Thursday, January 31, 2008

Welcome to the First Day of the Rest of Your Life!

Boudreaux's eyes are open!!

Last night I went over to Bonnie's for a quick visit of the puppies and to see Luke, an adult dog who has been feeling under the weather. Before I left, I picked each puppy up for a snuggle and lo and behold, I saw that Boudreaux's eyes were open!! He was blinking very sleepily at me and it was terribly cute. As of today (Thursday) Bonnie says that nobody else has opened their eyes. Jim has taken to calling Boudreaux "Jumbo", which, I suppose is a very appropriate name.

In other news, Bonnie and I have made plans to attend the Yukon Quest start next week in Fairbanks. I am SO excited! We have a room booked and we have tickets to the Start Banquet. I expect that we'll have a blast. In the meantime I should receive my new camera that I ordered this morning, so the blog will probably have lots of pictures from the weekend next weekend. Our hotel has wi-fi, so I'll try to update nightly. What fun!!

Plans are to take the dogs out tonight for a quick and fun 2 mile run. They were very nonplussed the last time I ran them, so I'm going to make sure that they have a really good time tonight. I'll let you know how it goes. Until then, enjoy the rest of the pictures below.

Boudreaux has a post-weigh-in nap.

Mom and giganti-puppies

Monday, January 28, 2008

Playing Hooky and Puppy Portraits

Friday was an absolutely gorgeous day. There was almost a foot of new snow on the ground and the sun was out. I absolutely couldn't stand it anymore and had to leave work early so I could try to take the dogs out for a little run!

In typical Leslie-fashion, things couldn't go off without a hitch. I had the brilliant idea of, since there was so much snow on the ungroomed trails, using the Tim White toboggan sled for the nice new powder. About 100 yards into my run, I realized my grave error in judgement when I noticed the snow piling up, and up, and up on the snowmachine drag that serves as my drag pad between the runners. (For those who are not familiar with sled design, the drag pad drags on the ground between your runners and it helps you to steer and to slow the sled gently without having to use your actual brake, which is prong-shaped and tends to stop you suddenly as well as rut the trail.) Well, that's not such a bad thing, I thought, as I kicked the snow away. What will a little snow hurt? Just about that time, we ground to a halt in the middle of the trail. What the...??? I looked down to find that the drag pad was wedged between my runners underneath the footpads (where you stand) and it was being held up tightly by a huge pile of snow.

I suppose that now would be a great time to tell you that my drag was a last-minute accessory last year! Lexi and I kinda rigged something up and threw it on there and it's not really "designed" to fit my sled. In fact, the drag is just barely narrow enough to fit between the runners. It is, apparently, NOT narrow enough to fit both between the runners and between the foot pads on top of the runners, which overhang the runners on each side. As we were sledding, the increasing amount of loose powder was steadily piling up underneath the drag mat and was pushing the mat up against the bottom of the footpad until the amount of drag increased so much that we just STOPPED. Hmm. The fact that the drag was tightly wedged underneath the footpads did not make it very easy to remove the snow from underneath it...I ended up kicking the brake up with my foot and kicking the drag mat and...still no luck in dislodging the snow. My dogs were ready to go but we sure weren't going anywhere. Finally I could kick enough snow free that we could get started again and then we would slow to a stop after a few hundred feet. This happened over and over again until finally I got sick of it and I kicked the drag mat to the right and stood on it on top of my right runner, so that it was totally out of the way and I was riding without a drag.

Now, I am not a great sled driver so this was really taking a leap of faith for me but I did manage to finish the six mile run just fine, even with a few passes. Nobody crashed into my sled (which they did the last time I was out -- oh joy!) but I did manage to break it all by myself. As we pulled into the staging area, Zed decided to hang a right and go over to another musher's truck. I kept telling him "haw" but as someone once pointed out to me, sometimes it is difficult to convince Zed that you know better when he thinks that HE knows better. We kept going back and forth with each-other, with me hopping off of the sled and going up and pulling him over to the left and with him going back to the right by the time I would get back to the sled. This happened at least a dozen times but I was very patient with him -- I do not want my leader to lose trust in me because I got frustrated with him. Dogs do not understand losing your temper -- they just think you've gone certifiably nuts and they think they'd better avoid you from now on because you're unpredictable.

