Thursday, December 19, 2013

Update on Velvet

She went to the vet for a checkup/followup yesterday (December 18th) and the vet was very surprised at how well and how much she has recovered.  She's definitely a strong little girl and it looks as if there won't be any permanent injury.  She won't need any drains and they gave us a few more pain pills, but I don't think she will need many more.  She is already chomping at the bit to get out and play, but we will be limiting her activity for another week.

I have been slowly integrating her back in to the pack, but there will never be a time when she is free-roaming with the three girls, only one at a time and only under direct supervision by me personally.  In the plans are to create another dog yard that she can roam freely in without the three girls she has issues with.

I believe I have a good picture of what may have happened now.  Zena and Velvet always play together, and sometimes it gets a bit rough.  Velvet had a bruised and cracked rib where there were no bite marks, so I believe she was tackled on the hill and may have fallen on the rib and cracked it.  Knowing she was hurt, she snapped at Zena to get her to stop playing, and that set off Moony and Ace.  It is the best and most reasonable explanation, but a reminder that things happen that we can't always control and won't always be there for.  The best we can do is minimize the risk.


At a time like this I find myself wondering what I'm doing and second guessing my choices in life.  All has gone pretty well for the last 6 or so months, and Velvet has been playing well and fitting in with the pack... until Wednesday (December 11).  At the end of my workday I got a frantic call that Velvet had been in a fight with three of the girls (Ace, Moony and Zena) and had been hiding under the table as soon as the other dogs were pulled off her.  It is still a mystery what triggered the attack since they had been getting along so well. 

I raced home as quickly as I could, and found a very torn up girl in great pain.  We rushed her to the emergency clinic and thank goodness got her there in time to save her life.  She stayed there Wednesday night and we took her to our regular vet on Thursday.  She stayed there last night and is still under observation today.  Poor little girl, all she wants is to be loved and to play.  It will be a long hard road for her recovery, but I'm glad she is expected to pull through without permanent disability physically.  She seemed in good spirits when I visited her last night and laid down beside her on the floor of the clinic for a half an hour.  (Thanks again for allowing and indulging me in this, as I felt it very important for her mental well being to know that she was not abandoned and that she is still loved very much.)

I'm hopeful for her future, but this makes me realize that even though we've trained the dogs to get along and generally they do, we can never let down our guard again.  The pack will need to be divided between those we know will never conflict with Velvet, and those that we know have underlying issues with her.  I'm reminded of some advice from a musher I respect very much.  Racing dog pack dynamics change drastically when there are more than 10 dogs. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dog Show

Ghost strut his stuff over the course of 5 days.  Two points more towards his championship.  Once I'm able to gather up all the correct info and names I'll list up the great pups I got to see this weekend along with the awesome people and fun times.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Whoever Said Dogs don't Lie?

That person does not know Samantha...
Sure, she looks innocent here, but you don't know her like I do.

Imagine you're one of the other dogs happily chewing away on a rawhide square.  Pack-mom has gifted you with this lovely treat and smiled as you pranced around with it in your mouth to find the perfect place to gnaw on this slightly flavored piece of cowhide.  All the other dogs have their chewy and life is good as you savor the bits as they become slimy and slide down your throat like liver.  Suddenly the Alpha queen Samantha shows up, and she's so full of play!  It is such an honor to be played with by the Alpha queen!  You are so happy she's chosen you to play with, she almost never plays!  You get up to echo her play bow and Blam!  She's stolen your treat turned her tail towards you, and laid down in your space eating your chewy!

Yup, and that's not her only lying thieving trick.  When I work late, I usually have my husband give the dogs their evening frozen fish snack and all the dogs are happy until I get home.  They all greet me with excited wags and woos and lots of kisses except Samantha, she immediately starts yelling at me with her 'Super Bark'.  Believe me when I say it is a Super Bark and has been known to shake the foundations of the earth!  She tells me,  "I have been waiting forever for my fish!  How dare you be late with my evening snack!  Dad starves me and abuses me by not giving me my fish!  Where is my fish!?"  This is incessant until it is quite plain she is not getting another fish, then she 'harrumphs' and lays on the couch.

Oh and then there is the ice cream.  Occasionally the dogs get to share some ice cream with us.  Samantha will wait patiently for her portion, then sneak in behind the dogs around James and tell him she hasn't had any yet.  She will then immediately sneak back to me and swear up and down she didn't get any from James and it's her turn for another spoonful.

Oh yes, dogs lie, cheat and steal, and Samantha is proof of that.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sustainable Living

This is one of the things that has kept us busy.  We have been busy trying to make our farm self sufficient.  These little chickies are egg-laying Rhode-Island Reds, 12 of them which we have been raising since they were fluffy yellow chicks with only a few wing feathers.  As you can see, they are nearing adulthood and will soon be of egg-laying age.
This is the beginning of our rabbitry.  My husband has named this one Snowflake.  Plans are to get two more males and at least one more female all from different bloodlines.

