Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ok, I'm warning you now...

To stop reading if you:
a) have a weak stomach
b) are eating anything
c) if detailed description of dog poo grosses you out
d) if detailed description of a dog's bum grosses you out

Ok! With that out of the way...

This could have alternatively been entitled "Why do weird things happen to me/Harris?"

So I get home last night, and the routine these days is to let the geriatrics out of the cabin, and walk Kate around the driveway. She seems to get a little bit perkier when I let "her" crew out of the backyard, so I do that at the same time. These guys are usually pretty fired up and Ripper, Loki, Sage and Ivy (sometimes even Rupert, for a few minutes) chase each other around the yard non-stop. Kate loves snapping at them as they speed by her.

As all this was happening, Kate and I were near the gate when I heard a whine. Now this is not an uncommon noise in my yard, given that the monsters (Gracie, George) seem to take an unnatural pleasure in making other dogs whimper. Most notably Jack and Harris. Often the girls are seen chomping on their faces, just to let them know who's boss. Um, Newsflash: I think they know!!!

But I digress!

The whining continued. Sporadic whining, meaning there was no fight, but it was just... odd. So I hurried Kate over to the cabin and had to abandon her there as the whining was still continuing and making me a bit nervous. I knew it was in the back so I rushed back there and saw everyone but Harris. Everyone was fine, no excitement, meaning they hadn't just feasted on him (just kidding!). I looked to find him but couldn't see him and only heard this eerie whine come from the darkness.

What follows is my actual conversation with him:

"Harris!" I call him over and he came running in his "poop stance" - you know the one where their back legs are squatted down. Then he tried to poop while he paced around me. And he whined at the same time.

"Uh oh" - that's never good. I immediately envisioned an emergency late night phone call to the vet (it was about 10:30pm).

Harris whines again and tries to poop.

"What the heck? Why can't you poop?"

Harris runs up to me, flips his body into me, looks up desperately - as if to let me know "I can't poop!" As if I didn't know.

I lift up his tail, since they often have grass or hay or whatever hanging out of there - that um, well, needs some "encouragement."

"Well, there's nothing there. What the heck did you get into?"

I didn't see anything hanging out.

He desperately tries to poop again.

"C'mon, poop it out!" I say - as if me verbalising it will make it happen. As if he hasn't been trying to do that exact thing for god knows how long.

More attempted pooing. More whining. More confusion on my part. More butting up against me, begging for me to end the pain.

"Ok, what is going on there?" I lift up his tail again, and upon closer inspection, there is a piece of poop completely lodged SIDEWAYS in his butt. It is about 3 inches long. I now wonder why Harris wasn't whining louder!! Oh, it pains me even to think of it now.

And also - how the HECK does that happen?!?

And now I must ask, intrepid reader - what would YOU do? Well, my first instinct was to reach in there and help dislodge the tenacious turd.

So I did.

And to my surprise (and relief) the persistent poop plopped out onto the ground. Yes, it was just that easy.

I'm pretty sure I heard a huge sigh from Harris. From his front end that is. Probably both in fact.

And voila! He was as good as new, running around like he wasn't just incapacitated by a contumacious crap! (yes, I did consult a thesarus for this entry - I'm still not sure what that one means, but it did start with a "c"!)

So I don't know if it's just him or my bad luck. Some of you may recall he was the one who had his testicles ripped open (sorry guys, should have given warning on that one) one sunny Saturday a couple years ago. He acted like nothing was wrong as he frequently sat propped on the snow till Monday - I had consulted a vet who said we could wait. She figured the cold snow probably helped NUMB the pain of his torn nether regions. Anyways, he is now testicle-free and oddly enough the vet was *pretty sure* she saw ah, teeth marks as she neutered him. For the record - Gracie, George and Lucy vehemently deny ever being near him on that day.

"Ahhhhh, sweet relief!"

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Just another weekend with the goofs

Princess Gracie graciously poses for her picture:

I will allow you to take my picture. This time.

Jack attempts to eat Harris' leg.

Lucy's typical pose

George takes this opportunity to attack her while she's down.

Lucy is like a sea otter on land. She is always belly up!

