Monday, August 28, 2006

Squeaky ball play-by-play

Harris grabs the ball and runs from the monster-sisters who will tear his head off to get that green fuzzy prize. I like how their personalities come out in the game of fetch: Lucy grabs it purely for the fun of it, just looking for a good time, taunting the others to chase her and flipping it in the air with wild abandon! George grabs it then gets bored and drops it in 2.5 seconds as she has now gone over 2.5 seconds without tormenting Jack andor Harris. Gracie wants complete control of everything and everyone(every dog too) so she tries desperately to hide it the second she nabs it. Brat.

Luckily Harris is speedy and usually gets to the ball before the 3 sisters. Him and Jack just run as fast as they can and "accidentally" knock the sisters out of their way.

But they're no dummies - they have their own tactics. Note the cherry-picking!!

That's George and Lucy wayyyyy out in front where they just know I'm about to huck the ball. They need a bit of a head start, but not the whole freakin' yard!

Oh yeah - haha, I had two balls there. That is my "tormenting-the-dogs" technique. Ya gotta keep things interesting I always say. Throwing both balls at the same time and watching them try and decide which way to go, bouncing off of each other when two balls fall in different directions... ahhhh, good times!

Till the moron-human hucks the ball straight into the trees.

And then decides the SMART thing to do would be to throw rocks(??) into the tree to get it down. FYI - not a good idea. They eventually come back down endangering dog and human heads.

I like Jack's expression. Mine was probably exactly the same as we stood staring up the tree... stunned, waiting for it to fall down through some divine intervention. Well, the ball is still in the tree. I guess I'll get it down when I'm desperate for the last squeaky ball!

"Doh! Where'd the ball go!?!"

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A new visitor!

So... I came home from work the other night to some wacky, freaky, VERY excited dogs. I immediately knew something was up as they barked and yipped and ran from the gate to the fence, back to the gate again. Something was going on, that was for sure. So I hesitantly went to look at the far end of the main dog pen, not knowing what the heck I'd find back there. After all, this pen was home to the "3 monsters" (Gracie, Lucy, George) and they have been known to show no mercy on mice, squirrels, and sometimes each other. I had left these guys loose in the pen this day and although it's been very secure for them for a few years in terms of them not escaping - anything that gets IN probably won't get out. I've come home to more dead birds than I can count. George even ate a raven one day!! Then puked it up later that night. How a dog nabs a raven, I have no idea...

But I digress. So I walked to the back of the pen slowly, hoping what I found wouldn't be too traumatizing.

I went directly to the spot the dogs were running to and looked around to the outside of the fencing. And I saw nothing at all. I couldn't figure out what the heck the big deal was, yet they were still excited and bouncing off of me, each other, the fence - something was clearly going on. Then I noticed the dogs looking up. UP the tree I was standing underneath.

So I looked up too.

And I believe what came out of my mouth when I saw what was up the tree was something along the lines of "Holy $*&^!!!" when I saw a BLACK BEAR directly above my head!

I was standing directly under that spruce tree which just so happened to conveniently lean right over top of the dog pen!

The bear was panting away and visibly freaked out. I herded all the dogs out of the pen immediately and shoved them inside the cabin. The other group of dogs was in their pen further away from this guy, behind double-fencing.

Most of my pics turned out blurry, and the little bugger was hidden really well amongst the leaves. This was the best of his/her face.

So after locking the dogs in the cabin, I ran out into the pen with my camera. How bad is it, that the grabbing camera was the first thing that ran through my mind?!?! Ok, second after getting the dogs out. Camera - second. My own safety... a distant third.

Here you can see the poor-mans(womans) version of a doggie jungle-gym. A few pallets slapped against trees and a few pieces of plywood and that's it. But they do love it. I ran to the one on the right, part of it in view here and stood on it to snap pics. It's about 5 feet off the ground and the bear was in the spruce tree right in the middle of the pic.

As I was snapping photos from there, the thought of the bear coming down crossed my mind. Now, I thought, do bears climb right down to the very bottom of the tree? Or do they climb partway down, then jump the rest? See, this was a crucial point, since if this bear decided to jump from say 8-10 feet up, the possibility of him jumping IN the pen with me was a possibility. Being stuck in a fenced-in dog pen with a black bear might not be a good thing.

