Saturday, 19 November 2005

November 19, 2005 House Husky

The temperature has shot through the roof here for the last 2 days. It was 9C, raining and wind gusts of 90 km per hour when I got up yesterday morning. Needless to say, we haven’t had the teams out since our camping trip on Wednesday. Mark has been using the time to finish up on the new dog truck and I’ve been working on planning and organizing for my trip north. The dogs have been vegging out in their houses – they are not too fond of wind!

Since I have no trail stories to tell right now, I thought I’d regale you all with a tale of my House Husky. As many of you know, I tried to move Grover into the house this summer, but he would have none of it. After peeing on the couch, he’d paw at the sliding door and stare out at the dog yard until I relented and let him back outside. A few weeks after that, we had a temporary shortage of kennel space, so I let Kara into the house to free up a kennel. She had none of Grover’s issues with living in the house and, let’s face it, I’ve created one excuse after another since to keep her inside.

Mark’s been muttering that I am ruining her as a sled dog and that I’ll be at the bottom of King Solomon’s Dome this year wishing I hadn’t spoiled her so, but heck, I enjoy her company – and honestly, she is having a great season so far. We worked out a deal (Kara and I, that is) – if she continues to put in good runs and eats well at the end of her runs, she is welcome to live in the house until we go up to Alaska. With the exception of one night she spent in the kennel after she threw a temper tantrum outside the Perryvale Store (she wanted to head home, I didn’t), she’s been great. She’s actually been doing better then ever as a leader!

She is virtually the perfect housedog too - she’s very calm (especially now that we are in the middle of training), she destroys nothing, she never has accidents in the house (well, there was that one time, but that was a STATEMENT after I banished her to the house when she was being a pest as Veronica was doing adjustments on the team), she doesn’t beg, she’s quiet (at least now that she got over the need to join in with group howls)… she’s just very enjoyable to live with. She can be trusted to just be let outside without supervision - she does her business, visits her pups and comes running when she is called. In fact, she comes with such enthusiasm that often she miscalculates her approach to the door and skids right off the deck.

She just hangs about while we feed, never pestering the other dogs or wandering off. I got quite the kick out of her a few weeks ago. As I was walking through the yard giving the main string breakfast, she just kept ‘appearing’ on top of every 3rd or 4th doghouse. She was like the Clint Eastwood of the dog yard – I never saw her coming or going, I’d just get to the doghouse and find her sitting quietly on top of it staring at me. After about the 4th appearance it occurred to me that I had forgotten to feed her first, as I normally do. Quite the character, she is!

She doesn’t crowd us for bed space; in fact, she doesn’t want to sleep on the bed. Oh, she will get up on it, burrow and kick the sheets all over the place and then jump off and curl up on her dogbed, leaving Mark and I to straighten up her disaster before we can go to sleep.

She tags along with me to the garage and offers moral support while I’m working out (my treadmill and exercise bike live out there), she jumps in the van to do errands with me – in fact, she is the only dog that has been in the new dog truck (okay, it was in the cab – not the boxes – but she has ridden in it. I think she thinks we bought it just for her).

Basically it is a pretty cool relationship that we are all enjoying (Mark too – he just doesn’t like anyone to know that he is – but it was him lying on the couch snuggling with her last night).

There is however one problem – she hates my cooking. Well, maybe she doesn’t hate my cooking, more like she is scared of it. See, as I’ve mentioned many times, our house is small – and because it is, boiling and frying food in the kitchen often causes our smoke detector to go off. Because the smoke detector is hard wired in, there is no disabling it for meals (besides I don’t think that is wise anyway). Now I really didn’t think it was going off all that often, but apparently it is, because now every time I turn on the stove Kara runs to the sliding doors and begs to be let out. If I don’t rush over and let her out, she heads for our bedroom to hide. I understand that the alarm on the detector is hard on everyone’s ears, especially her extra sensitive canine ones, but I got to admit it is hurting my ego that she is thinking it will go off every single time I head into the kitchen.

I’m now being extra diligent about turning on the stove hood fan when cooking and/or cracking open a window – ‘cause no matter what my company and family says – until Kara gives me the ‘dew claws’ up as a cook, I’m not going to be happy!


  ©Penny Blankenship

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