of turkey lunchmeat for being good sports and settled back in to their favorite sleeping spots.

Freya's pups have joined Samantha's in the kitchen last night, only separated by a low fence so the bigger puppies don't pick on the younger ones. It took them about thirty minutes to settle in to the new digs, but once napped the puppies seemed to accept their new home. Freya though, took a lot more convincing and kept us up most of the night with her antics. Sigh.

The vet called us today and said they were kind of busy, but we really didn't need to bring the puppies in for another two weeks for their first shots. So we rescheduled for the Monday after Christmas.

Took a couple of the pups out yesterday evening. Squeaker had the time of her life, but Moon got cold rather quickly, so we took her back in and let Squeaker romp around for a bit. The boys were ecstatic to have a pup so eager to play with them, but Yukon got a little too boysterous for Squeaker, and I had to interfere before he got too rough. Squeaker loved it though and didn't yet realize the danger she might have been in. All in all, she had a great time for the thirty minutes of 27 degree F weather she endured.

Today was much warmer, 45 degrees, so I asked my son to take the pups out two at a time to see how they do. Unfortunately I had to work, but want the pups to get in outdoor time.

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11th Jailbreak! Again, only 3am this time.

So it's 3am and I hear a puppy screaming for mom, only one puppy. As the grogginess begins to clear I also hear the pattering of little feet, much closer than they should be. With a yawn, I pull on my robe, turn on the light, and venture out towards the kitchen. Moon meets me half way, overjoyed. Chuckling, I pick her up and proceed in to the den area where Christmas and Squeaker are wrestling. I scoop up Christmas, and head to the kitchen hoping Squeaker is following. The gate is pushed back away from the cabinet, allowing free passage to all who figure it out. Poor Xena hadn't quite noticed that her freedom was a mere waltz away and she was howling for Samantha. Dropping off Moon and Christmas, I give her an encouraging pat and turn to fix the gate. Moon is faster and had already ran into the dining room while I was petting and calming Xena down.
With a sigh, I put the gate across the entrance, and turn to round up five wayward puppies. Fortunately, they were busy following Samantha around, so they weren't very hard to find. By 3:30 I had them all back safely in the pen, fed and beginning to nap. So following suit only seemed natural until Freya's puppies started up a ruckus. Good thing I love the little dears....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

December 10th Jailbreak!

I just finished taking my shower and getting dressed this morning when I walked out in to the dining room and total chaos. Samantha had knocked the gate aside and we had six puppies running around on the carpet (#7 was sleeping peacefully). Luckily, they had all relieved themselves on the papers earlier, so there were no messes to clean up. But they were having the time of their lives exploring the new world. Demon was going from puppy to puppy to lick their faces, and Yukon sat by the door bewildered at the invasion before ducking out in to the safety of the falling snow. Samantha tried desperately to get away from the fanged and clawed mob that menaced her with threats of suckling. I found it rather humorous as I rounded up the pups and corralled them back in to the kitchen enclosure. The pups were not so amused and complained about being back in the boring kitchen. Even a bowl of moistened food did not pacify them, but eventually they calmed down and commenced to chewing on each other and the toys we have for their entertainment.

Seven puppies sure can make a mess fast, and thirteen in the kitchen is going to be a challenge. Time to fix up the barn with a heater and a doghouse or two for them to snuggle in to.

BTW the pic above is my favorite shot so far of Squeaker (being chewed on by Elvis). She is such a little doll! This shot really shows how beautiful she is as well as her great personality.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 9th Squeaker is the cutest thing

She has the greatest personality, and seems to be the most intelligent pup of the litter. Any time I step in to the kitchen she comes running for a petting with her little tail wagging like mad. She has quickly become my favorite with her soulful dark eyes.

She and Moon have mastered the art of escape already, and they can normally be found outside the kitchen barrier exploring the wide world of the living room and the oddly squishy but pleasing
carpet floor. Demon, their father, enjoys their presence and encourages their escapades by licking them over the barrier, then running like hell when they get out. Slowly he will come back if he figures he hasn't been blamed, and lick and try to play with the pups. He is a good daddy, if a bit mischievous. He is very gentle with them, but I don't let them stay out for too long. Carpet cleaning is a bit harder to scrub than linoleum.

Squeaker just makes my day though with her happy yip, bouncy gait, beautiful face and eyes, and gorgeous smoky coat. Her under-coat is black and the tips of her guard hairs are smoky gray. She is very pretty with her stripy forehead markings, and she loves to be held by grandma. She's not the biggest pup, but she makes up for it with intelligence and attitude. She loves the little tiger toy and the fuzzy squeaky toys, and usually can be found curled up with one of them when she's sleeping.

