Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!!

Just so happens, that yes, Sasquatch DOES exist. In our hotel room. In Fairbanks. See below:

Sasquatch? A rabid scrawny moose?!? Or... a bit too much beer, Laura's imagination (or lack thereof), her beaver mitts, and a wild n' crazy Sat. night hepped up on wayyyy too much dog talk!!??! You decide!

(Why, yes! That IS a beaver mitt on her head!)

Since I'm still recovering from the marathon drive - that seemed like it would never end - from Fairbanks, here's a few quick pics of the bestest part of the trip....


Yes, that is my new Danler sled on top of Laura's truck parked outside of the hotel. Need a closer look you say?

"Ooooh.... Ahhhhhh...."

Ok, not really a "new" sled - it's an older Danler model, as they are mostly fancy little foldable, titanium/fiberglass/kryptonite sleds that weigh 14 ounces and cost a crapload of money nowadays - but I like the old style (and old style price). You can see the lovely woodwork, but I've now made the switch to aluminum runners. Woohoo.

But the bottom line is, is that it weighs a mere 18lbs! Wow. I LOVE not throwing my back out by putting the sled on the truck!

Oh, and it is a sled with some "issues" - I guess I like my sleds like I like my dogs. Hmmm... I should really look into that.

Anyways, the previous owners drove into the garage with this poor little sled on top of their car. Whupps! But, don't worry little sled, I'LL take care of you from now on... you're safe here in this garage-less home.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Is this weird? Or is it just me?

Am I the only one who loves the smell of dog's feet?!? They don't stink or anything (usually), they just have this really distinct smell to them. But if you sniff the actual pads of their feet... mmmm!! Smells like roses! Ok, kind of musky, furry roses. I like it. And they all smell the same.

And I'm not just saying that because Ivy's paw is on my face as I type. Really. Try it on your favourite canine today!!


So I was out the other day attempting to get a photo of me with the team for Jon's article on the CHT. No one was sending him photos, but I think that's because hello! We only take pictures of... dogs! Pictures of us would just scare everyone.

Anyways, this photo shoot required a bit of trickiness as I ran ahead of the team to set the camera on a log. I had 11 dogs and we were about 3 miles into our 7-miler. Well, the team was freaking out - because stopping is unacceptable in their canine brains - as I was figuring out this delayed picture thingy which I rarely use. All of a sudden... things went quiet. And that fact took a few moments to process through this brain. And when it finally did, I panicked realizing that means the team is on the move!! Sure enough, I turned around to see them all pulling the 4-wheeler down the trail ready to head on by me. I hightailed it to the quad and caught the little renegades as they tried to flee. Brats.

I briefly forgot about the picture, but what I caught on the camera was pretty telling evidence of a sneaky, maniacal team! Note those HAPPY faces!! Jack and Harris are totally looking over at me smiling their faces off.

You don't even want to see what resulted from my attempt at getting video of us going up a hill. It includes me flailing down the hill like a mad-woman, and then Kate sticking her head out *just* as I ran by her. I just about took the ol' girls head off as I carreened down the hill by her. She was ok though. Nothing seems to faze her. Anyways, we'll keep that one under wraps for awhile. Parts of it are too far away anyways. Yeah, that's it.

And yes, these pictures were just taken a few days ago. Note the horrific lack of snow!

I do like how Jack and Harris lead the team on the grass. Screw that - we don't run in mud, they were later heard to be saying. The little black things as usual are trying to run IN the mud. They usually succeed in coming back caked in the stuff.

And I'm taking a bit of an unexpected road trip tomorrow. Laura and I are heading to ALASKA for the sled dog symposium in Fairbanks. It was kind of a last minute, VERY last minute plan, but we are off first thing in the morning! Or... thereabouts. Two days of driving and two days of nothing but dog talk! Fun, fun, and yes - more fun! I might even come back with a sled if I'm lucky! But there are some pretty cool speakers, some legends in the mushing world who are going to be at this thing, so check it out! Speaking of mushing legends, I never did tell you all about meeting Libby Riddles last week - thanks to Tamra for introducing us. How cool to talk to the first woman to win the Iditarod!?? VERY freakin' cool. She was soooo nice too.