So this is after I take my own safety into account - note the fencing.

I don't know what's up with this shot - but thought it was cool. Kinda like some acid-induced bear-in-a-tree hallucination!

After an hour or so, I was really wondering if this guy was ever going to come down. So, I started calling the neighbours. Who doesn't want to come see the resident bear-in-a-tree?

This is when my closest neighbour told me my dogs were crazy for most of the afternoon. Which means the bear was hanging around for a while, or he's been up that tree for HOURS.

I also noticed some funny little berry-type things on Gracie and George. They were red. And tiny. And sticky. I wondered how the heck they got berries stuck to them? Then I noticed the bear had CRAPPED and it was all down the tree, the fence and on the ground. I think I can officially say, this is the first time my dogs got crapped on by a bear! (poor Gracie, she's also been vomited on by a human - but that's a whole other story...)

Here is a branch that took the brunt of the poop

Bear poop! (note how he hit the fence too)

So. Almost three hours later, my new furry friend decides to sneak down the tree and leave our lovely neighborhood. Again, a blurry Sasquatch-looking pic, but he slowly made his way down. Very slowly. And quietly. The other dogs had noticed him by now and were barking a bit, but he kept his eyes on them the whole way down the tree. And he climbed down right to the ground, on the outside of the fence! Whew!

He slowly got on all fours, turned around and bolted through the trees!!

It's so weird that he even got this close to the dogs. I have no idea how it all happened, but would have loved to have seen it all transpire. Now, the 3 monsters are walking around with a new cockiness and attitude. Oh lord, help us all. Don't mess with the huskies that can tree a bear!!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Live Bikejoring Action! (keep your barfbag closeby...)

"Hey Everybody! Check out the bikejoring videos!! I sent Stacie out with Ripper/Loki in the first one, then Jack/Harris in video 2. I stayed home and kept things in order with the other PUNKS while they were gone... thank goodness she has me eh?!?!"

Monday, August 14, 2006

Bikejoring around the neighborhood...

Got the pooches out on several bikejor sessions this weekend. It's always entertaining after they haven't been out in front of the bike for awhile. And by "entertaining", I mean painful (for me, of course - bike seat repeatedly smashing into my butt), and/or frustrating (dogs going, "huh? what's up with the 2-wheeled thingy?").

That was precisely Ivy's reaction as I hooked her and Sage up. She was a wee bit confused, and Sage is just happy and goofy - so the both of them wrapped themselves around me and the bike a few times, making me put on some gymnastic moves to get out of the mess of lines.

It took a few moments of confusion down the driveway, with me practically running them over before the "AHA!" moment. They got it eventually. That's my pups.

I love how I captured Sage being (as Sue calls it) a little punk! He has a tendency to get excited and leans over to the other dog, ever-so-gently taking their head in his mouth. This is him doing exactly that to Ivy, who is not thrilled with his mouth coming at her head once again. She is trying to move over and get out of the goofballs way. He was pretty good though, he only did it at the very beginning - then after the dunk in the water. There's something about water that is like catnip for dogs. Makes them kooky and spinny.

Jack and Harris and I went out for a run as well. And just for Sue - I did get some video of this run as well as a run with Ripper/Loki. However, it might cause some nausea, and it looks like something that was filmed out of the Blair Witch Project, but I'll try to post it soon (from someone else's high speed connection!). I'll warn you now, that the footage of the run while the camera was hanging out of my mouth (both hands were needed due to a braking malfunction) is going to be Oscar worthy. That or you'll all be tossing up your cookies.

So these two did great as usual. Ok, except for hookup and Harris' uncanny ability to get tangled. This is quite a feat considering there is no neckline, and they each have plenty of room to maneuver with one tugline each. But I love that tangly little gangly guy.

So, we stopped by Isabelle's for a bit. These guys were rather curious about the cat in the window.

Harris checking the cat out

Jack didn't know what to make of the cat whapping at him through the window - tough cat behind the thick glass!

Both of them check it out.

Meanwhile, Isabelle's dog Shannon, seems utterly non-impressed with the whole scenario. I think she just saw us eating cake and put on her best "let-me-in-pleeease" face. No way! Mmmmm... cake.....

