Monday, 8 August 2016

NorthWapiti's Wolverine

NorthWapiti's Wolverine
August 1, 2005 - August 8, 2016

Wolvie was certainly not the next dog I expected to be writing an obituary for. But kidney failure hit my handsome boy fast, hard and unforgivingly. What a nasty bitch of a disease.

Wolvie was simply a beautiful dog - beautiful in body, beautiful in his mind, and a beautiful worker. He did his job exceedingly well, without drama or fuss. I don't ever recall raising my voice at him or having to reprimand him for anything.

In 2012 he and I road tripped together to the US Siberian Husky Nationals in Utah and had a great trip. He was a perfect roomie and took everything (other then a cool bath that he complained loudly throughout) with complete professionalism. I was so very proud of him and pleased to have him 'representing' the kennel there.

A consummate gentleman and a great friend. I can't believe he is gone.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Blueberry Picking Time - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies!

I hope you are all out enjoying your beautiful weather, or hiding from the oppressive heat, or cowering from the flash floods, or whatever you are doing, but having fun or somethings... and stuffs.

We all went out for our ceremonial Blueberry picking festivities!!!

We ran, but the Musher rode her trusty fat bike... erm, that seems a bit harsh... her full-figured bike!

Twig:  Is this it?  I don't see any blueberries, are blueberries a vegible?

Because blueberries are tasty, tasty to bears, we go along to alert the musher if any bears come along.

Twig:  BEAR!!!!!
Bet:  No Twig, not THAT Bear, real bears

Twig: There's no need to yell at me, you just said "bear", and that's BEAR!

Zac: This is kinda nice... when do we herd the blueberries?

Bet: You don't herd blueberries, you just lay in the blueberries and keep an eye out for bears

Zac: There's one right there!

Bear: Did someone call me?  Is there food?

Twig: See, I told you there was a bear!

Twig:  Oooh, excuse me, must be the broccoolie
Zac: I'm not coming over there, stay downwind

Bet: Is ANYONE keeping an eye out for bears?  

Twig:  Yep, he's right over there

Bear: What?  Do you guys need something?  Did someone bring sandwiches?

Bet: Twig, go guard the bicycle, I'm going to go check on the Musher

Twig: I think I heard something... it might be a Bear!

Twig:  HEYYYY!  Where did everyones go??? I think I heard a bear!!!

Bet: Yes Twig... it's BEAR?! ugh, seriously?

Twig: Hey, what are these blue berry things?  Nom nom, hey, they're pretty tasty!

Twig: Nommy nom euuuw... Bear, when was the last time you had a bath?  Move, you're stinking up the berries!

Bear: That's not very nice, I was up guarding all night, I haven't had time to freshen up

So, the Musher picked some berries, Twig ate so many she's pooing blue, and Zac wasn't exactly thrilled with the whole adventure-less adventure.

I just went home and took a nap because ooosh, that's exhausting work.

- Bet

Friday, 8 July 2016

Herding Trials as Explained by Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies, and what an exciting time we've been having lately!

Normally in the summers, we just lounge around and wait for it to snow, but now with a house full of Coolies, the Musher has a warm weather thing to do!  Herding Trials!!!

Oh no!  Not that kind of herding trials, although those baa baa sheepy things do deserve to be put away for good.

I'm talking about the Herding Trials where we Coolies go out and make the baa baa sheepie things go where we tell them to go.  Full disclosure: after the movie "Babe" the baa baa sheepy things changed their stupid secret code, so that doesn't work any more... stupid movie.

Anyhoooo, where was I... oh yes, the herdie trials!

The Musher took Zac to a herdie trials thingamabob the other week.

Ok, I must admit that calling her "The Musher" when she's herdy herding is a bit weird, so maybe the Merder... um... that sounds oogie.  The Husher!

Ok, so the Husher took Zac to the herdie trials doohickey the other week, and since she's never done herdity herdy herding trials, she should have started out at the 'Novice' level, but Zac is a professional herdie herder Coolie, and he's been trialed at a higher level with his previous owner, Noelle Williams.  That means that they had to compete at the 'Pro Novice' level.  Wow!  No pressure there at all.

Zac assured the Husher that he had her back, and he sure did!

This is how the herdity herdy herding trials work:  You start off with 90 points (you may want to go get a calculator now), and if you make mistakes, they take points off.  The judge assigns an allowed time to get through the course.

Everybodies starts at the post.

Probably not what it looks like
The handler must stay at the post until the sheep have negotiated the second set of drive panels, after which time they need to move to the pen.