So, we'll be back Monday - a few friends are watching my crew for me. I'm sure they'll behave like little angels!! See y'all later. And of course, every freakin' moment will be documented for blogland.... :)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bone Heaven!

Like Tamara's group of canines, my gang is also enjoying an onslaught of moose bones. It must be fall, the dogs say, it's moose meat time!! Yippeee! And I'm not kidding or exaggerating about their excitement - I was getting knocked over by Kuna's wiggly butt as he could not stand still when he saw the truck full of meat and bones.

From the prey's perspective (courtesy of Rupert)

I thought it would be a cool shot to show all the meat and bones in the truck as I brought them home...

But it ended up looking pretty disgusting.

Anyways, this carnivore's dream was given to us by a couple neighbours (Pete and Mary) and someone from work (Teresa) - thanks for thinking of us!

These guys made me laugh my arse off when I opened up the tailgate. They were bouncing around, wanting to jump in that truck SOOOO badly, but they were all very well behaved.

And Kuna was the happiest dog in the world at that moment. This dog is SO food driven it's unbelievable. You know when you can tell that a dog is just giddy with excitement? Well, he would run to me, and back to the truck, let out this silly bark, and come bouncing back to me. This is him bouncing INTO me as I was trying to take some photos!

Ripper - pre-sock-in-gut:

It's interesting watching how each dog approaches a bone. Yes, it's really a study in canine behaviour. That, or boredom on my part.

Sage getting down to business.

"Mmm... that's good scapula!"

Ivy has a dainty approach. Ironic, considering she practically rips the smaller bones and fish out of my hand, not caring whether she has a finger in there or not.

"Hmph! No finger! I'll be gentle then..."

Rupert STILL working on that bone for some reason. Ok, it's massive. Massively funny!!!

"I'd like a bigger bone please!" (he's polite like that)

Kate doesn't hold back

"C'mon, I dare one of ya to try and steal it from me!! C'mon!!! DOUBLE dare!"
(she likes to mix things up)

I like George's method - butt up in the air helps...

"Must. get. leverage. Oof!"

Then it gets tiring

"Gee, all this gnawing is somewhat tiresome"


Gabe: "Um, excuse me Jack, can I assist you in cleaning the meat off that bone?"
Jack: "Why, yes Gabe! There's enough meat on here for both of us. I could use the help"
Gabe: "Thanks Jack. I always knew you were one of the nice ones"

And THAT is an example of a rarely heard conversation between my dogs.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sled dog 101: how to annnoy your musher

First off, Mr. Ripper is doing very good! Gone are the days when he was lethargic, sad and sickly (a whole three days ago!). This was him the night I brought him home.

"I'm baaaaaack!! Let's go for a run!!!! Let's run in circles!!! Let's bounce off walls!!! Hey, where's that other sock I was leaving for later?!?!"

More on him later as he's creating his own blog posts at rapid speed as I try to contain this once-again hyper boy and keep him calm. Ha! It's a battle, but I *think* I'm winning that game. Not for his lack of trying though.

Here's another 7-mile run with the rest of the crew yesterday:

I started to realize that the CHT races are coming up in less than a month! We've got to get some serious training in here if we want to do well. I think I'll be skijoring in the first one, so that means me working on my own conditioning in a big way as well so I am not a hindrance to the team as we're speeding down the trail! So I've implemented my "Jogging with Geriatrics" (only me 'n Gabe so far...) program. This is where I take the slower, older dogs out, because they're the only ones I can keep up with! And when I stop to catch my breath, they are totally ok with that.

This set of videos was too hilarious to pass up. I took out the whole remaining crew (with a howling, yapping Ripper left behind) yesterday. I walked up and down the line at hookup and Gracie was nice enough to put on a typical Gracie show. I almost got nailed by Jack and then Ivy as well. The next video highlights George's punk-ish behaviour in the line. Yes, now maybe others can appreciate what I have to put up with!! :)

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Aha! He DID eat something...

