Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Our Summer Doggie Island

Been on the Island for one week now with the pooches. Our 'playground' for this summer is on Douglas Island just across from Alaska's state capital- Do you know? Juneau. Bizarre city, feels more like the coast of Oregon or Washington. Diverse folks from all over the globe visit here each summer via the large cruise ships. It's a wonderful feeling to have the opportunity to put a smile on all of the curious faces that come out for a dog ride.
We are situated in a rainforest in between some mountains. (Our boss Robert Murphy and his friends have done an amazing job creating this wonderland over the last four months. Especially since this area just set records for snowfall, which they had to move large amounts of just to put a road in!) Though a bit muddy at present, our race course offers quite the rollercoaster effect. It's designed like a figure 8 so the dogs are offered the opportunity to run a different route every time. With fourteen pumped up northern beasts of beauty pulling in a frenzy most of the tourists can't help but laugh as we whiz back and forth around the hairpin turns. The pooches enjoy all of the attention, a great time for puppy/yearling training as well. Wild Bill has been driving me crazy having chewed three harnesses his 1st day. Eleven month old pups can be similar to teenagers, patience and love being the key to winning their hearts so they learn to respect you and behave to the best of their abilities.
The views are amazing, we have a river that runs adjacent to the kennel as well as a scenic ocean drive just minutes away. Hoping to do some travelling as well this summer- Sitka is tops on the list followed by the Taku river, Cordova, etc. Great crew working here. Looking forward to seeing Tamra's parents for a few weeks this fall, now only if I could ever get someone from my family to come. And when I say family, I mean all of you. Being apart of this amazing experience over the last decade has been unreal. Thanks for the support as our trail keeps winding uphill in search of even prettier vistas.
Enjoy the view, it's gorgeous from this area of the globe! Hugh

Monday, May 07, 2007

Fun photos

I don't really feel like writing but I wanted to post a few funny photos.
These first two are of Wonka - one of Holly's children. He's almost 2 years old and finished the Iditarod this year. Wonka's loves to stand on his hind legs and then he waves his front legs up and down trying to attract attention for someone to come over and play with him. Quite the character.

Next is of Bullock from when we first arrived in Juneau. He was just so tired from all the excitement of travelling that he jumped up on his new house and fell asleep.
This is Blaze. He's normally the quiet, shy one but today he was talking up a storm.
Just this weekend I walked outside to find Flame on top of the straw bin next to his house. I'm not sure how he got up there but he sure acted like he was the king of the yard. (this one's for Hugh because he didn't believe me when I told him)

The next set of photos is from last night. I was watching 8 Below for the umpteenth time. Colby, Annie, Nova and Mahoosic joined me. Colby is usually interested in what's on the tv but this is obviously her favorite movie. She watched intently for the whole movie, even into the credits.
It didn't matter if there were dogs or just people on the screen. Miss Colby was right there in front, ears turned forward watching the whole story.

She did like when they caught the birds though.

I'm not sure what I can put on tonight that will impress her as much. Maybe Snow dogs?


Friday, May 04, 2007

It's awfully quiet here....

So May 1st Hugh and I loaded 56 dogs (plus Deyaah) into two trucks and a trailer and headed down to Skagway and then on the ferry over to Juneau. Hugh and the dogs will call Juneau home for the next (gasp) five months! Standing on the ferry dock we realized watching Deja vu the night before was maybe not the best movie choice.

We arrived at Juneau and thankfully Randy and Kim were at the dock waiting to show us how to get to the dog camp. The camp is about a mile shy of the ski hill on Douglas Island. Upon leaving the road, we started going down a muddy, steep, winding road over to where Hugh and the dogs will spend a lot of time. It's amazing the amount of work that had taken place before we got there. The dog yard had been dug out and then built back up leaving some steep slopes on either side. As you can see it was really muddy in spots.
Being as there wasn't enough room yet some of the dogs ended up being temporarily placed in the trees on the sides.

The good thing was that these dogs could watch out over the whole yard. There were lots of people around to help unload the dogs in a short amount of time.

Shortly after arriving I had to run over to the vet clinic to have them look at Nova. She hadn't been feeling well the past few days and she had all the signs of pyometra. I didn't want to leave her at home in case it got worse and thought that the Juneau vets might be more reasonably priced than here in Whitehorse. The vets confirmed my diagnosis and scheduled her to be spayed the next day. We had always hoped to breed Nova but after two years of no heats (or no obvious signs), a false pregnancy last fall, and a heat a month ago where all she wanted to do was mount the males, I guess it wasn't meant to be.

I picked up Nova right before my flight the next day. She was doing well, walking around as though nothing had happened but of course I had to argue with the vets to release her. They wanted to keep her overnight to make sure she was ok. I then got the bill - $1,100!! This after they'd told me on the phone it would be around $250. I guess it's not just Whitehorse after all with outrageous vet prices.

Hugh took us to the airport and we said our goodbyes. I guess we'll have to deal with phone calls and random visits for awhile. I got home on Wednesday night. I have only 12 dogs to look after but hopefully we'll have fun together this summer. Nova is doing well, hanging out on the couch and on my bed. She's moving slowly but perking up more each day. Most of the snow is now gone at the house. The snow drift from the lake is still there and I can still walk on the ice on the lake to get water. I have to admit I'm not really enjoying this however as there are open spots at the other end where the lake is shallower. The birds are starting to arrive and the mud is slowly disappearing. Summer will be here soon.

-- tamra