We've also been working on the raised bed garden.
Also been busy planting berry bushes and trees

As you can see, the plants are doing well and it looks like we will have a great harvest this year.

We have had some setbacks.  All the little fruits in the following pic were eaten by birds. :(

We've deployed resin owls, and if that doesn't work, we will probably put up bird nets.  Hopefully our pears will survive.

We've also been growing veggies in containers.
These and taking our boy Ghost to shows has kept us pretty busy.

Friday, May 3, 2013

It's been a while

Sorry for the lapse, but so much has been happening so quickly.  We have gone from being just a kennel, to a hobby farm, leading eventually to a full fledged farm we hope.  Ghost has been strutting his stuff in the arena, and man is he a handsome boy!
He hasn't won as much as I'd hoped, probably because he is right at the top of the standard, and a lot of judges appear not to want to put him up, let alone wicket him (he passed the wicket in Indiana).  Ah well, at least with his size he should have no trouble keeping up with the other dogs in harness. 

We now have 12 pullets that are fast becoming chickens, and this weekend I'll be constructing a hen house for them shadow-box style.  I'll put up pics once completed.

We also have one New Zealand White rabbit with plans on getting 3 more to start, but I need to finish the rabbit barn so that we have a cozy place to keep them where it will be easy to clean.

Add to these, I've planted quite a few berry bushes and trees in my orchard, and have planted several rose hedges out front of the dog yard on the side of the house mainly to discourage approaching our dog yard from the road.  Too many crazy people driving around like maniacs all night, and stopping near our house have made me nervous for their safety.  Along the road, I've planted alternating Blue Spruce and Rose of Sharon trees to make a sort of living fence/privacy screen once they've grown.  Siberian Elms will help keep intruders out of my sideyard that have apparently decided it is okay to have campfires on my land.  Surveillance cameras, floodlights and shotguns have been deployed to keep my property and dogs safe.

The raised bed garden is going splendidly, and peas, lettuce of all varieties, sunflowers, beans and other cool weather plants are growing phenomenally.  Very soon it will be time to harvest them and plant the summer crop.  We intend to can, dry and preserve as much as possible and have been stocking up on canning supplies.

Ace was just at the vet to be neutered.  Her continued 'silent' heats and odd heat behaviors have been worrying me greatly, so I decided it was better safe than sorry.  We really don't have the facilities for more dogs, and don't want any puppies, let alone worries about Pyometra.  When we are ready to replace some of our aging team members, we will think about getting another intact female.  Poor Ace, she was so distraught, but brightened up some when Jim came to get her. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Truck Troubles and Always Something

Again it looks like our racing season will be cut short this year. This time, my trusty and dependable truck has decided to not be so trusty or dependable, so it is time to find a replacement. Adding to our worries, Velvet appeared to have a bout of some nasty sickness over the weekend (canine flu?) where she had diarrhea and vomiting, but a couple of doses of Parvaid and Vibactra seemed to straighten her out over-night. She is now back to her fun loving energetic self.

I love this remedy, and with my herbal knowledge will attempt to duplicate the results so I don't have to pay over a hundred dollars for about $.50 worth of tinctures. I could very likely improve it as well, but it will have to be very cautiously done.

I did get Freya and Yukon out on the sled on the little bit of snow we had.  It was quite fun, though the snow was a bit wet and sticky to go very far.  Unfortunately we had a warm weather swath come through, and now all the snow is gone again.  This bodes ill for the growing season again.  I fear worse droughts are on the horizon, so am trying to gear up our sustainable agriculture this year as much as possible.  We plan on getting some breeding rabbits to help feed the dogs and ourselves as well as an aquaponics system to grow vegetables, tilapia, and possibly red-claw or other crawfish (by necessity this means investing in a greenhouse with a woodstove heater/possibly gassifier as well).  So this coming year will be a lot of investment on our sustainability for our farm.

I also hope that our orchard will finally start producing.  This should be the first year of our fruit crop.  With the trees growing on the lowland next to the creek, I'm hoping that even in drought their roots will find the water table and survive.  If they start to look a little dry, I'll be employing a pump and hose to get water to them from the creek.  At least behind our house, there is a tiny spring that feeds into the creek, so though it has gone very low at times, there has always been water there.

Next month, since we are probably not going to be able to make races, I will be taking Ghost to the show ring.  He has been doing fairly well in his classes, and I'm starting to get back in to the groove.  Hopefully together, we will come together as a good team and he will get the points he needs for his championship.  He is such a gorgeous guy!