Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Chronological Confusion and A Nice Visit with a Good Friend

I got home from work after two weeks of night shift yesterday. It's sometimes difficult for me to reset my 'biological clock', but last night I was able to fall asleep reasonably early. The down side to that is I woke up unreasonably early. One of my new dogs, Nells, was very barky this morning and just wouldn't settle. I don't know if he smelled something moving around in the woods or what, but there just wasn't any getting back to sleep.

So, I did some housekeeping chores and then made an early trip to town to stock up on groceries. Then I headed over for a visit with my friend Lynn O. Lynn O is a sprint musher, one of those high-speed spirits who love driving really fast dogs really fast. Since I sometimes handle for sprint mushers I'll admit that I also love those really fast dogs and I'm very grateful that when I feel the need for speed there are generous mushers willing to loan me the dogs and gear to do just that. There is no thrill in the world quite like pulling the hook with a team you KNOW will leave the yard at 25 or more miles per hour and when they finally get tired enough to 'slow down' will still maintain a speed of near 20. Comparing sprint teams to freight teams is totally unfair. It's like comparing a Ferrari to a Kenworth truck.

Lynn O does a tremendous amount of work in sled-dog rescue, providing a foster home for the homeless, and finding appropriate 'forever' homes for dogs that would otherwise be euthanized. I try to help her out in this work as much as I can, and of course most of the dogs in my team were rescued from the local animal shelter.

Lynn O has a beautiful 'new' foster dog in her yard. Kia came from a pet home in the bush. The husband of her previous family had major knee surgery and couldn't handle this big girl, and his wife didn't have the strength to manage such a large, powerful dog.

Kia is described as an Alaskan Malamute mix, and she certainly has the size for it. She is just as large as any of my freighting dogs, probably weighing in the neighborhood of 70 to 75 pounds. She is a georgeous, well muscled girl. She is very shy, but that is an issue we will work on. Kia has never been a sled dog before, so we don't know if she'll want to be a working dog or not, but we plan to give her a chance at learning an honest trade by training her with my freighting team. She is such a gorgeous and graceful girl that if she proves to have any work ethic at all I'm sure we'll be able to place her in a very compatible team.

Meanwhile, my two Hedlund pups need to be microchipped, and so does Kia, so tomorrow morning Lynn and I will load all these dogs into my truck and head to the vet's to do the deed.

When I returned from Lynn's I spent a couple of hours just messing around with my own mutts, doing some 'obedience' drills, handling the newest dogs to help them get accustomed to human hands, and generally just playing with the dogs.

"Training dogs" is the GREATEST excuse for getting out of the house and enjoying a beautiful break-up afternoon.

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