Finally Zed decided that what I meant was that we were heading back out onto the trail so he did a complete 180 and turned the sled all the way around!! I almost flipped. When he did this, the UMHW plastic bed of my toboggan cracked beacuse my snowhook line was putting a lot of pressure on it (I think it is getting brittle from age). I heard the noise and saw a piece of the front of the bed snap off. All I could think was "I hope the snowhooks hold!!" because if Zed had popped them loose, off and away down the trail the team would have gone without me. On about the fifteenth try, I did get him headed in the right direction and we finished driving over to the truck. Believe it or not, the dog got a frozen hamburger patty for being such a little pipsqueak. The sled is still useable but it don't look purty. :)

Sunday we went over to Bonnie's to get some puppy pictures. Boy, those critters are growing by the day!! Boudreaux weighed in at 960 grams yesterday! They are looking more and more like dogs and less like sled rats, thankfully. The occasional brown spot from Zed is making its appearance and it's nice to see a little bit of their daddy in them. Below we have the latest pics --

Boudreaux. Look how dark his nose is now!

Gumbo with nose spots!

File' has such a pretty face

Puppy butts

I didn't get a good picture of Tasso so we will have to put an extra one up next time!! Poor Tasso. She is such a cutie. She loves to nurse upside down (I have no idea why??)

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Do the Dew

Yesterday (Tuesday) was the day to "Do the Dew" -- that is, to remove the dewclaws from the 3-day-old puppies. Removing dewclaws, while uncomfortable for the puppies, is a necessary evil in the event that they are ever run with booties on. Dogs with dewclaws can have major problems when wearing booties -- often the bootie wraps around the ankle just above the dewclaw and can cause the dewclaw to be compressed against the leg and rub the leg raw. This isn't a pleasant situation for the dog and it can even be dangerous if it becomes infected.

Bonnie and Jim's friend, Jenny, came by last night to take the dew claws off. This consisted of using a hemostat to crush and then remove the dewclaw from the leg. It's not a big deal for the puppies but is uncomfortable and they do object at first. They do make some noise, but soon after, they settle back down to sleep and nurse and forget the whole ordeal. Of course, Mom has to be removed from the situation because she might be upset at the puppies' noises!

Here above, DeeDee relaxes with her little charges just before the dewclaw work began.

Matt and Jim put pressure on the dewclaw areas to staunch bleeding. Matt has Boudreaux and Jim has Tasso.

A great picture of me, I know. I am doing the same thing to Gumbo.

These little guys are gaining weight at an amazing rate! They are changing a little every single day. Now their coat colors are becoming more apparent and their noses are beginning to darken up to black rather than pink. Below is the current weight of each puppy along with the birth weight:

  1. Boudreaux - 620 grams (birth weight 500 grams)
  2. File' - 580 grams (birth weight 380 grams)
  3. Gumbo - 480 grams (birth weight 300 grams)
  4. Tasso - 440 grams (birth weight 300 grams)

On the topic of dogsledding, we recently experienced a wonderful phenomenon (read that wich much sarcasm) called a Chinook. Yesterday it was up to 45 degrees and all of the snow began to melt. The roads and sidewalks were so slick that it was difficult to stand up sometimes! Reports of trail conditions at Beach Lake were that the snow was crusted and soft, almost a slurry. I was really beginning to worry about how the trails would hold up for sledding in the immediate future, but this morning I woke up to a 28 degree morning and around 10" of new snow in the yard! New snow on top of the crusty ice will be better than the crusty ice by itself, so I am much happier than I was this time yesterday. Plans for this evening are to go Cross Country Skiing with the husband and hopefully to take the dogs out again tomorrow.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Puppy Pictures!