I have no idea what all that means, so let's take a look at the professional Husher drawing of the course, which I'm sure will make everything crystal clear.

Umm... are those rabbits?

Ok, how about a drawing with subtitles:

I'm pretty sure those are rabbits, but whatever...

Ok, so the first part is the "OutRun", where the Coolie runs out to the rabbits... I mean sheepie things.  The goal is to have the coolie run around and behind the sheeps without disturbing them.  Disturbed sheeps tend to flee willy nilly.

The goal of the "OutRun" is to run out, but not too far bendy and wasting time (lose points), and not too straight and freaking out the sheeps (lose points and sheep poo all over).  The Coolie has to do the outrun all by themselves, if the handler has to correct them... yep, they lose points.

The Lift is where the Coolie makes contact with the sheeps and begins to move them.  This is supposed to look like the sheeps up and decided to move on their own, perhaps a group decision to go get some coffee and croissant (as sheep like to do).

The lines that the sheeps move in is very important.  They need to move in a direct line between each obstacle.  Points are taken off for being off-line or if all sheep don't negotiate an obstacle.

After the lift, the Coolie needs to move the sheeps (with direction if needed) in a straight line to the handler, moving the sheeps through the Fetch panels.

The sheeps then need to 'Turn the post' going around the handler and in a straight line to the first set of Drive panels

Note - a sheepdog's instinct is to bring the sheep to the handler, so 'driving' the sheep away from the handler - or cross the field is a trained skill.

The sheeps go through first set of drive panels, across to the second set and then to the pen, where the handler will have opened the gate and waiting.

The sheep are driven in the pen and the handler closes the gate.

There are commands for each of those maneuvers, either by voice or a whistle.

So, the voice commands for all of that are:
"Away to me" - Circle counter clockwise
"Come By" - Circle Clockwise
"Walk Up" - Move straight on the sheeps
"Lie Down" - take a load off, hang out
"Time" - take your time or slow down
"That'll do" - basically a recall, stop herdy herding

The commands can be nuanced for more detailed instruction, like Awaaaaaay to me means wider circle, and bring me a laaaaaaaate means go get her a latte.

There are other types of trials that include a shed

Ok, not that kind of shed, a shed is where the Coolie has to peel off a certain number of sheep from the herdy herd that they're herdy herding.

A Double Lift is when the Coolie has to run out and get one group of sheeps and then go back and get another group of sheeps.

So, how did they do???

Very well actually for the Husher's first herding herdy herdity herd trial!

Day 1:

Day 2:

They did FANTASTICAL!!!!

And now for my favorite command:  Bucket!!

- Bet

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

NorthWapiti's Barq's Got Bite

NorthWapiti's Barq's Got Bite
July 01, 2001 - July 05, 2016

Everything about Barq was big - big dog, big stride, big work ethic, big personality........

He lived his entire life on his terms. Didn't make my main string till he was 5, never cared to lead and yet was still was a key team member. 

The last few months he refused to eat out of dog dish and shared his meals with a raven. That was so Barq. I fed him on the ground and gave him extra so he had some to share.

Today, Sven - one of the many kind and compassionate vets at the Westlock Vet Clinic, suggested we lie him down to make his passing easier. I told him that was unlikely to happen and sure enough, Barq took his last breath on his terms - on his feet.

Big dog, big stride, big work ethic, big personality........ big hole in the kennel and in my heart at his passing.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Modeling Tips From Cindy Lou Who

Good Afternoon all of you non-models.

Tip #1: Always pose for the camera, even if there are no cameras, there could be a camera somewhere, so just in case there's one hidden in a pocket... pose.

Tip #2:  Even while doing the most mundane thing, do it with style, pizazz, flair, gloriously.  You should never be seen doing something without making it look fluid and wonderful, but spontaneous.

Tip #3: If you are stretching, and doing it magnificently, and you happen to pass a little wind in the process...

... blame the big smelly guard dog


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Remembering Noah

I met the Buchs many years ago after a presentation I did in Calgary. I was instantly drawn to the whole family.
Talks led to them buying a dog off me that year.
A number of visits to the kennel followed and the one NW dog they owned became many.
The entire family has become very special to me over the years - especially their son Noah.

Noah was witty, charming, life loving and very adventurous. We bonded over dogs, cooking and a love for adventures.

