Tuesday, 29 October 2013

"What's the Point of All the Needles in Their Faces?"

So a few hours into a really great run yesterday we had the misfortune to cross the path of a porcupine.
It is entirely my fault the encounter ended so badly. On the way down that road the dogs all reacted to something along the side of the trail. The road we were on has a lot of deer and moose traffic crossing it, I assumed that was what they had seen and glanced into the woods/field beyond, but didn't see anything. I should have paid better attention.
I am fairly certain that the team knew EXACTLY what was there and where it was on the way home. Boo, who was in lead with Missy, was a leader involved in a porcupine incident we had almost 2 years ago - and it seems that once a dog has had an encounter, they are VERY keen to give it another go. (And NO, I have NO CLUE why that is.)
It was over pretty quick for the porkie (and honestly, before I even knew what was happening) - but dead porcupines are just as big a problem as live ones are - more so actually, I believe, as they can't help get away.

Six dogs got some quills in them - Missy, Boo, Kelly, Billie, Skecher and Mighty - with Boo, Kelly and Missy in the worst shape.

There was no way those three, who had a lot of quills in their feet, were going to be able to run the 10 miles home. I secured the front end of my team to a fence post and began sorting out an 'emergency evacuation' plan.

I had a friend helping out at the kennel yesterday but since we don't have a cell phone signal at the house, I was unable to reach her. I sent a few FB messages, but she was walking Fletch and didn't get them. I also figured she was unlikely to answer the house phone, even if she did hear it.
Thankfully, I was able to reach my neighbour Gabi and she was quick to agree to run over to the house to get Keri and the dog truck over to me!

The three of us loaded dogs, threw the ganglines in the truck and stashed the ATV in the bushes before Keri and I headed into Westlock.

I had phoned the Vet Clinic while I was waiting for 'rescue' to give them a 'heads up' that we would be in in 'a bit' - and phoned again on the way in to give them a better idea of our ETA.

The dog truck was low on fuel after sitting for most of the summer, so we had to swing to the gas station on the way. It is a 'full service' station so I quickly chatted with the gas attendant as I was getting out of the cab to head in for coffee and to pay. As he opened the rear tank of the truck he asked about dogs and commented on how beautiful they where. I thanked him and commented that we were on our way to the Vet Clinic after a bad run in with a porcupine. He mustn't have heard or understood me and while the truck was sucking away at my bank account, he took time visit each of the dogs through their doors. All the quilled dogs were on the passenger side and after visiting with that side, he approached Keri who was sitting in the truck with the window down and asked "What's the point of all the needles in their faces?"
Ummmm........yeah........good question.....what is the POINT???
Keri explained their were porcupine quills and we were on the way to the vet to get them removed.

The vet techs who, who have seen me all too much in the last 3 weeks, shook their heads sympathetically as we walked in. We pulled files on the three girls and I signed off on all the anesthetic forms and we started weighing and prepping dogs for surgery.

In case I haven't said it enough - let me say again I LOVE MY VETS AND MY VET CLINIC (http://www.westlockvetcenter.ca/). They are compassionate, professional and practical. I trust them implicitly and am so grateful to have them 'on my side'.



Removing quills from Kelly's mouth

Kelly with the pink bandage (they had to slice into her leg to get a few buried quills), Skecher on the table, Boo on her feet, Missy and Billie just starting to wake up.

 Everyone is back home and looking good. Likely due to the pain meds they were on, they were in great spirits last night and keen to tell their stories to all the other dogs.

We will have to keep them a bit on the quiet side today, as quills that they ingested will be migrating through their stomach and intestines. Porcupine quills can only 'move forward' so some will likely migrate out of odd spots on the dogs in the next while. We will be keeping an eye on everyone with lots of 'hands on' going overs!

Two years ago when we had a run-in with another porcupine (that one lived and only Rocket had to go to the vet) I posted a recipe for Sweet and Sour Porcupine - hoping it would 'catch on' and decrease the Porcupine population. It didn't seem to work, so today I present PORCUPINE STEW!!

Get out and give it a try - TODAY - PLEASE!!!!

(I wonder if I can sell McDonalds on the concept of a McPorkie burger??)