Here we have our first photos of the little ones! The puppy to the left is Tasso, a female. She is mostly white and has some black on her face and nowhere else on her body.

This is File', also a female. She is mostly black with white on the tip of her tail and on several other parts of her body. Such a nice, shiny black!!

This is Gumbo, a male. He is mostly white with black and a wee smidgen of brown near his face. He makes the cutest noises!

This is Boudreaux, the big boy! He is a black-brown color with white interspersed.

I will post more pictures as soon as they are available!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Four Healthy Puppies

After a long and exhausting day, I am happy to report that DeeDee was carrying four healthy puppies.  I do not say that she "delivered" them because she actually had a C-section.  After several hours of nonproductive labor this morning we took DeeDee to the vet to be checked out.  Dr. Brown determined that Dee had a vaginal tumor that was blocking the birth canal and would not allow the puppies to pass although Dee was trying her best to deliver them vaginally.  After a short bit of thought, Jim and Bonnie elected to do a C-section / Spay on DeeDee.

Jim and I had the puppies still in their amniotic sacs placed into our hands at which point we tore the sack open and removed the puppy from the sack, vigorously rubbing the puppy to stimulate respiration and awareness.  All of the puppies got "slung" to clear their airways and two of them actually had "mouth to nose" respiration until they began breathing steadily on their own.

Many hours later now, Dee is back home and our four little ones are nursing happily.  We have two males and two females.  This litter does, indeed, have a Cajun theme.  The largest (whopper!) male is named Boudreaux.  He is black with a brown undercoat.  The other male is named Gumbo, and he is white with black spots.  The black female is named File and the white female with a few black spots is named Tasso.  Not a single one of them looks like Zed!!  Unbelievable but true! DeeDee is going to be a wonderful mother and although she had surgery today, she is already taking great care of her little ones.

No pictures today in order to keep from disturbing her much.  Tomorrow we will get pictures of each little pup and I will post them!  For now, I am off to take care of my own "kids."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Ahh....Quiet and Crashless

I finally recovered my courage and wherewithal last night enough to take the dogs out for a run with the sled (by myself.)  When I got there I was pleasantly surprised to find, for once, that there were others at the trail at 9 pm on a Thursday night.  In fact, one of them was Eric.  He had just done 14 miles with an 8 dog string on his Hans Gatt sled.  After some pleasant chit-chat I began to hook my dogs up and it struck me -- What nice dogs I have!  I don't mean to brag here...I just mean that they're exactly what I had in mind when I began putting my team together.  What I mean is:
  • Zed is a calm, composed, and totally collected leader.  He takes commands well and has impressed me with his smarts and his willingness to run single lead and hold the line out when I'm hooking up. 
  • Balu is my happy guy who can also run lead and not much ruffles him. 
  • Calvin wants to be up front but he doesn't have all of the knowledge yet -- but he will learn.  He is eager to please and is bonded to me. 
  • Clover is a true work-horse and is sweetness all over.  She likes to ride in the car standing in the cargo area with her back feet and with her front feet resting on my shoulder (most of her weight is on my seat). 
  • Indi is still reluctant to do a whole lot but he does what I ask, and he is so danged cute and such a great house dog that I just can't complain about him. 
  • ALL of my dogs stand nicely when we stop on the trail.  So far there is no harness banging and I haven't even really needed a snowhook.  (Of course I have set one.)  They stop when I say "whoa" and they wait for me to tell them it's ok to get going again.
  • They are all learning to be quiet at feeding time.
I can't complain!  This is my "dream team".  That's not to say that they won't run my sled into trees, or leave me behind on the trail if I dump the sled even if I'm screaming "whoa!" ...I'm sure they will.  After all, they're dogs.  I just mean that I love these guys and they are everything I had wanted and more.
Our run last night went great.  I think my dogs think they're part of a sprint team -- they loped for all four miles that we ran.  <grin>  Somehow I think that they'll slow down when we get back to doing 10+ mile runs.
In other news, Bonnie has told me that DeeDee's temperature is down to 98.5 F.  I see her whelping in the imminent future!  I'm gonna be a grandma!!  I will post pics as soon as they are available.
Happy Friday!


