Monday, April 25, 2011

Our First Specialty

My pretty, pretty Princess. She, my son and I had a great time in Cleveland, met some great folks, and saw some wonderful dogs.

She did very good up until the triangle. She got a little bit confused about going on the diagonal before going once around, and stared at me quizzically wondering what I wanted. With her head pointed at me, she crab-walked toward the judge. Ah well. She's still young, 17 months, so has plenty of time to get used to the weird things we do in the show ring. She did get many compliments, though, and that made her and me feel good.

More than a couple of mushing breeders complimented her running build and beautiful face, and it will be great when I can put her in the Sled Dog class. Maybe at the end of next racing season? The only problem is the requirement is on Snow. Not too much of that around here, and expensive to hit the races up north. C'mon lottery! heh...

Our drive back was dreary rainy weather, and this proved to be our undoing. When we pulled off on our state route to our home, we ran into a section of road that was under water. No biggie, we turned around and took the ridge line road, but it too had an even deeper run off. hmm back out and around the ridge roads and we found the resevoir land that had been fenced off with county signs of no entrance. So back around to the next road, and it too ended in a vast expanse of rushing water. By then we had started to get worried that all roads to our home might be flooded. Backtracking again, we headed further south towards Georgetown.

We made it back to our highway on the far south side, so turned north and headed towards the house. We came upon a stretch that was flooded, but I could tell it was shallow enough to pass through, so slowly I crept through the water to the other side and met someone coming the other way in a much lower car than our Expedition. I warned her that the road was flooded ahead, probably too deep for her car as it had been level with the hubs on ours. She told me the way ahead was flooded towards our home, but the mountain road was passable. So, we went on another round about tour only to find the road flooded again, backtrack, and one final try, only one more road to try that could possibly get us home. Thankfully it too only had a small amount of water on it that we were able to get through. The bridge to our house was barely keeping the floods at bay, with water slapping up against the side of it when we crossed and were finally able to pull in the drive. Whew!

It was quite an adventure, and it opened up many possibilities with finding the land that had been set aside for the resevoir. This coming weekend may be time for an exploration.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Aunty Moon and Uncle Buck

Freya's mission now is to socialize the puppies with the rest of the pack to remove her mothering responsibilities. Anytime she is left in the kitchen with the puppies, she breaks them out of their confinement, and lets the chaos ensue. Of course a couple of interesting things have come to our attention as a result of this new initiative.

Moony loves the puppies! She wants to have puppies so bad she is willing to take care of Freya's as if they were her own. Even up to and including licking up messes... ew... No licki-face for you!

She sooo loves the puppies though, its neat to watch her care for them.

Freya keeps watch, ensuring that everything goes as planned.

As surprising as Moony's love for the puppies was, Bucky surprised us even more. He's an even better nanny than Moon! Both of them hover over the puppies, guarding them, gently playing, and cleaning them.

Here River gives Bucky a puppy hug.

Huskies are not for you if....

He doesn't look a bit feline, but believe me, he is one big scaredy cat!

Which brings me to my humorous view of why you shouldn't own a husky.

If you don't think 65 pounds of husky on your face at 1:30am in a thunderstorm is fun, then huskies are not for you.

If you don't think dog hair is one of the five food groups, then huskies are not for you.

If you freak out at the sight of dead animals as food offerings, then huskies are not for you.

If you hate mud on the carpet, then huskies are not for you.

If you don't own a steam vac, then huskies are not for you.

If you have to wonder where that last grocery bag of meat went to, then huskies are not for you.

If you don't like being dragged or pulled around by your dog for an hour or more a day, then huskies are not for you.

If you are in to perfectly landscaped yards, then huskies are not for you.

If dog hair is not an accessory for your wardrobe, then huskies are not for you.

If teethmarks on furniture are not considered aged artisticly, then huskies are not for you.

If living with furry Houdinis makes you pull your hair out, then huskies are not for you.

If rough dog tongue to face, lips, and sometimes in your mouth if you open it seems gross, then huskies are not for you.

If howling in the evening and morning is noise and not music, then huskies are not for you.

If you don't join in said howling once in a while, then huskies are not for you.

If hearing a dog talk to you creeps you out, then huskies are not for you.

(I'll think of more later, but this is a good start. Feel free to add your own in comments.)

Monday, April 18, 2011

TP Bandit and Hiking Season

Bandit has learned that tearing up toilet paper rolls is fun! So we have had to hide the TP in places where he can't reach. As a large agile dog, this isn't easy to keep in reach for us. I am glad to say though, he hasn't had a seizure in 3 weeks. That being said, we had him in to be neutered on Friday, and when we got him home, he whined pitifully, obviously in pain, poor boy. I comforted him as much as possible, laying down next to him on the floor, holding and petting him. The shaved area looked very raw, so I put pain relieving ointment on him, and the cone so he wouldn't lick. He seemed to feel a little better after that and finally slept. Saturday morning he was again miserable, so I salved him up again and gave him his second pain med dose. After that, he wanted to play... go figure. But we had to keep him at low activity level, so he had to settle for a slow walk down to the bridge and back. He really enjoyed the walks on the long leash and now anytime I touch the long leash he gets excited. I've been working with him a lot and will work a lot more this spring and summer on commands, which usually consists of him in harness attached to me by tug and with a 6' leash to help guide when he's confused (which is very seldom). But he has been occasionally walked on the 30' lead. This is the first time it sunk in to him that the 30' lead means playtime, time to relax and just enjoy himself. It was fun to see. Sunday, the weather cleared up, and the hike my son and I had planned for Saturday began around 9am Sunday. We drove down to the dam with our snacks, drinks and packs, strapped on the dog pack to Zena who seemed not to care at all, in fact seemed happy to be on the trail with her 'dad' James. It was a beautiful day for a husky hike, starting out at around 37 degrees and warming up to close to 50 by the time we finished. Sun was shining and there was a brisk wind blowing. The dogs loved it, and we were having fun too. Runoff from the nearby hills makes for some beautiful pics. Along the route, we passed a lot of wildflowers, two rope swings, several benches, and stopped in a glen surrounded in mossy rock faces and shaded by large elms, oaks and maples. There was a fire ring and some benches, a great little place to water the dogs, give them snacks and eat our own snacks. There were several immensely old trees, many of them sicamores with their graceful white upper branches reaching for the sun.