The sled looks pretty fancy with the new bag, made by Bombproof Designs. My friend Dave is starting a business, and lucky for me - I get to be his sled bag tester/guinea pig. It's a prototype of sorts as I get to beat the crap out of it and give Dave suggestions on how to make it better. However, I am kind of doing the opposite now as I have it up high on the 4-wheeler so the dogs don't use it as their new pee post. For some reason, the sled bag IS the place to pee. Normally I wouldn't care, but it's sooooo pretty and clean right now! :)

(plus it has to go back to Dave's living room eventually)

So the bag is a bit big, but it's not quite done. There is also going to be a back pocket that'll be within easy reach for me on the back of the sled, for mitts and that kind of stuff. Anyone else have any suggestions? Lots of pockets is a good idea.

Back to the regular scheduled programming:

The Three Amigos!

Alright, one more picture and that's it! I'm getting tired exuding this attitude.

For my mom, her favourite - Harris:

Happy, happy, sweet boy

Jack and Harris feeling a little frisky on this fine sunny afternoon.

Good ol' Kate, hanging out on the porch, doing like Sue's mammoth as she watches over "her" pack (or... just sleeps).

Lately, the vestibular sypmtoms seem less, but now she has some kind of paralysis on her right side! It's mostly the back leg, but she does need help now getting around. I help her with the harness and a couple times today she took a pee so quickly when we went outside, that I didn't even realize she was peeing - she was *this* close to peeing on my foot as I was standing beside her! Must pay attention to the peeing geriatrics. The good news is, is that her appetite is still there - most notably with hotdogs, hamburgers and sausages! Yes, I am now officially Kate's personal chef.

As I sit on the porch relaxing with Kate - this is what I have to put up with - this maniac bounding up and down, dancing in circles, flipping his butt into everyone and everything - with a RELENTLESS energy all while barking his head off. Keep in mind that NOTHING exciting is going on here. Except in Ripper's head.

I curse the day I introduced him to the game of fetch!! That's all he thinks about now when he's outside the pen and he harasses me hoping I'll give in. Sometimes I do - just to shut him up! Ah well, you gotta love his happy attitude.

This was mid-bark, but looks like he's just about to sneeze.

The elusive Rupert allows a closeup:

Spring is on it's way!!! :)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ask and 'ye shall receive!

Donna emailed to ask for some more puppie pictures. Well, it's not easy to come up with them when you never have puppies of your own - HOWEVER - good thing my friends have puppies!

(sorry for the crap quality photos, but the camera had a little condensation on it....)

After the triathalon a couple weeks ago, we all rendezvous'd (?) at Sean & Heather's. Heather was very proud of HER pups - the litter of tree-dogs: Spruce, Pine, and um, 3 others.

Here's Eilidh with one of Sean & Heather's offspring (the dogs offspring, that is! Otherwise that is ONE furry baby!):

This guy was wild, it was like trying to hold onto a squirmy monkey.

Heather is having a wee bit of trouble controlling HER pups. I'm sure they will be very well behaved sometime. Nah, what am I saying, she'll let them get away with ANYTHING. They'll be maniacs! :)

This one was calmly enjoying the cuddle he was receiving:

"Ooooh, yeah, rub my belly..."

Heather - still having trouble containing the wily little monkey!

It's not easy, they are HUGE pups!

So there we go - puppy pictures! Any more requests?!? :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My brain-dead dog

Oh, but I say that with the utmost of love for the big guy!!

I'm not sure if Kuna is just brain-dead or one very focused dog!?? He singed his fur this morning - nothing deters him from food! The wood stove was fired up (since it was again, cold at -26C this am!!), and this very food-oriented (one-track mind in fact) dog squeezed in beside the toasty warm stove to pick up a few kibbles that had fallen to the ground beside the food bucket.

Note the darkened orange colouring! That's burnt Kuna fur. It really goes a lovely orange when it's BURNT!!!

He didn't even notice he was almost on fire. It was ME who noticed the smell of burning fur!!! Doh!

Yet, he's still not deterred as he barks at the food bucket, while 6 non-burnt dogs roam around him. They are careful not to come *too* close, now that they realize he will stop at NOTHING for fooooooood. Cause, y'know, they never get fed (ha! They're all fatso's right now!)