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Update on Zed x DeeDee Puppies

Bonnie had DeeDee radiographed yesterday at her prenatal visit.  She does, indeed have four puppies!  I think it's the perfect number to have in a litter -- just enough and yet not too many to be easily managed.  Supposedly the theme for the litter will be "Cajun" which goes wonderfully with Lagniappe Kennel's name.  :)  Expect to have some little ones named "Gumbo", "Tasso", "Boudain" and "Pirogue" or the like.  Of course, I will post updates to the blog the minute that DeeDee begins labor.  She is expected to whelp next Tuesday but Bonnie is supposed to begin taking her temperature on Friday in case she decides to deliver early.  Her temp should drop to around 99 by delivery time.
I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

When in doubt, go to the gym...

It's been a while since my last post, and obviously a lot has happened, so I'll start with last week and work forward.

Friday night, it began to snow and I was itching to get out with the dogs. Matt was home from the slope so I conned him into helping me tie the sled onto the top of the Land Cruiser and promising to be a willing passenger in the sled if I'd let him drive some, too. Away we went to the dog trails. Amazingly, I didn't forget anything and we left the staging area without a hitch with me driving and Matt in the basket. After once around the two mile trail, I asked him if he wanted to drive. He jumped at the chance, complaining about the twig that had "stabbed him in the eye" while he was a passenger. Hmm, them's the breaks of being a passenger, I thought to myself. You have no control over where you're going or what's ahead! So I climbed into the basket myself and he drove me another time around the two mile. Annoyingly, he is quite a good sled driver even though he's only driven two or three times in his life. I suppose it has something to do with him be athletic (a marathoner) and a lot stronger than I am...and weighing more. Grr. I booted him out of the basket and did one more pass around the two mile trail by myself, with my headlamp off and the basket empty, just to try and get more of a feel for sled driving. I wouldn't say I'm a natural at this -- my balance is ok but I'm not the fastest-moving person in the world, so I'm taking things slow and easy if I can. At that point, Zed was annoyed that we had been around the loop THREE times so he flew past the U-turn (I wasn't going to go around again anyhow) and we headed back into the staging area.

All in all, the dogs seemed very happy that they had gotten out to stretch their legs, even if it was a bit repetitive. I remembered that I had the camera in the car and managed to snap a few pictures at the posts. Zed's "happy look" just cracks me up...that look is THE look that he gets when he runs. Happy to be alive!

Clover has a funny look on her face, too, for sure. It almost looks like I startled her! I wish that blue eyes photographed better -- her eyes always look red and it's not becoming of her.

On Sunday, Matt and I had to run into Anchorage to make a pass through Costco. It was a gorgeous day filled with sun and glimmering snow, so we decided to drive up Arctic Valley Rd. and take a look around. I snapped a few photos of the view from the road. What a gorgeous view! You can see Mt. Susitna in the distance in one of these photos. I tell you what, some days, living in Alaska gets old, but other days I can't say enough good about the beauty that there is all around us here.