We crossed a small wooden bridge on the way to the glen.

Ace had a blast.

James was in great spirits too, actually enjoying time away from his computer! gasp!

We passed some old barns on the way out and I photographed them on the way back, the ones that I could get a good shot of that is.

Since Zena carried the pack out to the glen, Ace carried it back.

Monday, April 11, 2011

An Interesting Weekend

Saturday we had a friend over to share a barbeque and socialize puppies. After catching up on news and talk, while I finished up cleaning the puppy enclosure and rearranging things so Freya could have a dog cave, we decided to watch Tron Legacy. It had just started to rain and about 10 minutes into the movie, lightning took out the power.

No biggie, we pulled out the hurricane lamps, and just talked and played with puppies. The power was out for over two hours, and I started up the grill. We pulled up chairs in the shed and out of the rain while I prepped the grill and cooked the steaks. We had a great time just chatting.

The power came back on just before the steaks were done and in time to cook and prepare the side dishes. So it worked out pretty good. We ate around the dining room table, and then sat down to watch the movie. We all had a great time.

Sunday I was out doing my chores in the dog yard when I heard some screaming and the roar of a big dog. It sounded as if someone was being attacked, so I dropped the bucket and scraper and ran to help. The screaming died down and did not sound like cries of pain, but my mind was already engaged. Stopping only long enough to pick up a hefty stick, I reoriented and continued on through briars, across barbed wire fences towards the sound calling out to see if the people were ok.

Just over 1/4 mile I came upon a couple of ladies that had been walking their dogs. They said they were ok but their dogs had jumped a deer and they had tried to get them to stop attacking it. The deer got away with some mauling by the dogs across the creek and was resting in a gully. They thought it might be a female birthing. From across the creek I could see it had antlers just budding in velvet, so knew it was more than likely not a birthing female.

I also saw there were patches of fur missing in what looked like older wounds as if it had been dragged on an abrasive surface, so I knew the deer had been wounded prior to the dogs attacking it. I surmised it was probably recovering from being hit by a car or truck and was either still suffering wounds or was sick from infection.

By then my husband came around in the car and he had brought his gun in case. I backtracked to the bridge so that I could get a closer look at the deer, but was unable to get really close before it jumped up and attempted to run from me. Watching it move it was obvious there were no visible broken bones in its legs, though its nose may have suffered some damage from the dogs. It was unable to climb the far bank, but kept trying. Not wanting to overly stress the deer out, I backed off hoping he would bed down again and recover enough to survive. His wounds did not look fatal, though the nose worried me. He may have problems eating. I didn't see him this morning, but will try to track him down tonight to see if he made it, and/or if he can eat. If not, it may be kinder to put him down.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The puppies were moved to the kitchen Saturday to give them more room to move around. It also makes it easier to keep their area sanitized for their health.

At the direction of our vet, the pups were given their first dose of de-wormer at two weeks. I really think this new protocol has made for some very pudgy and healthy puppies, or it could be just that Freya is providing far more milk for four than she was able to for six?

This morning I felt teeth when I spent a while in with the puppies gnawing on my fingers. Freya has become more restless and wanting to spend time away from them when they are sleeping now. So it will soon be time to start supplimenting her nursing with moistened food and puppy formula.

Sunday morning I took Bandit and Yukon for a 3 mile bikejor, much to their delight. It was 32 degrees, and they loved the chance to run. After getting back, they got their frozen meat patty, a rub down massage and each of their paws examined and rubbed.

While out on the trail, I watched carefully how Bandit and Yukon ran. While incredibly fast and strong, Bandit ran much like a cheetah, using his back as a coiled spring, while Yukon's back stayed relatively straight. When we got back, Yukon seemed more winded, although this could be simply that Yukon is four years old and Bandit is one and a half.

Sunday evening, just before I gave Bandit his medicine at 7pm, he was lying on the floor with his eyes dialated and heavily panting. Though he didn't go into a grand mal seizure, he exhibited some of the signs such as he didn't seem aware of his surroundings. He came out of it in less than twenty seconds with only a slight disorientation and then back to normal within five seconds. I immediately got him his medicine.

Monday morning, he did nearly the same thing at 7am, only he must have gone slightly into a seizure, though not fully grand mal. He only lost bladder control a little, but did not flail around. It lasted less than half a minute including the ictal phase. Both episodes were at the valley point of his meds, so this leads me to believe he is epileptic and not something that can be easily cured if at all. Though I logically knew he would probably need medication for the rest of his life, emotionally it finally sank in, and I knelt next to him and held him tight promising I would take care of him and wishing that I could make it all go away.

At least it seemed as if the medicine was helping control the seizures and it may simply need tweaking to prevent even the slight episodes. I've read where other dogs have been able to live full lives and be sled dogs, hiking dogs, and therapy dogs even through their epilepsy. So at least I know I can still allow him to run the dryland circuit and maybe eventually snow races that are one day heats as well. I know we will probably not be able to do any longer camping races with him, but I think he is happiest doing sprints anyway so he can really stretch out and run. In that way I know he will be happy, as he was born to run!