This is him being patient.

"Pleeeeeease - FEED your burnt dog, lady!!!"

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Trail breakin'

Wow, it's still full-on winter around here. Yesterday morning it was -30! But it warmed up considerably later in the day and the sun came out for the second last Copper Haul Twister race. I volunteered to be race timer this time, just wasn't into racing. And it was pretty fun. Not a huge turnout, but not bad. Great atmosphere and basking in the sun felt GOOD. Ah, the sun, it's now light out till after 8:00pm! Crazy!!!

Around my place, with all the snow lately, we've had to do a bit of trail breaking. We are normally pretty spoiled as the trails around here are fairly well used by a few people on skidoos/skis and sleds. But part of our little loop had been either totally blown in or just not used by the snowmachiners.

The trail was good up until the posts here.

This was the GOOD part of the trail. The dogs were still ok with ankle deep snow - no problem! It's easy to follow the posts, but when we got out onto the river, it was impossible to see any discernible trail.

The dogs were flailing around trying to find a trail - Ripper was not impressed with this. I suppose him coming from a sprint background just proves he loves running FAST! None of this slogging around while walking!

Rupert was amazing in lead and bouned up and down through the shoulder deep snow trying his hardest to find the trail. He was getting a bit frustrated and so was I as it took us hours to go these few miles in this stuff. At one point I was walking in front of them, snow up to my knees, and thighs at times. They were more than willing to follow me and bunched up at my feet, getting tangled in lines, etc. I let Ivy and Octane loose at one point thinking it would be easier - but they were more of a distraction to the other dogs than anything.

So I put little Loki up in lead just for kicks, since Ripper was ready to be moved. Loki took on this new challenge smashingly as he boinged his little red body through the snow. Sure, he didn't really listen to my suggestions on where to go, but after proving that I had no idea where the trail was either, I guess he thought he could find it on his own. We never really found THE trail, but near the end of the river we did find A trail. Too bad it went the wrong way! The dogs look of relief quickly turned to glaring looks at me when I said "ah, no guys, we have to go THAT way" as I pointed across the river. They were not gonna give up that trail easily! Rupert helped me out though and drug the team over, only to be pulled back a few times by Loki! But we eventually got going the right way.

And finally made it to the packed trail!! Woohoooo!!! The dogs were SOOOO happy and just flew the 4 miles or so home zooming down the hard packed roads.

Can you sense the confusion?

We were weaving all over the place here as the dogs (mostly Rupert) attempted to find a trail. This was where the trail started to improve a bit. Good fun!

Now, I need a skidoo!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ahhh.. victory!!

So THAT'S what a win feels like! Sunday was the 2nd annual "Haines Junction WinterFest" - where we headed out to partake in the triathalon portion of races. This is a special human AND dog powered triathalon, how cool is that? First was the sledding stage - one musher (Sean on my team)and 4-6 dogs; then the skijoring (me with Jack/Harris/Sage) and lastly, a cross-country ski (Carmen) race. So with 3 people/team, a whack of dogs, a soft, punchy trail, a great atmosphere and lots of spectators, the dogs and I were fully pumped up to race our little hearts out!

Earlier in the day was the 6-dog sportsman race which followed the kids race. The triathalon didn't start till 2:30 (or, in reality, on Yukon time at 4:00), so I had a bit of a relaxing morning at home and headed out to the Junction just before noon. I was to be the skijorer in my team and I had a feeling this was a good day/distance for Jack, Harris and Sage. I wanted a fairly mellow team, and know how these guys can power around in any trail conditions and hills in a short distance. As Eilidh noted later on, Jack and Harris really do run best when they're together. Take them apart and it's like separating conjoined twins - they're "spiritually" still attached and really can't function the same without the other. Conjoined twins (when separated) however, eventually grow out of this I would think. Not these two yahoos.

Here is Jon, poised to run in the skijor open class with his four dogs:

His daughter, Eilidh, heading out on the one dog with Gael (from Hugh and Tamra) - I like this dog!! She is too cute and a fiery little leader. Getting one dog who is used to larger teams to skijor alone is not easy, but Gael and Eilidh won their class!! Ok, they were the only participants...