Yesterday (Monday) I felt pretty spunky when I got home from work, and I debated for a while whether to go to the gym (which I needed to do) or to take the dogs out for a run (which the dogs needed to do). After hemming and hawing for a half hour while I ate my dinner, I settled upon taking the dogs out. After all, they needed the exercise. Since Matt is now back in Kaparuk, I decided that the safest thing to do (with me being a newbie sled driver) would be for me to take the dogs out with the ATV. Enter problem #1 -- the ATV had been sitting for over a week and hadn't been started. I sauntered out to the trailer expecting problems, and sure enough, there they were to greet me. The battery sounded weak (it was, after all, 0 degrees F at the time). I managed to string up three extension cords and drag them down the driveway enough to hook up my battery charger to the ATV to recharge the battery. Well, that would present a slight delay, so I ran into Eagle River in the meanwhile to gas up my truck. When I got back, I checked the battery charger and it said "FUL" -- indicating that the battery was fully charged. I tried to start it and it immediately cranked for me, which was a good sign. Maybe the night would go off without a hitch, I thought. Little did I know.

The coupler on the trailer was cranky and didn't want to close due to the snow and ice that had accumulated on it. A bit of work got it and the trailer ball to agree with each-other once again, so I loaded all five dogs and took off for the trails.

When I arrived, there wasn't a soul out there. I honestly like nights when I'm the only person using the trails, but they do have their drawbacks. For instance, if one were to have trouble on the trail, there is a 0% chance of encountering anyone who might be able to help you. That's something key to remember, you see :)

Within a few minutes, I had the ATV out of the trailer, the dogs hooked up and we were ready to go. I stayed around five minutes extra or so, trying to let them settle. Clover was having a fit to get going and all of that screaming drives me nuts. I thought she might give up after a few minutes but it turned out that I would be the one to give up. I shrugged my shoulders, silently cursing her insane physical conditioning with Ed Iten (she was up to 70 mile runs when I got her) and I hopped on the ATV. It cranked right up for me, again (which was odd! I should have been suspicious!) and away we went.

We were making pretty good time up the trail, getting at least 1/2 mile out of the staging area to the point where the trail begins to rise up a hill, when suddenly, the ATV gave a couple of coughs and promptly sputtered and died. Curses!! The dogs set to screaming in impatience and I tried to get the danged thing to crank again to no avail. After about ten attempts, I sat scratching my head, wondering just exactly how I was going to get myself out of this pickle.

I know, I thought, I'll just drag the ATV around and maybe the dogs can pull me back to the staging area in neutral. Off I hopped and I grabbed the front rack on the ATV and began hauling away at it with all of my might.

Tug, tug, tug. Pant. Tug, tug. Pant some more. Whew, a couple of inches progress! Now to the back of the ATV to move the rear end. Tug, tug, tug. Pant. Tug, tug. Pant some more. Repeat each sequence a dozen times. Slowly I realized that I was making little to no progress anymore.


I had gotten the ATV turned cross-ways in the trail but couldn't get it any further. I think that the dang thing weighs 850 lb, or at least that's what it says on the ATV/Snowmachine title that I have. (Could it really weigh that much?)

Drat, drat, drat. I tried to start the ATV again but to no avail. By this time, the battery started to sound lazy and I gave up. Who do I call?? Matt is gone, Jim is taking care of Bonnie, who had suffered an unfortunate accident last week...Lexi doesn't have an ATV anymore...ack! Enter my dear friend, Eric. I very apologetically made the phonecall at 9 pm (Eric is an early-to-bed type) and I explained my situation. He very calmly said he'd see me in a few minutes and that he was bringing his ATV to tow me back to the staging area. I closed my phone and then began the task of walking the dogs back to the truck.

