Archive for October, 2012

We’re Still Here

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Hi all. Wow has it been a long time since we made a post. Sometimes life just gets in the way, ya know.
Fall is always a busy time, despite all the usual work we not only begin training the dogs, but we are in a race to get everything that needs doing done before winter comes. Some of it is non-dog related, like cleaning out the chimney and splitting wood, which Shagoo always helps with, at least by keeping me company.

But, a lot of it is related to the kennel, like making sure all the dog houses are still water proof and ensuring that all the spots they live in will be high enough that they’ll be dry come break-up in a few months, when all the snow (hopefully) melts.
Adding to the usual work, we had some insane fall storms here. You might have heard about them on the national news. We had weeks on constant rain, which caused massive flooding and even a few roads to wash out. We’re down to one route to town, and it’s the long way.
Anyway, with all the rain we were getting more than the usual amount of sand deliver and we were spreading it with every waking moment to keep the dogs on high ground. It was a constant battle.

This week the sun has returned again, and we have been enjoying the blue skies and all the golden leaves clinging to the trees when we do our early morning or late evening dog runs. So far they have been doing pretty well. The only setback we’ve had is that the trails we run on are often easement for the power company. Well, every few years they come through and take a chipper to all the trees along the trail.
It’s been a while since they’ve done it, so some of the trees were getting to be about 5- feet tall. This made a lot of wood chips and splinters when they chipped them all, and these splinters have coated our trails.
Sadly three of the dogs (Goliath, Wolf and Screamer) have come up with pokes in their feet as a result. One of them was really bad. Screamer had one that must have gone through the bottom of her foot and came out the top. It looks really painful, so she is already off and taking antibiotics to keep it from getting infected. We’ve also been doing our best to apply topical antibiotics, but she is terrible about not licking it off.

As the warm weather is nearing the end, we have also pulled up the last of the garden, which is powered by dog compost. We had another great hual this year, thousands of carrots and potatoes, and enough other vegetables, such as beets, three species of onions, cabbage, collards, turnips to share with several friends in the community.
The dog runs have been going well, other than the splinters. As usual we are working on bringing out the best in each dog, so we have been running a lot of new, young dogs in lead. One run this past week went well minus one exception. Cole was in Anchorage for a conference, so I was running all the teams myself for a few days. I decide to put Boo up front with two other leaders, to help him learn the ropes. He’s been doing very well in a pair, so I wanted to see what he could do on his own, since when we run triple lead, we typical don’t run a neck line on the third dog.
The first few miles went great, Rather than turning around or taking the wrong direction on gee or haw calls, Boo was doing great, but then from down the beach I could see a young couple playing with two 6 month old Labrador pups. I should have known this would be too much for Boo, but I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt.
The people did actually grab their dogs to help, but then they all just sat down right in the middle of the trail, rather than stepping a few yards back. This is common as a lot of people who don’t mush think we have a lot more control over the teams than we do. We can control general direction, but it is not precision steering.
Anyway, Boo got by the pups and people fine, and we were about jhalf a team length past them, when one of the pups bark. Boo immediately turned around and since he wasn’t attached at the neck to the other leaders, he was able to start running backwards. This confused the leaders, who then with Boos momentum to the side, made kind of a turn behind the people.
Suddenly the couple and their pups were literally surrounded by a 16 dog tangle. They could have helped, even if they knew how to. So they just cowered in fear over their pups in case anyone decided to bite. Not our guys though. Half the team was still chopping at the bit to go and so they started trying to pull and jump around, the other half, like Boo, were content to just try and lick the people and sniff their dogs.
After about 5 minutes and a lot of embarrassment, I was able to get it all straightened out and moving the right direction. From now on, Boo will have a neck line until he is a little more seasoned.
On a final note, we would like to thank Amy Greg of Lonestar-Alaskan Enterprises in Texas for sending up a load of the home made treats she makes for dogs. These things smell and look good enough for humans to eat, especially the peanutbutter and jelly treats and the chicken nuggets. Thanks a bunch for thinking of us Amy. The dogs LOVED them. If you need our endorsement, you’ve got it, and I hope a lot of people reading this will order some and try them out for themselves.
All for now.