I had a bit of trouble getting started as the parking lot emptied and I had no help to get the maniacs down a small hill to the starting line at the lake. I was going to just go for it, but then I saw three toddlers walking down the hill and knew I'd take them out like pins in a bowling alley. That could have been a bad scene. Luckily, perennial kids winner, Ben Kinvig came to give me a hand as he slid down the slope in front of me hanging on to the gangline right down to the start line(thanks Ben!!). No time for me to take pictures on this race - as it went very FAST!!! The trail was pretty punchy and soft but a bit better up by the highway. The loop was about 6 miles and we caught up to the first skijorer and passed well. Then we caught a 6-dog team and although there was a bit of hesitation passing (their dogs were a little excited to see us and wanted to visit!), we made it by - only to see Jon up ahead! How exciting to see him poling away, *ahem* so SOON (heh heh...). My dogs were super fired up and speeding down the bouncy trail. I felt like I was doing moguls as I catapulted off of each bump every few seconds. I couldn't skate ski at all in that bit. I just tried to stay upright, poled along and let the dogs do their thing.

And do their thing they did!!! We flew back even on the punchy trail towards the finish with spectators cheering us on. The run felt great the whole way and I knew it went very well. They barely slowed down, just to dip a bit of snow here and there, but overall I was amazed with their gusto! Turns out we WON (yay, my first win!!) and got a few prizes - a ball cap, a medal (wow, my first medal) and a very cool dogsled/musher pin with the "Silver Sled" on it. Oh, and a CASH prize of $28!!! WOohooooo!!! And that is for all three of us. Hmmm... I wonder what I'm going to spend the $9.33 cents on... hmmmm... the possibilities are endless!!!

Sage and Jack were ready to go out again! So I took Harris, Kuna and Ivy (who also came along for the ride) and we all looped around the Pine Lake campground a couple times. Here is a pole-less Eilidh - it was hilarious to see her go up hills without poles. She kind of resembled a duck.

But they didn't care, they were up for more! She did comment on how when they went in front Jack was a little off, looking behind at his buddy, Harris running with me. How did these two get so freakin' attached?!?

And this smallest skidoo with the smallest skidoo-er in the world. They almost gave me a heart attack a few times as he pulled around the even tinier kid behind him. He was weaving in and out of parked vehicles, with the mini-sled behind swinging behind him. I have to give him credit, he did slow down when he made the turns, sometimes. The driver couldn't have been more than 4!!

He really enjoyed zooming past the RCMP truck! I'm really glad the wee one didn't take a bumper to the noggin!

Next weekend: The Wilfred Charlie Memorial race in Carmacks. It's our specialty (as of 3 days ago): a 5-mile, 4 dog race! Then Sunday is the next Copper Haul Twister. No time to rest!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Holy freakin' SNOW!!!

I can't believe the amount of snow we have here!! It keeps snowing and snowing and snowing... heck, I even broke down and bought a snow shovel for parts of my driveway. All the dog frolicking is just not packing it enough anymore. I took the usual free-running suspects up into the hills by my place and found the snow to be knee-deep in most spots. In some blown-in areas it was up to my thighs! Holy crap!! This is the deepest I have seen the snow around here, and it was hilarious to see the dogs reaction to it.

Here I skijored in with the monster sisters - they need to be a bit exhausted before they free run. The world is a much safer place that way.

Somehow this tree branch became a part of me. Funny, I don't recall that when I took the picture.

You can see we need to work on our teamwork here.

Lucy poses for yet another snow-face shot!

She's SO funny.

What is Gracie looking at here??

Who knows!!

Georgie comes barrelling down the hill

Kuna attempting to pounce on someone NOT his own size!

Here I am teaching them to break trail for me on my skis. They got pretty good at figuring out where I wanted to go.

Although it may not look like it here...

Now they're figuring it out -look at that nice trail!

On the way back - we're all getting a bit tired here. My trail breakers are breaking down!!

C'mon! Who's the leader here!?! Oh, me?

Alright, I think Jack and Harris stepped up and took the lead here.

But not for long. I had to go in front - and this is what followed hot on my skis!!!