First I had to tie the snub line to a tree so nobody would tangle while I was gone. I fished out the leash that I keep in my ATV bag and figured I could put a dog on one end and loop through a collar on the other, so that's what I did and I took off with Zed (great on a leash) and Calvin (decent on a leash.) When I made it to the car I realized that my keys were in my heavy parka on the ATV. DAMN. I pulled out my airline cables from the trailer and strung them out and put Zed and Calvin on them and then headed back for Balu and Clover. Balu is marginal on a leash (but is great with a halti, which I did not have) and Clover is HORRIBLE. I finally just turned Balu loose alltogether and hoped that he'd run back to the truck and visit with my other dogs, which he did. Clover and I had words many times on the way back to the staging area and I think she thinks I'm a crazy woman and I've lost my mind. If you ask her, I'm sure that's what she'll say, 'cause I kept yelling at her and trying not to be drug down the trail face-first in the meanwhile. By the time I made it back on this second trip, I was very hot and clammy in all of my heavy clothes in that zero degree weather. Trudge, trudge, trudge. Some more walking finally and I was back to Indi, who had been left by himself. Just as I was hooking the leash to his collar, I saw the headlights of an approaching ATV which, thankfully, was Eric's. I put Indi into a crate on the back of the ATV and hooked my gang line to Eric's trailer hitch and we tooled back to the trailer, and after much effort, got the danged ATV back up the ramp into the trailer.

So, all was good, or so I thought. After many thanks, I set out for home and made it about a mile before I realized that something just didn't seem right. Hmm. Head count. One short! Indi!! He was still in the crate on the back of Eric's ATV! OH MY GOSH, I am such a bad mother to forget my dog!!! So I just pulled over and waited for Eric to come by. In the meanwhile, he had realized the same thing and pulled over when he saw me stopped. We did a quick-change and I was back on the road again.

I finally made it home around 10 and had to feed the dogs, at which time Zed managed to clothesline me with his chain and I went flying across the dog lot to land on my back. Ouch. After sharing a bit of my mind with him (he didn't understand a thing I said) I hobbled to bed, already very sore from trying to move the ATV and now the flat-on-my-back fall. I curled up with Calvin and my iPod and drifted off to sleep but was awakened by an EARTHQUAKE. Can't a girl get any peace???

Today, I still haven't decided what to do this evening, but the more I think about it the more I think....when in doubt, go to the gym!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Winter Blues

It's odd to me that I spent all year looking forward to winter and now I almost dread the thought of taking the dogs out for a run.  It's not the running the dogs part that's the drag, it's the thought of going out in the cold and hooking up the trailer to my truck, getting water and snacks ready to go, backing out of my tricky driveway with the trailer, going up the steep and icy hill to turn around, and then driving all the way to the track where my ATV may or may not start.  <sigh>  Yes, I know, I'm whining.  I am extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to even have this hobby and a husband who supports it, I shouldn't gripe.
I really do think the darkness is beginning to get to me.  I hope to take the dogs out during the day at least once this weekend.  Fingers crossed!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Knik Results

Well, I never have gotten those photos from Bonnie so I have nothing new to upload. :( I do have a bit more detailed description of the start and the race finish day, for those who are interested.

Lexi, Bonnie and I arrived at Knik Bar at about 9:30 on Saturday morning. Most of the mushers' trucks were already parked on the lake, so we simply had to locate where Eric's truck was parked. He had drawn bib #4 so we knew he'd be 4th to the start line. Once we parked and got situated, it was time to get down to business. We brothed all of the dogs with baited water and then gave out meat snacks (lamb) to everyone. After waiting a few minutes for things to digest and the dogs to settle down and get comfortable, I started harnessing dogs while Eric continued to get his sled packed and ready to go.

During the waiting/settling period, I had the chance to meet one of Zed's old owners, Dr. Robert Buntzen. Robert was running two of Zed's grandkids in his team, Acci and Dent. They had much of Zed's "look" to them -- black and tan, mostly, with lots of his facial expressions. Interesting to watch, for sure. They made me smile. Zack (Steer) was also racing, and he drew bib #1 so I had very little time to talk to him. I didn't want to bother him while he was getting ready but I did get to say "hi".

When the time got near, Lexi and Bonnie bootied the dogs and we began hooking up the team. Eric's dogs all know me, so they are relatively easy to handle. We steered Eric to the chute and he was off across the lake, waving to the crowd before I knew it.

We did also help Mike Suprenant's team to the starting chute, which didn't go so smoothly. His dogs don't know me, they don't wear necklines, and they don't seem especially easy to handle in general, but that's a story for another day.