Sunday, 27 October 2013

First 'Kiss'

We woke up to a treat this morning!!

Yup, snow!!!!

It kinda had us dancing for joy!

We all know that it won't last and by tomorrow everything will likely be a big muddy mess.....but still..

It's kinda like a first kiss....

...it doesn't have to be very good...

....it's the promise it holds of good things to come that makes your whole body tingle and makes you feel alive!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Damn Beaver (Pun Intended)

The dogs and I were having a simply wonderful run this morning! They were strong, happy and full of bounce!!

I could not have been happier!!!

And then (you just knew there had to be an 'and then', didn't you?) we ran into this...

I really don't like beavers.

I hate turning around and really it wasn't a great spot to turn a 16-dog team around anyway, so I dug around in my ATV bag and came out with my axe.

I don't carry a lot of 'safety gear' with me (yes, I know I should - but I don't) but I do always carry an axe.

That said, anyone who has ever used an axe to chop something 'not seasoned' and substantial knows it is not as easy as it looks or sounds.

But still, the only other option was turning around...not happening without a good fight! So it began...

About this point I wondered what I had been thinking and began to eye the back trail to see if I could get a team turned around....

 I only stopped here to take a picture because I needed to catch my breath and take my hat off....

And then I began to get close and the tide turned. NO WAY that tree was remaining intact! NO WAY!
(As you can see from the picture, the team was rather bored with my chopping by this point)

...and then (one blister and a fair amount of sweat later) it was done...

"Wo-RAH!!", said the girls, "Can we just get moving again??"

Yes girls, we can!!!!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Typical NW Week - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies!

For those of you that want to know what a typical week here at North Wapiti looks like....

The Pretty Curly Tails continue to train long runs now that the weather is turning chilly.

I have brought down my winter ensembles from storage and am trying to determine what is "in" and "out" this year.  I don't care what anybodies says... leg warmers are out.  They've always been OUT.  Don't wear leg warmers peoples!!!  There are things called SOCKS... wear those.


We're working on getting See to dry out this year.  Seems she had a bit of a drinking problem (mostly water), but she seems to be working her way up to the harder stuff and insisted she carry this beer can around on a run.

Oh sure, she claims she was just trying to keep the trail clean and pick up the trash on the way, but she left a crumpled bag, three shoes (I don't want to know who needed three shoes), and a plastic water bottle on the trail.  She may have to go into rehab...

Then Fletch went and got himself injured somehow.  The Musher has no idea.  He was fine one minute, then on a run she found a gash on his side.

He got some stitches and some house time to recuperate.  I think he just wanted in the house and wanted MY cloud.

Of course, he could have done it for the wonderful drugs (in which case he'll be joining See in rehab).  There he is claiming that his feet have wings and he can fly... if he doesn't stop singing "Wind Beneath My Feet Wings" I'm going to cram him into the bathroom.

Finally, the Pretty Curly Tails got challenged with the "Road Construction Crew" test.  As you may not know, there are plenty of road construction crews along the Iditarod trail and they need to be able to just run right by them and ignore the construction guys whistling and ogling them.

Ok, I totally made that whole thing up about the Iditarod road construction... but it could happen!

- Bet

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Sweatshirt Sizing - Bet

Howdy Ho Everybodies!

We're so happy that you are enjoying the merchandise we're offering!  Remember, all proceeds go toward the North Wapiti Pretty Sled Dogs' last Iditarod in 2014!

We're sorry for the wait on some of the bracelets, as the Musher is waiting on new paracord to get delivered.  There was such a flurry of orders, she ran out... and she had some crampy fingers that I was able to stomp on and straighten out.  As soon as the new paracord arrives, she'll be back at work making more.

Here's fan Christina proudly modeling her FABulous NW survivor bracelet:

If you haven't ordered yours yet, then just go here!

We've also had some questions about the sizing of the FABulous sweatshirts!

Here I am modeling a fashion DON'T for the sweatshirts.

Clearly this sweatshirt is a tad bit large for me.  To make sure YOU get the right sized sweatshirt, here are the sizing charty things (and stuffs). Measurements are in inches.