Oh this dog! So, after keeping him at the clinic for 2 days with no improvement, we decided to go in and see if the vets could find out what was causing the trouble. My best guess was that it was *probably* something Ripper ate. This guy would eat his own foot if it wasn't attached!

I love this photo that Tamara (who was also "visiting" the clinic last night!) took of the Ripster a couple years ago. He looks so happy! Hopefully he'll be looking that way soon. Poor guy.

Anyways, turns out the little brat ate a SOCK!!! Just a small exercise-type sock, but it successfully made it's way through his intestine and started to get lodged in his colon. They worked it out, and massaged it through because apparently cutting into the colon is very risky. There is only a 20% chance of survival after that. Thanks to the wonderful vets here for taking care of this guy and suggesting many courses of action along the way. A musher's best friend just may be their vet!! God knows Tamara and I spend enough time with them! :)

That reminds me... I need to talk to the other vet about Gabe's medication...

Anyways, as I think back - I now recall taking a sock from Ripper's mouth one night in the cabin a week or so ago! He must have snagged the other one. Damn. That'll teach me to leave my socks on the floor...

He'll spend one more night at the clinic (he's going to think it's his new home!) so they can keep an eye on him. Hopefully I'll be taking him home tomorrow.

Thanks for all the good thoughts out there.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Ahhh, a four day weekend (since I am working this winter), and this is what the dogs and I have been up to! It was a lethargic, snowy, damp, cool "is it winter already?" kind of weekend. That and cleaning up this mess of a cabin, making more dog houses - which I always seem to be doing. I found the dogs really like a particular style, so I'm trying to um, "renovate" the houses into their favourite style! Yes, I am their slave!!!!

Could this dog be any sweeter?? Ok, Ivy is taking over practically the whole couch, but she's too adorable to kick off!

She has no problem laying all over me to get comfortable

Getting sleepy...

I swear she is part human, as she seems to understand everything I say as she looks at me intently and knowingly as I talk to her (and yes, we chat often). For example, earlier, I was offering her some of my beer and merely said (jokingly of course) "want some beer?!" and she immediately looked right over at the beer in my hand! Ooooh!!! She understands so much it freaks me out.

Onto the floor dwellers - Octane steals Gabe's pillow in the corner. He knows what he's doing too - he'll rush the cabin to get to that spot first.

Poor Ripper, looking a little sad. He's feeling a bit under the weather, so he's been hanging out with me inside for the most part. I'm not sure if he's got some sort of stomach flu or is affected by the moose meat we got not long ago. He's been really lethargic and sad-looking and also isn't interested in food. His vibrant non-stop Ripper energy is missing today! Poor fella. He is drinking and his temperature is in a normal range, so I'm hoping he gets over it soon. He seems to have really crappy digestion with wild meat... hmm... what kind of carnivore is he?!?

Update: just took this poor fella into the vet clinic as his temperature rose overnight and I was starting to get paranoid!! I had to drop him off as they were so busy, they couldn't take me in as an appointment. I hate missing a dog around here - it's like losing an appendage! I'll keep you all posted though.

Loki is off in the corner behind Ripper on the NEW pillow - like doghouses, you can never have enough. Sage was the first to claim it, but Loki beat him back inside after a pee break. Yoink!

Kate passed out by the door. Really, I don't drug these guys. Not usually.

This is the "ball of Rupert" - as he wedges himself in between the couch and the footstool. Really, there is more room elsewhere in this small cabin. But I think he likes to snore and twitch in his dreamy state right below me, kicking the couch as he's off in la-la land.

So cute and white!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Taunting Ravens and more weird dog behaviours

A few more pictures from a woodcutting day:

I like this shot. It's kinda artsy, even if you can't figure out what the heck is going on. Lemme explain - there was a lone raven who seemed to take a perverse joy in taunting the dogs. Ok, and the human...

Anyways, this raven was enjoying soaring in one spot in the massive amounts of wind. What is up with birds doing that anyways? Looks like SO much fun, that must be the answer. See, it's not all about survival, breeding and birdseed... no! Fun is to be had no matter what genus/species you fit into.

