Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Back to School

Princess and I are back in showmanship classes, preparing for the spring and summer show season. Our first show this year will be the Siberian Specialty in Cleveland in April. Keeping to one show a month, the next will be Kingsport Tennessee in May. She so loves the attention!

I've also decided to go for my AKC certs to show Siberians, and may do that for other folks on weekends I'm not showing Princess. We'll have to see how that pans out. I'll be talking to some other professional handlers to see how they normally operate.

Princess is sleeping in her crate, as Freya was whelping pups and she just had to be in the room with me. One more week and she'll be out of heat, and our home will return to a slight semblance of peace if not normality. With 4 pups just opening their eyes and beginning to walk unsteadily on all fours, it will be anything but normal. I'll probably be moving them to the kitchen by the end of the week.

They are growing so fast! This litter seems to be growing even faster than the last one. They are already developing distinct personalities, and I can tell at least two of them are going to be a bit headstrong. It will be interesting to see which becomes dominant.

Bandit has been doing well, and even though the meds have not had enough time to build up to a theraputic level in his bloodstream, he has not had a seizure since Monday morning. It is still a bit early to get our hopes up though. I think we are fortunate that our pack is so well adjusted and taught non-aggression. None of the dogs have been aggressive towards him when he's gone into seizure, in fact just the opposite, they were trying to lick him even though I had to shoo them away. Reading about other people's seizure dogs, I think we've been very fortunate in this respect. It could have been very terrible otherwise.

The only side effect so far has been that Bandit has gone into libido overdrive. With two girls in heat (Ace finally went in to full heat at 16 months, which is a relief to us that she was simply a late bloomer), he has become nearly frenzied in his attempts to mate them. Fortunately the new door-gate has stood up to his 70 lbs of muscle and determination. Yay for rennovations. He's normally such a good boy, very gentle and loving. He still is, but his mating frenzy is rough on all of us. He's not so bad when I'm in the room with him, but I can't stay there all day, and he has to go out as well.

Change-over from girls to boys confinement is a challenge as he attempts to grab and mount (no more courtship for him!) as soon as a girl is in reach. Poor Ace had to be rescued from his grip twice. He's a big boy and very determined. Good thing I'm more hard headed and twice as big as he is. In a couple more weeks we will take him to the vet to have his pb level checked, and I'll ask them about detox herbs that others have used to help keep the liver and kidneys from toxic buildup from pb.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rough Weeks.

It has been a rough two weeks caring for newborn pups, two girls in heat and if that wasn't difficult enough, Bandit has had three more seizures over the weekend. I thought we had this nipped in the bud, but apparently we were wrong.

My beautiful marvelous leader dog in training. It is heartbreaking to have so much hope and promise in a dog and then have your dreams blasted from the water. This will mean we will need to have him neutered as we submit him to a battery of tests that is sure to be traumatic for him as he is still kind of shy even though he is a very gentle giant of a Siberian.

I can't help thinking if there was something I could have done differently while raising him to prevent this. Only time and a diagnosis will tell us that. His brother Bucky seems uneffected by whatever malady ails Bandit. But he was born monorchid which makes me question the whole line.

One thing is for sure, there will be no more litters until we know for sure. Jim spoke again to our vet and when they did a full blood workup on him there were no signs of disease, thyroid imbalance or other known identifiable cause by bloodwork, so by the research I've been able to do so far, we are left with bone spur, tumor, or genetic disorder. We will probably be putting him on meds this week to control his seizures, and proceed with diagnostics as time and money permits. I have found a seizure research group for dogs, and since we own both parents and a sibling still, we may submit DNA samples to further their research. So even if we aren't able to cure him, at least we can help the larger community.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Once again, Freya has delivered some very stunningly marked puppies on March 16th. There are 2 dark gray, black and white, one black and white, and one red and white, all females. I guess on the even years she has boys and the odd years girls?

In honor of John Baker's incredible and historic win of the 2011 Iditarod, Jim wanted to name them after dogs on John Baker's team. He only found 3 he liked though, so we came up with a fourth name. The one in the pic to the left is Kona.



Sahara (non Baker name)

Two of this litter are spoken for and all will be conformation evaluated at 6 weeks. All have had dew claw removal and worm preventative administered to Freya under vet direction (new procedure :). This will prevent any worm transfer from mother to pup, and the pups themselves get their first deworming dose on the 30th of this month.

Sunday night sometime around 1am, Princess whined and kicked up a fuss, waking me from a dead sleep. She normally sleeps through the night and doesn't want out, but I figured since we have gone to an odd schedule of cat napping she had to go. So, getting up and getting dressed, I prepared to take her out for a short walk when I noticed Kona had somehow gotten out of the whelping bed and was sound asleep on the carpet. I picked her up and put her back beside Freya and Princess immediately went back to sleep.

The puppies, though were still fussing, yipping and yowling as my sleepy brain was processing the information. It occurred to me that Kona seemed awful comfortable all stretched out on the carpet, but was not at all pleased having to try to curl up next to Freya or her siblings.

So I got back up, went to the shed and got a clean tarp, cleaned a space on the floor to spread it out, moved the old pillow and two puppies on to it to get Freya to move, then moved the fluffy bed with the other two puppies still on it. I then re-did the fence to surround the new area. The puppies and Freya slept soundly the rest of the night. Too bad that was only two hours for me.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Freya is big, with 4 big puppies, she is uncomfortable most of the time, and needs to relieve herself every hour and a half to two hours. Her temp has gone down to 98.8, but she has not yet started labor. Every once in a while she'll go hide under the porch instead of come back in after going potty in the back yard. So we have to go get her in so she doesn't whelp in the dirt.