    S   M    L    XL    2XL    
Body Length
    28  29.5   31   32.5     34   
Body Width
    21  22.5   24   25.5     27   
Sleeve Length
    35   36   37    38     39

I hope that chart is helpful.

For those of you who haven't ordered (and what are you waiting for???), go here and get yourself one!

Monday, 21 October 2013

It's What We Eat - Bet

Howdy Ho everybodies!

Although we've touched on it before a few (dozen) times, it is probably THE most asked question we get... where do I get all of those FABulous ensembles....

oh wait, that's not the question... ahem.

What do you feed those Pretty Curly Tails that gives them so much energy and keeps their coats all shiny and they stay so healthy???

The Musher feeds all of us the absolutely tasty, good for us, and chock full of good things Eagle Pack Dog foods!

Not only is it tasty and good for us, but they are also one of our wonderful sponsors.  Go tell them how much you love them.

We all eat Eagle Pack... well, not the Musher, or Musher Mark, or the cats... honestly I have no idea what the cats eat, but if Bait's bulk is any indication, he eats stompy Mooses because he's the size of a moose.

Anyhoo, the tasty Eagle Pack gives the Pretty Curly Tails the energy to train long miles

Still have plenty of energy after their long training runs to dance for their food

Rocket Dancing Dog waiting for her Eagle Pack
If the Musher takes too long preparing it, they even beg for it!

Then they dig right in with gusto

Yep, Eagle Pack is very tasty, even I eat it!  That's how I can do all of my Roving Border Collie skills, run next to the quad during training runs to make sure everything goes well, and keep my coat all glossy, smooth, and FABulous!

Eagle Pack Natural Dog food!  Good to the last drop (says Cricket)

Thank you Eagle Pack, not only for your tasty foods, but for your continued support of all of us here at North Wapiti!

- Bet

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Girls Afternoon Out

It had been pointed out by a certain Border Collie that this month had been 'all Curly Tails, all the time', so I decided that I'd take a few hours out with Bet and a bike this afternoon.

About a half mile from the house I stopped to take a picture...

 ....and soon heard huffing and puffing coming up the trail behind us. It was my big, white guard dog. There is just no telling when she is going to decide to come along - and no changing her mind once she decides to. She is her own woman, that's for sure. Apparently she was joining us today. It was going to be a 'Bike Ride with my Bitches'.

I decided that I wanted to explore some deer trails I had been gazing down on during some of our recent dog runs.
The trail looked great for the first bit and then quickly turned into this ....

Obviously I won't be hiring deer to be putting in trail for me any time soon!

Beavers though, they might be a different story!

These slides were a blast....

Although they were too short and all ended in a bad way!

It seemed like they were already getting settled for the winter, so I'll have to chat with them in the spring to see what we can work out!

We explored the area a bit, getting to see some bits of the valley I never had visited before.

Cricket checking out a 'moose bed'.

I believe this is the lodge's 'dining room'. It appeared closed for business today though!

Cricket and Bet watching a few ducks take off from the beaver pond!

Not sure what this old rusted out wreck is. It is miles from any road or house!

I must admit that I was not exactly sure how to find my way back to the trail, but luckily still walked almost directly back to it. Phew!!!

Rather than head home, we turned and headed off to explore some of the new trails that the neighbour has put in! Nice!

 We stopped for a bit of a break, just enjoying the beautiful fall day and each other's company!

As we rode down the driveway ...

...we again took the opportunity to turn away from home.

I love riding this particular section of trail, as a few years ago when I started thinking I might like to take up biking, it was the first route I rode. I rode it with an old beat up bike, walked up most of the hills, rested about a half dozen times and seriously thought I might die at times. Today - with a great, new bike; a much different body; and a much stronger mind - it was just a small part of a much bigger and tougher ride. I walked none of it and only stopped when I wanted to take a picture or closer look at something.
Riding this trail these days always makes me feel great!

Eventually we ended up at the Beaver Pond Overlook.

I thought Cricket had opted to head home without us, but after about 10 minutes, she plodded into clearing and plopped herself down.

 We all hung out for a while longer, watching clouds drift by, a squirrel scurrying around, and a muskrat paddling in the pond before finally heading back home.

What a great few hours!!!! Thank you ladies!!!