Friday, November 14, 2008

Another Eventful Week and a Wolf Update

Zed (foreground) and File' (back left). Think they're related??

All of the dogs tethered. Wow!

The last week has been pretty action-packed. I had a dog run away, we had our first run on sleds, my sister-in law came for a visit, and Wolf had his splint removed, just to name a few things that happened. I guess I shouldn't just lump that all into one sentence and should expand a little bit. :)

As for having a dog run away, the run last week should have started out well. It really should have -- I was prepared to the T even though I was running without the aid of Matt (who was out of town). Well we made it to the trails uneventfully, at least. But that's about where it ended.

Bonnie decided to join me and ride on the back of the ATV for the short, 5 mile run that I had planned. Because she's not too familiar with my dogs and where I usually put them in the team, I hooked up mostly by myself. There must have been a dog in heat in the staging area before us because I simply could not get Zed to focus. He wandered around sniffing here and there and managed to wrap the entire team around the pole at the staging area rather than keeping them lined out like he was supposed to. I, being my brilliant self, decided that the tangle was too complex and I needed to start undoing tug lines. Zed was first, and I turned him loose because he wouldn't go anywhere. I thought. I looked up to see that he was trotting away, down the trail away from me. DRAT! I threw the rest of the dogs back onto the drop chains and took off down the trail on foot trying to get Zed to come back, to no avail. About halfway to the point where I turned around, I was tackled from behind. What the ???? It was Clover, she had gotten loose from Bonnie and had come bounding down the trail after me. Oh great, another loose dog! Well, lucky for me that Clover used to be Ruth Iten's loose walking dog. She followed me right back to the ATV where I decided I'd go look for Zed. Just about the time I got all of the dogs unhooked from the ATV, I turned around to find Zed milling around in the midst of them. UGH. I was absolutely disgusted and I told him so!

We hooked up and took off for a nice run that included a same-direction pass of a Siberian team. I'm not sure who it was but it was no trouble at all and made me breathe a sigh of relief that at least something went right.

Later that night I decided to bring a dog in for some one-on-one time. I picked Skiff because the other dogs had been beating up on her, and I thought she deserved a confidence boost. Skiff is an interesting dog. She seems almost skittish, but she's really not, she's just confidently cautious. She's not scared in the least. New situations don't seem to bother her, and being inside was certainly no exception. I left her loose and didn't really pay too much attention to where she was or what she was doing. After about half an hour, I realized I hadn't seen her anywhere or heard her at the other end of the house. Where was she? I peeped in my bathroom and, lo and behold, Skiff was there, in the bathtub, making herself perfectly comfortable. What in the world?? I picked her up and took her out of the tub but it seemed that she wanted to be somewhere secure (high?) because she immediately climbed onto the bathroom counter top. Silly, silly dog! I relieved her by taking her back outside and she immediately went into her dog house. I just never know what they're thinking.

Skiff in the tub

Skiff on the counter top!

Several days later I learned that my sister-in-law, Rachel, would be coming up to Alaska for a whirlwind visit. Well, I thought to myself, this calls for breaking out the sled! There is still not enough snow in Chugiak to use the sled, so away we went to Nancy Lake, about an hour North of us. I put Rachel in the sled and we ran 9 miles on a closed, unplowed road. To say that it was snowing a little would be an understatement -- there was a veritable blizzard going on! It was so hard to see that I had to pull my hood down as far as it would go and stare at my wheel dogs rather than look where we were going. Never fear, Zed was in lead (with Clover) and I didn't think he'd lead us astray. He didn't disappoint.

Rachel and me before heading up to Nancy Lake

The sled post-run

Rachel post-run

Off the topic of my own dogs, it's time for an update on Wolf! He is doing so fantastically well that he doesn't even have a splint on anymore. His pressure sores from his bandage are healing very nicely and his fur is beginning to come back where they shaved him for his surgery. Every night Wolf gets to spend a few hours without his "hat" (his Elizabethan collar) on. I don't think he really needs it anymore, but until those wounds are totally healed, I'll keep it on him just to be on the safe side.

With so much time in his kennel, Wolf probably has a lot to think about -- like how he'd like to collect things off of the floor in the bedroom and stash them in his crate. Seriously. The other morning I found him with a hat and one of my slippers. He was babysitting them in his crate and looked pretty disappointed that I took them away from him. Silly dog. I'm so proud of him for being such a trooper through this whole ordeal. Here's hoping he makes someone a fantastic recreational sled/bed dog!

Wolf with his loot (my pink slipper and a hat)
Until next time...

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