It will be incredibly hard to let any of these pups go. But my farm is only so big.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

December 8th Freya and Samantha puppies

So I've been slowly introducing Freya's puppies to Samantha's and I had a startling revelation. Four of Freya's puppies are ginormous! They are two weeks behind in development, yet they are the same size as Samantha's! I was amazed and shocked to see this, as I hadn't really thought my petit little Freya would produce super-sized Siberian Huskies. Yukon is a big boy for a Siberian, and built like a grayhound. He is key to my speed on the team, but I did not figure he had genes to produce even bigger prodgeny. We will have to monitor these pups closely to see just how big they will get. If they turn out anything like their father or mother, these pups will be dynamite incarnate. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 7th 2 Dog Run and ZOMG Snow!

Harnessed up Samantha, Demon and Yukon Sunday morning since Samantha was whining so pitifully when I put on Demon's and Yukon's harnesses. Since she is beginning to wean, I was going to take her for a short run to help get her back in to some conditioning. But even though I held back Yukon quite a bit, it was evident that she was not ready for his speed. After about a hundred yards, I stopped the team and unhooked her. She was so sad, but I didn't want her to get hurt or to frustrate Demon and Yukon too much. James came and walked her back to the house while I continued on with Yukon and Demon. We went about .75 of a mile since this was the first time back together as a team and with only two dogs out of the normal 4 I didn't want to stress them too much. Demon did fantastic, and was rather frustrated with Yukon wanting to chase squirrels. He has become a model sled dog since he was fixed! He is a real worker, and I think next time I will switch him in lead to see how he does. He has lost a little weight though, so I've gone back to feeding him moistened food and snacked both him and Yukon with some partially freezer burned hamburger patties. They both enjoyed that quite a bit.

The run, however, emphasized to me, just how out of shape I had become in the past month. Even though I've been out on the bike with Yukon, I haven't put any miles on the treadmill or running with the dogs, only walking. So, I've resolved to helping Samantha get back in to the swing of things by running with her every day after work. I was breathing very hard and sweating profusely despite the 25 degree temps after running up all the hills to help the two boys. Back to training for me... lol. After the run, I put up our christmas lights, and then went out shopping, spent waaayyy too much money, came back and put up the tree.

I also worked on reformatting the puppy video I took a week ago, but it seems too big to upload here. Maybe put it on youtube. If I do, I'll post the link.

This morning I woke up to a beautiful sight, SNOW! Though it is only supposed to be a dusting and probably melt by evening, it was beautiful!

Friday, December 4, 2009

December 4th Puppy Chew Toy

Spent a good half an hour with Samantha's pups this morning after feeding them. They come running to me when I sit on the floor and chew on me like their favorite toy. Their teeth are poking through the gums now and Samantha is not very enthusiastic about feeding them. It takes much persuasion to even get her to sit down inside the puppy enclosure which we have moved to the Kitchen to give them more room to romp and provide for easy floor cleanup.
Moon is a very happy puppy, and wags her tail any time I pet her. She plays a lot with the other puppies and doesn't seem to get roaring mean when the play doesn't go her way as some of the other puppies tend to do. She seems to be very people oriented like her mother, but happy and go-lucky like her father, the best of both I think. She also has the heavy build of her father and I think will make a great puller.
Most of the puppies have the heavy pulling build I really wanted out of Demon's line, so this has been a very successful litter in that respect. Only two of the pups seem to be dainty, and those are Squeaker and Xena. Those two, however, make up in looks and spunk. It is a toss up between Xena and Mitu as to who is the dominant puppy, and Squeaker, well, she's just real cute with her 3 white stripes on her forehead.
The male of the litter I've finally named Elvis, as he is getting fluffy like his father and looks to have the same black stand-out sideburns as he does. Elvis can get rather fussy and won't calm down until he's either picked up, or gets to suckle, but generally he's quite playful. He's not that fond of moistened puppy kibble, but will eat enough of it to satisfy his hunger if he's not able to get his fill from Samantha. The rest of the puppies will eat the kibble until full then play or fall asleep. They are so cute at this age! They will be 4 weeks old next wednesday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December 2nd New Morning Routine