So this guy would swoop down really low, within what seemed like just a few feet of the dogs heads, and then lift itself up, just as the dogs were thinking the next meal was on their plate. In effect, pretty much driving them mad. Heehee!

Gracie does her best to try and get it, as she stands on her hind legs - hoping that extra foot will enable her to snag the rowdy raven. She barked madly at it, but it really didn't do any good. They never got close to it, and it taunted for a few more minutes till it flew off. The dogs wondered where the fun went, and got back to woodcutting. Or, rather, watching ME cut wood.

And here's Kuna, taking a bit of break. You know, running around for hours and chasing ravens is tough work.

Ok, I need me a nap... *yawwwn*

Other weird dog behaviours:

It always seems to be the same DOG getting into stuff and doing the weirdest things. Or is that just me?

Gracie's new thing is getting into my recycling container... ok, "container" is a strong word. More like recycling garbage bag. But she's ONLY interested in the water bottles. So we have this game where I leave the lids on, and she rifles through the bag, pulling out only the water bottles, and chews off the lids for me. She then leaves them scattered about in the yard, just to make sure I have yet ANOTHER thing to clean up in my virtually non-existent spare time these days.

Then, I decided to really hide the bag of recycling, and what does she do? Finds the FULL water bottles, steals one and brings it into the cabin. She drops it on the floor with a thunk and starts to gnaw on that lid, as if to say "you can't outsmart me - dumb human!"

Please, someone- call the dog psychiatrist!

I like Jack's expression here - it's almost as if he's acknowledging her weirdness with me. I think he's used to her quirkiness by now and used to her growling at them when they come near her fun. We obviously don't get this game.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Canadian Blog Awards!

EDIT TO ADD: New Video!

Here's a video from the start of our 7-mile run. Me and 12/13 dogs. In order:

Ripper and Loki (who both led the whole way) - good job guys!
Ivy Octane
Sage and Lucy
Rupert and Kate (hyper, hyper! No wonder they're related)
Gracie and George - no idea why Gracie is SITTING!!? Oh yes, she's weird.
And Jack and Harris pull up the rear as they show their bouncing abilities. Kuna is attached back there too.


Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

So, I'd like to thank whoever nominated this silly little blog for THREE Canadian Blog Awards. How cool is that?!? I'm still wounded by the last round of blog awards where the hunting blog beat me out... but I'll get over it. We made a good run, and I'm sure my promise of beer to many voters could be considered "buying votes" - but hey, I do what it takes. All is fair in love and blog awards...

Check out the nominees: http://www.myblahg.com/cba/2006nominations.html - lots of good stuff there!

Apparently I'm nominated for:
1) Best New Blog (though this doesn't feel to "new")
2)Best Personal Blog
3) Best Sports Blog

So, get out and vote and check out the other blogs - I'm sure you're all not wasting near enough time on the internet! :)

Here's a few shots from a run the other day - I took the whole danged yard out (except for Gabe). 12 dogs plus the extra (Kuna) and it was, as to be expected, WILD at the beginning. I was going to videotape the start, but my quad started hopping forward as I was hooking up the dogs. Sure, it was tied to a tree and the brakes were all locked, but that always gets my heart pumping into overdrive.

Jack and Harris did a great job leading the crew

Octane and little Ivy

On the stretch home

Ahhh... good times...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nothing like being chased by terrorizing dogs!

Octane boots around the yard, ears flailing with his lightning speed (or lack of coordination?) before a run:

I was trying Ivy in lead with Ripper here. Ripper is such a tool at hookup, his turning around always gets him tangled with the other leader if I use a neckline. Turns out Ivy is REALLY GOOD at keeping things together during hookup. She impressed the heck out of me.

Looks like they're both equally nuts though! That's Octane and white Rupert in behind.

The ever-popular, Kate (Sue's favourite?:)) raring to go.

Look at her leaping! Those front feet are both off the ground. Not bad for a 14yr old geezer! Loki and Sage are in wheel. I like to alternate wheel dogs, but it seems I always have those two in wheel when I post. Hmm... well, follow along, Loki didn't stay there for long...

