Saturday, September 8, 2007

Busy Times for the Stardancer Historical Freight Dogs

I got home from work on Tuesday, and have been running full-speed-ahead as my friend Lynn Orbison and I are starting to train our sled dogs in earnest. We've been using both a four-wheeler and a Sacco cart to get a few miles under the dog's paws.

The most important news is that all three yearlings have made the team. My two Hedlund huskies, Rose and Nels, were just awesome in their very first run, acting as though they've been pulling in a team since birth. Kia, the Alaskan husky / malamute mix that Lynn and I have been cofostering, was a bit confused by this new game, but is certainly willing to try and looks like she'll be a winner as well.

Here is a picture of a pair of Lynn's sprint dogs, Truly and Grace, training on the Sacco cart.

Of course, it wouldn't be R&R if I wasn't spending money for veterinary care. Poor Nels went to Dr. Olson's for a bit a surgery. Nels was cryptorchid, a fancy word that means his testicles did not descend into the scrotum. This was discovered when he was in for routine neutering. Neutering a cryptorchid dog is far from "routine" though. It requires the vet to open up the dog's abdomen, find those little testicles (and they usually are undersized), and remove them in an operation more akin to spaying a female than neutering a male.

Nel's operation was fairly difficult, even for a crypthorchid, but he seems to be recovering very nicely, and in fact this morning was trotting around on an overhead trolley as though nothing in the world had happened. He is sequestered to a crate in my house most of the time, being released to relive himself and stretch every couple of hours. As he gets stronger and his incisions heal he'll be allowed more and more freedom of movement. Meanwhile, with his long cervical collar to prevent licking and biting at his sutures, he looks a bit silly.

The weather has turned decidedly autumnal, the leaves are turning and dropping from the trees, the homesteaders are cutting firewood and the moose hunters populate the woods more thickly than their prey. It is a good time of year to live in Alaska.

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