If that isn't enough to worry about, while I was checking the leaderboard on the Iditarod site, I heard a commotion in the bathroom, and saw Bandit move in an odd way out of the corner of my eye. Thinking Yukon and Bandit might have gotten in to a tussel, I yelled "Stop!" before focusing my full attention on what was going on. Immediately my heart leaped into my throat as I realized what was happening! Bandit had gone into a full on seizure and must have tumbled into Yukon who growled his displeasure then ran out!

His back arched, his neck straining back and flailing, and his legs stiff and flailing, I feared the worst! It was so sudden! I wondered if he were dying in my arms as I cradled and held him down so that he wouldn't hurt himself. I spoke to him softly "I got you, you're a good boy. I'm here." Over and over I repeated that mantra as I held him.

It was over as suddenly as it began and Bandit stared up at me with wide frightened blue eyes. I held him to me, petting him and telling him he was a good dog and it was okay now. Eventually he caught his breath and began to relax and realize whatever had just happened was over. Just as quickly as that, he got up, ran outside to pee, and started playing with Bucky. I kept a close eye on him the rest of the day, checking up on him every 15-20 mins. At night, I checked him every time Freya needed to go out.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Freya's Prenatal

And the word is 4 big puppies. Hope she has no trouble delivering them. Her 63 days is due on March 17.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

First False Alarm

I love this girl so much! She has been the cornerstone of my dreams. Little did I know that when I was rescuing her from a terrible puppyhood, that she would rescue me from my lost hopes and visions of a bleak future. She rebuilt my dreams and gave me hope. Freya gave me my dreams back, and spawned a whole new vision of the future. Not only is she very intelligent, she has also taught me a lot about what I know and didn't know about dogs, how they think, and why they do what they do. As a thirty-plus year dog owner, I had thought I knew most all there was to know about dogs. Freya taught me I still had a lot to learn.

But she is a dog with doggy wants and doggy needs (things we as humans need to keep in mind, as they are not the same as our wants and needs), and she is very pregnant. Tomorrow she goes in for an x-ray to see how many puppies she is probably going to have. I believe this is a good practice for any bred dog, as it gives you a close approximation of how many puppies she has in her. That way you know that if she hasn't given birth to them all and has been over two hours since the last, there could be something wrong and if you don't know what, she needs to go to the clinic ASAP. This could save the dog and puppies their lives.

Last night, though, she started panting heavily for no apparent reason, which usually means she's had a contraction, and has started labor (at least for other dogs I've had). I checked her over carefully, but she did not show any signs of lactating, contractions or dialating, just heavy panting. I laid on the floor next to her for some time, simply petting and reassuring her. She was stressing, but soon began to relax. I remember the first litter she had, and remember she had exhibited some very odd behaviors then too. She is so needy of attention during this time, totally dependant and completely vulnerable. I simply hugged and petted her for nearly an hour, laying on the floor next to her. She slept deeply and soundly after that and woke up much more playful and energetic this morning.

Sometimes dogs just need a hug too.

Monday, March 7, 2011

It has begun!

Iditarod had its cerimonial start Saturday and the real race began Sunday. So, I'm keeping tuned to the race, watching the blogs of other mushers and enthusiasts.

Everyone has a different take on the race, and the insights of veterans of the trail are always welcome. Once again, my thoughts and dreams wander the trails I hope someday to see firsthand. Not that I'm overly interested in racing in the Iditarod, I am thoroughly fascinated with the wilderness of Alaska, and someday would love to travel the Iditarod trail in a more liesurely exploratory fashion. A race would not allow me to see and enjoy the scenery like I would want to.

Of course, here there was rain. Lots of it. Just short of flood stage, but still a lot of rain. Rain here means mud. The yard has not stood up well to 6 yearlings and five adults through the winter. There are three layers of straw out there, and still the mud is overwhelming. We have washable rugs laid out to catch most of the wet mud, but the pups still find ways to leave their paw prints on my carpet, my chair, my pants, my coat, and most puzzling of all, on the sheets of my bed (that was made and a cover over the pillows!) Has anyone else had huskies mysteriously leave pawprints in astonnishing places?

I think they secretively plot on what they are going to do next to confound my senses.

The puppy kennel is up, though I need to cement in the bottom to puppy proof it. I have it up on the lee side of the house (Southeast to catch sun in the morning and shade from noon on) The wind invariably drives in from the west, and on the east side the hill shelters from any stray eastern winds. Once we've found homes for this litter, we will probably use the kennel for fosters or as an isolation kennel should one of the dogs get sick. Though we have a pen already, it is inside the main yard. This new kennel is outside the main yard, and could, if needed, be moved away from the fence so that no contact could be made between dogs in the yard and dogs in the kennel.

We took a look at dog houses and will probably pick up a long-entrance medium igloo. Just the right size for Freya and some pups. The area is roughly 200+ sq ft and shaped like a pentagon. It is easily accessed from the front door, and meant to be easily supervised. The puppies will probably spend a lot of the warm spring days in the kennel as weather permits, and be indoors at night. Should make for very easy housetraining.

With this litter, I plan on taking 3-4 of them to the local community park for socializing on the weekends. We have a few improvements both in the house and the vehicles to help with keeping and transporting puppies and dogs. Our kennel is starting to come together, and as we continue to make improvements, I can see we are better and better prepared for the life we have chosen.