Friday, April 3, 2009

Meet Tuuli

This is Tuuli, who is to be the newest addition to Lagniappe Kennel. I am picking her up from Bree Little tomorrow while I swap leased dogs out with her. Jake Berkowitz and Jeff King both ran leased Little dogs in this year's Iditarod, and now it's time for them to go back to their home. I'll be facilitating that.....and will be acquiring at least one dog along the way! Also while I'm out and about I'll be looking at two dogs that Zack Steer has for sale -- Saturn and Pluto. More later on these two.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

News about Zed

Not long after I wrote the last post, the temperature came back up above zero. We had probably a week of "normal" weather, and then here we are below zero AGAIN! I ran the dogs last night and it was -15. Brr!

Well, so this post is supposed to be about Zed. Mr. Zed had been waking up on the mornings after his runs and he was visibly quite sore in the hind end, either lower back or hips. The other night when Matt got back from running the dogs, Zed screamed as Matt went to take him out of the dog box on the truck. That's when I decided that it was time for a veterinary visit to see what was going on.

On Monday I hauled him in to our vet, Dr. Joe Grohs, whom I really respect. After recounting the problem to him, Dr. Grohs decided to take several x-rays of Zed to see if any defects were visible. We gave him a combination pain killer and sedative and plunked him down on the x-ray table. A few shots later we had what we were looking for. I joined Dr. Grohs in the developing room to see how the x-rays turned out.

The vet clinic's x-rays are digital, so they can be saved on a computer or emailed. Dr. Grohs was nice enough to give me a copy of the x-rays so I could keep my own set. I'll be posting one as soon as I can. Anyway, to make a long story short, we determined that Zed has spondylopathy of his last lumbar vertebra. That is to say, he has some calcifications around his vertebra that are slowly encroaching on the next vertebra and may eventually fuse the two together. This is probably the origin of Zed's pain and it means that he will be laid off for the rest of the season, if not permanently. We will x-ray him again in three months and see if there has been any progression, and then again three months after that. Hopefully his vertebra will fuse and he will be pain-free because of that. Then he can get back to running.

I have to say, this makes me pretty sad and disappointed. Zed was really my main man, my go-to guy who really gave me a solid front end to my team. He was training Zak and Skiff to be leaders as well. Now I will have to make do with the younger guys running by themselves, which could be really interesting! Last night Zak and Skiff were in lead together and things went off without a hitch, but we'll have to see what happens when they're put into a hairy situation. Will they be able to be the strong leaders that I need them to be? I guess we'll have to wait and find out. Only time will tell.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Life below zero

Bonnie and me at the Knik 200 Start

Just before leaving

Teams lined up for the start of the race

Mike asks me if I'd like to help him harness dogs

The dog yard these days

The past week or so has been brutally cold for us in the Anchorage area.  Granted, folks in Fairbanks deal with temperatures much worse than this (as they are currently doing!) but for Pete's sake, we don't live in Fairbanks!  Currently my thermometer here at the house is reading -17.5 F.  The dogs are all snuggled into the straw in their houses and not too many folks are outside doing things today.  Bonnie and I were exceptions.

This morning we went to the Knik 200 sled dog race in Knik, which is just across the Knik arm of the inlet from us.  It takes about 45 minutes to get over there even though as the crow flies, surely it's only a few miles from where I live.  The temperature at the Knik was a balmy -25 F.  Folks were bundled to the hilt and I saw more fur on people than I've seen in a while.  Fur is a wonderful, wonderful thing!  Mike Suprenant was running the race and of course, like we always do, Bonnie and I got roped into helping him get ready and get to the starting chute :)  We never can be just spectators, I swear!   But anyway, we got Mike safely out of there and spent the rest of the time taking photos of random mushers.  Jake Berkowitz, Allen Moore, and Karin Hendrickson were among those that we knew.

Well, here are a few pictures of life below zero.  Enjoy!

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