A few years back I went down to Edmonton to visit with Noah and his parents as he was recovering from heart surgery.
Noah was born with heart issues and battled them his whole life. By the time I first met him he was pretty much a normal 10 year old, but when his parents discussed his options with him a few years later he OPTED to have another painful and, of course, risky surgery to allow him to become the best version of himself possible. That was Noah!
Sitting next to him, quietly cringing as I listened to him, without bitterness nor resentment, explain what the doctors had done I knew I was in the presence of true braveness.

When his Mom messaged me last Monday to tell me of his passing in a tragic dirt bike accident my heart broke.

I spent Monday and Tuesday of this week in Cranbrook attending his funeral and visiting with his family.

It was extremely obvious that I was not the only one that recognized Noah for the special young man he was. His funeral was packed and so many have rallied around Adam, Cassie, Freya and Lola.
Especially touching his the way his young friends have circled around his family and his memory.
On Tuesday his parents, younger sister and I walked down to one of his favourite spots along the creek near his home where his friends erected a cross bearing his name and a bench in his honour. Such a special place.

Noah always made me feel like he felt privileged to be able to call me a friend, but the truth of the matter was, it was I that was privileged to be able to call him my friend.

I will miss you Noah.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, 18 June 2016

My Birthday Party - Twig


I had the most awesome time at my birthday party yesterday O.M.G.!!!

Yep, yesterday I turned one year old!

The Karen Musher asked me a while back what I wanted to do for my SPECIAL day, and I told her that I wanted a perfect princess party!!  I wanted hats and cake, and streamers, and music and fun and a bouncy castle, and I wanted my whole family to adore me in my finery!

First we all had to take baths.

I told the Karen Musher that I wanted her to french braid my furs!  All of the coolies at baa baa sheepy camp told me that for special occasions you had to have pretty french braids and a tiara, the tiara was a MUST and a tiara wouldn't look good if your furs weren't french braided, so I really really really wanted my furs french braided... and a bouncy castle.

So then it was time for all of the guests to arrive, so being the hostess with the mostess, I went out to greet them.

Hi Bear!  Love your hat, I'm so glad you could take time from your busy guarding schedule to make it!
ooh, your hat is slipping, let me fix it for you!
Cricket showed up and she had found some really snazzy glasses to wear!  She's like a movie star!!

BAIT!! HEY BAIT!  Get over here and get your hat!!
I hate you... just wait until you go to sleep... seriously
KD really wanted a hat too, but she's very shy and didn't want to bother us

You're not putting a stupid hat on me... no... never
You're touching me, stop touching me, take this hat off, I'll cut you
Bet was a bit upset because she had to get a bath and then wasn't allowed to wear any of her FABulous ensembles.

but Musher, this TOTALLY clashes with my furs and collar!!
She pretty much pouted for the whole party.

This is so not worth a bath
Wait... did you say bath?  I have to wear a hat and get a bath?  Nobody mentioned baths
Nobody better put me in water, there will be heck to pay
Since everyone was so moody, I asked the Karen Musher where the bouncy castle was.  She told me that all of the bouncy castles had flown south for the summer.

THAT'S JUST RIDICULOUS!  I'm never going to have a bouncy castle birthday because of the bouncy castle migration schedule!!!


Poor you!  I have to wear some flowered thing on my head for you, the least you can do is be happy
I think the elastic thing is cutting off the flow of blood to my brain
Well, it's not like a lot of blood flows up there anyway you big lug
BEAR!  Don't eat KD, you'll ruin my party even more!
Bah, she probably tastes horrible anyway
The Karen Musher then announced that it was time for my birthday cake, so I ran inside and got all princessed up

I'm ready for my cake and gift!
So, the Karen Musher gave me my cake first

Om nom, cupcake!!!
Except it wasn't a cupcake... it was a squeeky toy that LOOKED like a cupcake.

Wait... what the....
Seriously?  That's my cake AND gift?  Fake bakery products?
You gonna eat that?  I'll eat that, I could use some fiber
Why is Cricket wearing a Princess tiara???  I'm the only princess here!  I'M THE ONLY PRINCESS!!

Next year we're having my party in the south so we can have a bouncy castle
Pssst, tell her she's the prettiest princess of them all so she doesn't throw a tantrum
Then the Karen Musher told me that I was the most beautiful princess ever and that we were having my favorite dinner of veggibles and we'd have a slumber party and paint our nails
Unfortunately Zac ruined the whole Coolie girly party because he didn't want his nails painted, so none of us are talking to each other now, but that's ok, I was a very pretty princess!

You suck.  I'm not having my nails painted. You could have asked for shrimp and pasta, now I have brocoolie gas.