After we finished with those duties, Bonnie and I made the rounds to watch other racers depart. Gerri Willomitzer, Ryan Redington, Ken Anderson, a Seavey (don't know which one?), Ed Stielstra, Sabastian Schnuelle and Justin Savidis were all racers whom I recognized. It was interesting watching each one of them with their dogs and their approach to doing things. Everything from types of sleds to types of quick releases, dogs, and lines were different. Well, I suppose it's what makes the world go 'round!

That's all for now...the finish of the race was early on Sunday morning (about 10 AM) and I didn't make it out there for that. Sunday evening we did help get Eric's dogs put up and Eric packed up and I made it home around 9. Whew, sheer exhaustion.

As for me, I haven't made it out with my own dogs since last week. I am getting a case of the winter blahs, I think, much as i did last year. No motivation, constantly sleepy, and gaining poundage by the day, it seems. :) I'm looking forward to getting a little more sun sometime soon.

How about today? :)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Handling for the Knik 200

Don't have much time, but wanted to post a video and some pictures of the Knik 200 race held in Knik today but the video won't load. The race started at 11 AM and Eric started shortly thereafter. Bonnie, Lexi and I handled both for Eric and for Mike Suprenant, another local racer.

It was about 5 degrees out when we first arrived at 9:30 and I think it warmed up to a grand total of 10 degrees F. Before we left, it had started to snow and the wind had kicked up a bit. There was low cloud cover so I'm sure it made for a fun and interesting run to Skwentna!

Eric should finish between 2 and 4 PM tomorrow so we'll be back out to pick him up . Tomorrow morning, Lexi and I are planning on visiting a sledmaker in the area to have Bonnie's sled repaired and also to visit and look at their Icelandic ponies. Ahh, I drool over the Icelandic ponies. What perfect horses for this area! Wish I could have one, but alas,a I think that my riding days are probably over.

We will be nabbing some more pictures tomorrow. In the meanwhile, Bonnie snapped this photo (top of post) of me and Mocha. She's a funny girl - a real cheerleader!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year from Lagniappe Kennel!

Ah, God, this blogger is so much easier to use for posting. I love it!! :)

Today we celebrated New Year's Day by taking all FIVE puppies for a jaunt. Yes, I did actually take Clover even though she is in heat. She has been so hyper that she's driving me nuts. I put her in wheel with Indi and I put Balu and Zed in lead, so Calvin was in single in-between them. I did see Zed raise a doggy eyebrow when I hooked her into the team. "Wow, you brought the chick!" he said. From back in the wheel position I scowled at him and said "ZED, DON'T YOU DARE. LINE OUT!" He looked chastened and resumed his duties of holding the line out.

I decided to try to add a little mileage today, so we ran 12 miles. Honestly, I think the team would have done better with 10 but 12 certainly didn't hurt them. I saw Calvin and Indi stop pulling somewhere in the last mile, though, so I know they were tired. No worries though, everyone was happy when we came in and they all got a hamburger patty. The dog lot is nice and quiet tonight, though. :)

I got the chance to snap three pictures before I thought I might be in someone's way if I sat any longer. I thought I was the only person out that far, although there were tons of trucks in the parking lot. All of those people seemed to be using sleds and going on the 2 mile trail, though, so I was pretty relaxed until I got to the spot where I took these pictures and saw one team with an ATV coming off of Dee Lake and another one behind me going onto the lake. Yikes! Surrounded by dog teams! I put the camera away and hurried onward.

The first photo shows the typical dog pose when resting: either dipping snow or, like Clover, doing the "stop and flop", as I call it. The second photo is of the beautiful scenery that I could see from our rest point.

This evening, we had a lovely visit at Eric and Marti's house, complete with a delicious dinner and lots of dog talk. How can it get any better? If this is what the year is going to be like, bring on 2008!!

Happy New Year from Lagniappe Kennel!

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