Nothing like trying to slog through a couple feet of snow with 2-3 dogs stepping on the back of your skis!

ha - Kuna looks a bit worried here.

"We may never make it home..."

Those poor little short legged dogs! Good fun, yet did it tire them out? Hell, no! With the extra daylight and added warmth, they are livelier than ever right now.

Geriatric Update: Kate is doing ok. The vet pretty much thought she had the vestibular thing happening, and she is still pretty wobbly on her feet. She has yet to turn down fish though, and still has her fiesty attitude. I have to say, the rest of the pack is being SUPER patient with her. It's almost like they KNOW she's feeble, but aren't letting her know THEY know she's feeble. Ivy especially is being very good at ignoring her and walking the other way - a trait most huskies lack! Thanks for asking and I'll keep ya posted on the Kate front.

Gabe is feeling very good right now - he even joined in a game of chase the other day. Well, his version of "chase" is running and barking at the chasing group as they fly by him and nearly knock him over. But I swear he was having fun with it. :)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

CWG update!

Medal Count!

Well, we're into week 2 of the games, and I have yet to make it to any sporting event. It's a bummer, but what with dealing with geriatric dogs who have to be persuaded to eat 10x/day because they eat so little(I really think Kate is playing with me and holding out for her favourite meal - frozen charr!!), Gabes' eye infection (clearing up nicely, thank you!) and mice falling from the sky onto my head (yeah, that's a true story - but I'm too traumatized to talk about it!) I've got little time to go anywhere.

So this is me virtually attending the 2007 Canada Winter Games! (the following pictures are all swiped... er, borrowed from the CWG website)

For Ottawa-Jen!

Fence away!

Dang, this looks like fun.

They kinda look like stormtroopers AND get to stab at each other. What a cool sport.

Remember Jen - when you were going to give us lessons at the Syncrude oil plant in Fort McMurray??!! What would those oil dudes have thought if we walked around our lovely ATCO trailers dressed like that?!? Ha! They would have thought we were more nuts than they already did.

"Gah! You got me!!!!"

Another interesting sport:

Table tennis? Alrighty then.

Snowboarding at -35C is always fun!

"I. am. frozen. in. this. spot."

Who doesn't LOVE JUDO!?!

Well, that competitor in blue for one...

This looks about as fun as the time I broke my foot in a karate tournament.

Ah, good times...

I REALLY wish I could make it to the Inuit and Dene Games - those competitions are just wild.

Like the stick pull. Ok, by "wild" I mean unique.

Like this - the swing kick:

Now THAT looks uncomforable.

Hey, look! It's my neighbour Lara! :)

Seriously working that polymer clay!

One of my other favourites, the short track speed skating:

I haven't seen it for awhile, but I don't recall the team-mates getting this cozy before? Or is that the relay thingy? Clearly I am out of the loop.

More of that skating thing. They're lucky- they're inside!

The whip cracking demonstration.

Oh, the things I could do with whip cracking skills. Not with the dogs, rather with unwanted visitors!

In case my friend Carmen-the-Curler-from-Calgary is reading, here's one for you!

I can practically hear her squeal with excitement upon seeing anything related to CURLING! I personally don't get this sport, but what the heck. What I DO know is that it involves plenty o' post-game-beer-drinking, so it's alright by me.

Cross Country Skiing

They really should have a few dogs in front of them. Man. I'd hate to skijor against these guys.

Yukon's David Greer getting the first GOLD of the games for the Yukon! Way to go David!

The story of the women's hockey game was crazy - the Yukon goalie faced something like 122 shots on goal!!!! Are you kidding me!!!! They estimated that that is ONE SHOT/30 SECONDS!!!! Wow. I loved her attitude when CBC interviewed her - she said something along the lines of "it was fun!"

This one was entitled "Interview at 40 below"

Yes, the reporter (seated, on the left) looks a wee bit chilly. This was up at Fort Selkirk - north of Whitehorse. We had a camera crew come in last week who had gone through a couple cameras after the first 3 days due to the freezing cold weather. Now we've had a break in it and are welcoming the -18C weather!

Church in Fort Selkirk

Beautiful and snowy!!!!! So pretty...

And another beauty!