Here we get off to a nice start on a short run. It was a pretty warm day.

Ivy was doing a great job - you can see her on the left in lead. Until... a LEAF (a leaf! Seriously?) blew across the road. Well, Ivy's spidey-senses started tingling and she HAD to chase!! She zoomed into the ditch chasing the... LEAF... and, well, let's just say she stopped, but the rest of the team kept going, and Ivy went for a little roll in the ditch. She got dragged a wee bit, and actually looked a bit shocked at the whole episode - as if to say "how did THAT happen?!?"

She was ok and she promptly got up, shook it off and was ready to go again. But later she lacked a bit of confidence in lead so I put Loki up there. He did amazingly well. Not 5 minutes later, we had a pitbull-x (and a very large dog) come screaming out of a driveway with owners YELLING their heads off at him frantically. Now, I'm normally not one to get scared or intimidated by any dog, especially one coming after my team - but the way the owners were yelling, I could tell this dog was bad news. However, I was already standing up on the 4-wheeler ready to lock the brakes and go after that dog - rational thought pushed way in the back of my mind. You don't mess with my pseudo-sleddogs!

I have gone by this place before lots, and chased by a different dog, who never came too close. But this thing came within about 10 feet of us. And my SUPER little leaders ran right by without even so much as batting an eye at this dog or the screeching owners. Loki and Ripper earned their frozen fish snacks after that run!! I can't say the same for Rupert - who was ready along with me to "protect the team" - as was Sage. He almost ran over Ivy trying to get to the dog. But those leaders and the rest of the team kept us going right by. Whew!!

Turns out, that dog has been a problem as it has chased and even bit another neighbour as she jogged by. Nasty, and even worse is that the owners know exactly what the dog is like, yet still let it roam free!! Unbelievable.

So we hit the beach after the chaos. That's Ivy and Sage in wheel, Kate lying in the water in front, Octane and Rupert are on the right at the front, and Ripper is on the left, beside the water-loving, semi-submerged, Loki.

Ready to go again guys?!?!

"Yeah! Let's go kick that dog's butt!! We missed him the first time around!"

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Newsest monstrosity in the yard... aka: my carpentry skills

The latest doggie hotel. New and improved and gigantic.

Sage and Ivy approve - they live to jump on top of things. The little ramp seems to be a big hit with all the dogs and even allows for the geriatrics to get up on top of the monstrosity. Kate loves to show she's still got "it" by leaping up and intimidating the others... "they'll never know I'm an old geezer" she thinks to herself and giggles...

The Monstrosity 2006-001 is a new model that has separate rooms. With the last 2 totally open models, I noticed that certain dogs were "shunned" and not allowed in by other dogs. Sweet ol' Rupert would not let Octane in and barked at him if he so much as stepped a paw inside. Hopefully this model allows for Octane to sneak in the side and sleep in a different room than Landlord Rupert.

In behind the "pee tree" - there are 3 different partitions. Kinda like a horse barn!

Speaking of Rupert...

"You done with my new house yet!?!"

Ripper stands still for a few seconds in between leaping around and running in circles and barking his head off at nothing specific. Look at him! Looks like he's about to jump out of his skin! Freak!

So I was scavenging around for wood and was taking apart an old dogbox that a friend gave me. As I was doing so, I came across this funny sign - someone had left a "note" for a friend on a huge piece of plywood. Who needs a paper and pen? No one is gonna miss this note!

It reads: "Dave Dickson - 10:15am - I've gone to the Carcross corner for coffee. Please meet me there. Thanks, Mark V."

I love the simplicity and uniqueness of it! If I was Dave I'd feel pretty happy that my good friend Mark wrote a permanent "note" on a giganto piece of plywood that will last for a long time for all to see. Or, to be peed on by a bunch of goofy dogs.

Sage, checking out the indoor portion.

And this was just too funny. Note Ivy's dopey looking expression? That's because she was getting a belly rub while I took this pic! She is one of those weirdos who almost falls asleep the second you start the belly rub.

"Mmmm....ahhhhh.... yeahhhhhhh......"