So my new morning routine consists of waking up at 5am, feed Freya, give Freya her medicine, Pet the boys and have a morning howllo, pet Samantha, feed Samantha's puppies, keep Samantha from eating the puppies' food, reassure and pet the boys, give all the dogs a treat and a bone, check Freya's pups, clean any messes, check Samantha's pups, clean any messes, play with the puppies for a couple of minutes when they whine for 'grandma', make sure the boys are fed and watered, have coffee and breakfast, yawn, take a shower, get ready for work. All this takes about two hours.
Unfortunately the sun is just rising as I head off to work and has set and getting dark by the time I get home, so most of my training runs with the boys have been on the weekends. Samantha is at the point where any time I pick up a harness, she whines and dances excitedly, then watches sadly as I take the boys. She still has not entirely weaned her pups, and I do so want her to join us, but at this time, she is not ready. Another week and I might get her out with the bike for a few very short runs and gradually increase to get her back in to shape before joining the boys. We will have to see how the situation is with the pups and if she has decreased or ceased milk production.
Samantha's puppies are growing and becoming more and more steady on their feet. They devour a baking tin of food three times a day, play for a few minutes, then go to sleep. Most of them have the idea to get off the fluffy bed and on to the papers to do their business, but we still end up laundering the bed quite often. They are in a 'play' enclosure that is set on top of a tarp and what is not covered by the bed is covered by papers. Papers get changed out daily.
Freya's enclosure is similar, but her puppies still have their eyes closed and not yet walking on all fours or eating solid food. Freya is a good mom though, and still spends the majority of her time with her pups feeding and cleaning them. The pups are glad to be out of the whelping box and have room to stretch out to sleep. Happy puppies sleep more and are much quieter! I've only had to intervene when Freya accidentally sits or lays on one. She's good about it though and doesn't put her weight on them. She'll wait patiently for me to remove the puppy, or she will move depending on her mood. She got the last of her medicine this morning, and I'm glad to see her recovered. I would have been heartbroken if anything had happened to her. It will be some time before she leads my team again, but I'm glad that she will do so in the not too distant future.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Better pic of 'Face'

The all white face of "Face". He'll get a better name once his personality becomes more developed. He is a cutie and a sweet little guy who will sigh in contentment any time I pick him up.

December 1st Holiday Happiness is a Baker's Dozen!

The puppies are growing fast! This is the one that Jim has picked out to join our mushing team and has named Silver Moon. She is a very pretty light silver color that keeps getting lighter with age. She is the largest of the litter, and the most inquisitive. She also seems to have a very even temperment and doesn't seem to get flustered during puppy play with her siblings. Her eyes are a moderate blue which will probably lighten up to crystal like her parents.

Samantha is the mother and Demon is the father of these puppies.

Almost all of Samantha's puppies have a silvery tone to them and their markings are not very clear cut. Freya's on the other hand are all very purely Siberian Husky markings, very crisp clear black and white, red and white and silver and white markings. They are almost all very striking and could all be show potential depending on their movement and how they grow. The only exception being the runt of the litter may not be large enough to meet minimum requirements, but he is cute as a button and has the most striking markings of all. I like his personality too so far. For such a little guy he has a giant's perseverance and the temperment of a saint so far. I personally like the little guy a lot. He's the one in the top center of the puppy pic.

For those wondering, Freya had 6 puppies from an unplanned midnight rondezvous with her co-leader Yukon. We had wanted to wait another year for her to mature prior to this mating, but Freya had other plans. These are the two I did want to see matched, but not at so young an age for Freya. She is 14 months old, and we had wanted to wait for her to reach two and a half first. Regardless, though, she did very well with the pups being so young herself. She did, however, develop an infection from not pushing out the last of the afterbirth, but a quick visit to the vet and some puppy-safe anti-biotics ensured she recovered well. I did end up helping her clean the puppies and break the sacs, but she did cut all the cords and clean up. Consequently I believe the pups bonded partially to my scent. Sometimes they will whine and not sleep until I pick them up and hold them for up to ten minutes and then they are out like a light. Other times, I need to encourage Freya to clean them so they can relieve themselves before sleeping.
She is the main reason for a bit of an hiatus from the blog, mostly to care for her, her puppies and Samantha and her puppies and keep the peace in the household between the two girls. Fortunately there have been no scuffles, the two have been very civil to each other even though it is plain they both want to steal the other's puppies. They have been separate for the most part but I have allowed them to interact in neutral territory under strict supervision simply because of the mother instinct will cause them to react violently to anything they consider a threat to their puppies. But they have actually surprised me and been very nice to each other after the first couple of stand-offs and corrections of bad behaviors (snarls, low posture, ruffs up) and encouragements of good behaviors (sniffing, sitting, laying down, only glancing indifferently at each other, or even standing side by side happily waiting for treats).
Samantha will even let Freya sniff her pups and vice versa. Licking, however, is right out for now. Again, no confrontations, just posturing, but plainly communicated and listened to. Dogs will tell you a lot about what they will tolerate and what they won't if you listen with your eyes, ears and heart.

Samantha's puppies all have their eyes open and small milk teeth are starting to push through the gums. Consequently she doesn't want to feed them any more, and we have been supplimenting their diet with wet and watered down puppy food. They have flat out refused the bottle feeding, ah well. Some of the pups have even begun to demonstrate good hygene and move off their fluffy bed onto the papers to do their business. What good little puppies they are! We encourage their good behaviors as much as possible. I think they will make very fine and well adjusted dogs that will be pretty well trained by the time they are ready to find new homes.