Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Music City Challenge

I love this little guy! He's so loving, intelligent and personable. In harness, he's a wildman, howling, jumping and pulling on the gangline to get going!

Friday before we left, I was sitting on the couch and asked Jim. "Do you have everything packed and ready to go?"

Jim responded, "Yup, got everything I need, got the extra ganglines, and stuff."

Just then Bucky walked over to me for some lovins, which I gave him and asked him in all seriousness. "Bucky? Do you have everything packed and ready to go?" He circled around, danced a bit, jumped up beside me, leaned into me putting his paw around me, looked into my eyes and said "Wooo-roo-row!" I love him! He's so silly!

Jim made a dog-net to keep the dogs from crawling up in the cockpit of the truck and getting out the doors when we stopped, and he slid it behind the two front seats and anchored it to the passenger handles. I loaded up all our stuff, then got the dogs, Yukon, Freya, Bandit and Bucky and gave them the command to get in. Princess began to howl like a banshee, just then starting to realize she was being left behind. The first time I had gone on a trip without her. She was heartbroken, and I hated leaving her, but there were too many reasons not to take her since Freya was going. About 10 minutes down the road I asked Jim if he remembered the hot dogs and meat snacks... nope... sigh.

It was a long and thankfully uneventful trip, and we arrived around 4pm local time. I walked the dogs in the small grassy area, disappointed that Bucky again seemed too excited to relieve himself while on a short leash. I hope this does not lead to future medical difficulties. So after unloading the stuff we need for the night, I took him out on the long orange 30' leash (at least I remembered to bring it this time). To my relief and obviously his, Bucky peed after wandering around to find just the right spot. How he manages to hold it for greater than 12 hours is beyond me.

I walked each of the dogs on the long leash, they enjoy it immensely as it allows them to run around and sniff more things without having to drag me along. With them all settled, we debated what to eat for dinner, and ended up ording chinese delivery. Kung Pao chicken went down real well and by the time we were done more of our fellow mushers were pulling in.

It was great to meet up and greet folks we are beginning to know and love, and the conversation about dogs doesn't seem awkward. We all share a great passion for their intelligence, loyalty and personalities, and like doting parents, never tire of the stories of their follies. Then there are always the "No Shit! There I was!" tales that keep us entertained for hours. It is a bonding that only comes with understanding and shared passion.

Being a couple of old farts, Jim and I turned in around 9pm local time, and Freya jumped on the bed with me and would not be moved. She spent the night curled up beside me, and I sensed her need to feel protected. It was a primal thing and I knew at that moment, there was no doubt that the mishap that allowed her to tie with Yukon had produced offspring. Female dogs if they are bonded with their owners get very clingy in the onset and even more clingy in the progression of their pregnancy. It is instinctual for them to seek protection in their vulnerability.

I had suspected she would be pregnant from the tie, but the behavior is the clincher before she begins to show. So the same pairing that produced Bandit, Bucky, Silver, Flakes (Mordechai), Kirby (our siberian poodle), and Face (Cole) is destined for another set of amazing dogs in the middle of March. We haven't yet finished our rennovations, but this will definitely speed up the urgency. For those who have seen what an amazing dog Bandit turned out to be, and what a wild man runner Bucky is, if you are interested in a pup from the same pairing, let me know. Both parents are AKC and I plan on getting both CERF scored next month at the Louisville show (providing the vet that scores will be there this year).

Fortunately for us, nothing ever came of Princess and Bandit's little rondezvous since it was a week after she was out of standing heat. It still strikes me as odd they even formed a tie at that time. Guess love was in the air... Princess still thinks she's married to Bandit, and yesterday I found her sleeping with him with her head possessively across his belly. If he sniffs at Ace, she pushes between them, just as if they were married. It is rather amusing. Ace still has not gone in to heat, but we are keeping an eye on her. If she hasn't by her second birthday, we will have the vet examine her carefully to see if there may be other reasons for her being sterile that may cause health problems later in life. So far she is healthy, happy, and oddly flirty with Bandit all the time. Whether this is to make Princess jealous or some other reason, I just don't know.

Freya informed me at 1am that she had to go out, so I threw on my dog clothes and walked her. I then walked Yukon, Bandit, then Bucky, and went back to bed. At 5:30 local time, Yukon told me in no uncertain terms that I had slept long enough! He pushed me in the back with his cold nose, trying to lift me up off the bed. His efforts were joined by Freya's barritone wooo, then Yukon scolded me for sleeping in.

"Yoh-yow-waow woo!"
"Wooo-ah-woo-woo!" Freya responded her agreement.
"Awooowoo wooo!" Bucky chimed in.
"Ohwoah-woah!" Came Bandit's bass reply.
"Shhhhssshhh!! you'll wake the neighbors!" But they were having none of my backtalk. So I quieted them by taking Freya and Yukon out together as soon as I was able to grab a sweatshirt, pants and boots.

As soon as they did their business, and I cleaned up the solid bits, I rushed them back to the room and took out Bandit and Bucky together. Bucky as usual was to excited to pee on the short leash... sigh. When I got back, Jim went down to get me coffee and a roll, and he met with Alice and her parents. When he came back to the room he brought with him some yummy blueberry rolls that Alice's mother had brought. Thank you, they were awesome!

We then went to the park (stopping for gas and breakfast for Jim since he's diabetic). The weather was warming up, and I was getting a bit worried it would be too nice (read warm) for the dogs. The sun was bright and there was a slight breeze blowing, promising an early spring day.
(to be continued)

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