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Going out on a limb...

My dogs are daredevils. Hmm... Their mother's name WAS Devil, so I guess it's just par for the course.

First, George gave it a try - going out on a tree limb(a slightly dead one), that was precariously hanging over the clay cliff. Oh yeah, with a *slight* 8 foot drop or so. I panicked and called her back right away, then thought - "damn, that woulda made a great picture." Before I finished that thought, Lucy was out on the tree as I had my camera poised and ready. Here's the little goofball checking things out from another viewpoint.

At this moment, I heard a "CRAAAACK!!!!" and once again panicked, as I envisioned Lucy being catapulted into the river, or dropping on her head on the cliff below. I called her back, as the cracking increased and she very nonchalantly turned around and hopped back onto the bank.

You can see the dead part of the tree on the bank where it was cracking and snapping. A tap of my foot sent that whole thing over the cliff. Whew! The monkeys live to wreak havoc wherever they go for yet another day.

This was a rainy afternoon of bushwhacking through the cliffs. Quite fun indeed!

This is my view - not wanting to have to scramble the cliffs wet and sandy and then back up the almost impassable overhangs. Some of the dogs had to double-back wayyy far to be able to climb up! Haha!

Little boat and pump along the way. No, the dogs were not all out on the dock and in the boat... I swear Mr. Boat Owner...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Legend Passes On...

It's a sad day in the mushing world - Susan Butcher, 51, and a 4-time Iditarod Champ, passed away on Saturday, Aug. 5 after battling cancer for the last year and a half.

Susan and her famous lead dog, Granite, after one of her Iditarod wins.

Susan was awarded the "National Women's Sports Foundation Amateur Athlete of The Year Award" and the "Tanquerey Athlete of the Year." She also won the "U.S. Victor Award" for Female Athlete of the Year two years in a row, among many other awards.

Susan has and will continue to, inspire women all over the world. She is considered by many to be one of the strongest and most disciplined female athletes for her determination to rise to the top of a physically grueling sport that is dominated by men. She will continue to be an inspiration to many, me included.

Thoughts go out to Susan's husband, her two young daughters, and all those loyal canine buddies of hers.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cleaning Trucks, Canine-Style

I found a different way to clean my truck yesterday. I just happened to stumble upon it. Don't they say that the greatest inventions often occur by complete and total accident? Well, not to brag, but I think I may be onto something here...

First of all, you must have around 200lbs of dead fish. Two hundred pounds of fish that you slowly let thaw in the back of your vehicle (trucks suggested) for two days. Then, you proceed to break it apart to re-freeze in the freezer in nice dog-mouth-sized chunks. The slimey, smelly truck should now be fully oozing fish slime, guts, eyeballs, you name the body part, it's there somewhere in that revolting mess. But oh what a delicacy for the canine mouth!! The slime-o-rama was all over the truck, the tires, the ground, Gabe's head... everywhere.

Enter... the dogs! Especially dogs that haven't been fed for two days.

Ha. Just kidding - they ate only 2 hours before this and only ACTED like they hadn't eaten for days! Kinda the way dogs act all the time. Never. Enough. Food. Ever.

Let's follow along with the events as they happened below:

Here we have Sage, Ivy and Ripper inside the truck licking out all the slimy goodness. I like how the oldsters are the smart ones who head straight for the juicy goodness dripping on the ground. They are thinkers as they easily lick up all the slime that oozes thru the truck. Kate and Gabe's heads became sticky and wet, later crusty - with all the fish slime. Mmmmm..... but I *think* they ate more than they wore. Maybe.

Here's half the crew (the group of 8 - the geriatrics and the young punks), who did a fine job cleaning the truck, the ground, the tires, the gravel, etc. My truck came away spic n' span clean. Ok, so my plan isn't perfect. Eight hours later when I unloaded my water jugs in town, I realized that this plan has some flaws.... namely the SMELL that permeated everything and kinda made my coworkers sick as they walked by my truck. Made my iron stomach momentarily a bit queasy as well.

However! No big deal -I hear brilliant ideas always need some tweaking. Phase 2 of "Operation: The Slacker's Way to Clean a Truck" will commence next week with the next load of dead fish.