Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A Few Updates, Odds and Ends

First off, I've had questions about the follow up on the dogs from the 'porcupine incident'.
Many wanted to know if we are seeing an increase in porcupines in the area. The answer is YES. The first 11 years we lived here I believe I saw 2 porcupines - none of them in our yard. In the last 12 months we have had 3 incidents with the 'quill pigs' and our dogs and I've seen more on my travels. When I was speaking with my vet yesterday, he reported an increase in dog/porcupine encounters. He also said that the incidents seem run together, so he suspects some sort of 'migration' type behavior that puts them in the path of dogs a few times a year. Hopefully, they will 'settle in' for the winter soon!

I've also been asked if the dogs are all on antibiotics. No, they are not. My vet, Trevor, is adamant that you want any quills that might be all the way in the dog to fester out of the dog rather then continue to travel around in the body. When Moses had his incident last fall we saw the value in that, as about 10 days after his quill removal a quill festered out on the completely opposite side of his face.

And most importantly, folks want to know how the dogs are. We were very worried about Q yesterday, as he was 3 legged (he had had some quills in his foot after the encounter, but none seemed to be deep in his foot and we were sure we had gotten them all) and we could find no missed quills. I spoke with Trevor about it and following his suggestion we soaked the foot in warm water and Epsom salts last night. After a nice long soaking, Mark found a tip of a quill between 2 of his toes. He was able to get a grip on it and pulled an inch long piece of quill out. PHEW! He still is not 100% and we will be soaking and checking that foot regularly for he next few days to make sure their isn't anything else in there. Unfortunately, that is about all we can do. Quills will not show up on either an x-ray or an ultrasound. Keep your fingers crossed for him!
Runner also has me a little worried, as he vomited up some soft and not fully developed quills yesterday - and passed a few more in his stool. However he is active and as keen for food as always which is definitely a good sign.

Thankfully, everyone else is looking good!

Sprite is also doing well. She has been wonderfully good about not chewing or bothering her stitches/drainage tube. The tube was suppose to come out on Monday and I had mentioned it to Mark in the morning. Later in the day he asked me if Mike and I had taken it out. Ewwwww - no way!! However it was out. It seems like Sprite must have heard us talking and removed it herself. Mark took out the rest of the stitches around the tube site and all appears well. She has other stitches that are in for another 9 days but I think she is going to start spending some time back out in the kennel as she is definitely a disruptive influence on our happy household!!!

We have a handler change happening today when Richard arrives from the UK to take over handling duties.
Mike has been with us for a little over 2 months and we have really enjoyed having him around. He has been a tremendous help.

I'm very confident that he has enjoyed being here, as we can't quite get him to leave! He is going to stay on a few more days to finish up some tasks around the kennel that he wanted to get done - like leveling out the dog yard!! Very cool!!

After a few days of unseasonably warm weather -

(she looks so miserable as she knows I'm about to throw her in the tub!)

- things have got more back to 'normal'.

(Who can resist a sort of Cricket checking out some new winter sleeping locations?? She is very thankful I got all those pesky flowers out of 'her' barrel.)

The dogs have been running well. I've bumped them up to 23 mile runs now and we are probably ready for a few big camping trips over to the Forfar Campground (one of my favorite hangouts!)

As we start to increase the distances we are faced with all kinds of new adventures on our old trails - like new farm dogs.

This monstrous pair of Cricket like creatures live at a nearby sheep farm. They have 2 Pyrs that live full time with the flock of sheep to protect them from predators (like the wolf pack that has been spotted in the area lately. I actually think they have been around for years, as I've seen a few signs every now and again - and am pretty sure I actually saw one a couple years back)

- and these monsters that run loose.
I'm sure they will eventually figure out we are harmless but in the meantime it is great distraction training for my team.

(Utin suggesting to one of the dogs that they should leave the team alone. Despite the dramatic picture, no contact was made between the dogs and mine continued to keep moving, as they should!)

And to close it up, here a few fall shots that I just couldn't resist sharing. It really is a very 'pretty' time of year!

On and in case you were wondering if Bet survived her bath - she says it was touch and go - but she made it!

Have a great day!


Gary Fletcher said...

Hello, I've been reading your blog for awhile now and find it a really good read.
Your new handler Richard is a very close friend of mine and I am looking forward to see how he gets on over there.

robfrad said...

Please give Q my best. I hope he recover quickly.

Love this blog and makes me lonely for a Northwapiti visit.

JHen said...

Here's to hoping that the reason Q was lame yesterday was that quill in his foot! You can keep the porcupines up there though if you want. I sure don't want to run into any of them. Glad Sprite is doing better as well.

Chris said...

I am very glad all the dogs are on the mend, give Q and Sprit a hug for me.
I have said it before and will say it again, Thank you for all the wonderfull photo's Karen.
It keeps my adventure and time at NW last season fresh in my mind.

granimar said...

Will be sending all the good vibes possible to Q, and the rest of the porcupine posse. Hope that Sprite's problems are behind her now. Loved the photos, Karen. We have trees that are totally brown leaved--- no colors this year, so disappointing. But several nights of 6 [F] above sure took care of all of the green leaves, leaving no chance for fall colors.
Many of the sheep ranches in Montana have Pyrs that live with the flocks---hope they can keep the wolves at bay. Will miss reading about Mike---but know he'll be leaving with tons of great heart memories, hope that Richard finds the same niche. It's such wonderful country and full of great North Wapiti beings---4 foots and 2 foots. So glad all seems to be going well.

yukonmusher said...

hope the dogs recover from the quills!
We have a HUGE number of porkys the last couple years here to, more than ever!
A friend suggested viniger on the quills (stings like heck and dogs hate it, and they will foam at the mouth if you put it around the mouth) but if you can soak the quills with some viniger it disolves the barbs and helps to make the quill pulling alot more easy, incase you cant get to a vet or want to remove them yourself.

The Thundering Herd said...

Uh, Cricket, how do you expect to get respect from the working dogs if you sleep like that?

AR Travis said...

Love the Cricket pic! I have a Shepherd husky mix who in her young hayday weighed in at 85 pounds. Her favorite hiding place during thunderstorms was the dryer. Cricket's barrel pose reminds me so much of Valkrys in the dryer! Thank you for sharing!

Williesmom said...

Glad to see I am not the only one who has a Husky that enjoys eating a dead porcupine. Willie did not even care about the quills, continued to hike 3 miles out of the woods and eat his treats.
Crazy boy.

mgailt said...

I SO love the photo of Cricket in the planter tub. As usual, a wonderful collection of photos, Karen, both of the "furry kids", and the scenery. I hope I still have your permission ......... ?