Friday, December 19, 2008


The Spirits have bestowed many blessings upon me, but the greatest of all is the esteem and support of so many wonderful friends. This is greatly appreciated as we muddle our way through this illness that has so affected the sled dogs. People all over the United States and Canada have sent Emails of support, encouragement, good advice and best wishes. All are greatly appreciated.

Janece has been a Godsend. She came up for a dog mushing vacation that has turned into a dog care vacation, which in many respects is a "busman's holiday" for her. She's maintained good spirits throughout our ordeal, even though we are both totally exhausted by the end of each day. I'm honestly not sure how I would have coped with this situation without her help.

Dr. Olson has been GRAND! She's been totally understanding and gone well beyond the call to help us figure out what the heck is going on and how the heck to best care for the dogs as they go through it. Lynn Orbison has been a well of support from which we've drawn upon frequently. Mike and Kim Green are always awesome and unwavering in their support of the team. Last night Stephanie Littlewolf met with us for supper, and gave us a stock of herbal medicines we otherwise might not have considered or attempted to find.

I am truly humbled and very appreciative for all the help that so many have offered during this crisis. I'm hopeful that we can come through this relatively unscathed, and emerge on the other side with a stronger and more closely bound team.

Poor Beau was the first to be totally debilitated by this particular crud. The results of his surgery gave us a lot of information that has been helpful in coping. We might not have known that we have such a major infestation of roundworms without Beau's surgery, as we de-wormed everyone as part of our routine in September and assumed (bad musher) that it was an effective treatment. Obviously it wasn't as effective as we might have hoped, and we've remedied that situation by switching to a different de-wormer which we've given all the dogs. I've also decided that so long as I have to board my dogs at different kennels (due to my work schedule), I'll put the team on a quarterly de-worming schedule rather than bi-annually. Being exposed to so many other dogs so frequently, it just seems prudent to be more aggressive about parasite control.

Beau's issues were a little different than those of the rest of the team, but he is recovering very nicely and is showing some truly wonderful behaviors that we are really enjoying. He has placed himself in the role of "big brother" to our ill babies, and he frets and watches over them with diligence. The night before last he stayed out of his kennel, laid in the floor in between the two airline crates holding the puppies, and slept in that position all night, apparently without moving.

He plays with them appropriately, and has been a lot more 'friendly' with the humans in the house, frequently seeking our attention and affection. Apparently he's decided that life in the Stardancer is alright, and he's developed a stronger bond with us than he was willing to exhibit before.

Cassiopeia and Capella, the puppies, have been most affected by this illness. Both have been staying in the house rather than out with the team and we've truly been struggling to keep them adequately hydrated. Neither have much appetite so getting food into their little tummies has been all but impossible. Both were able to eat some chicken and rice last night and held it down, and they've both received their initial doses of the herbals that Steph gave us. Let's hope they'll continue to eat, as they've become painfully thin through this.

Here is a photo of little Capella, getting some "lap time" from Janece.

Even while ill little Cassiopeia is the wild-child of the litter. Last night I was finally able to capture an image of her being relatively still, while getting belly rubs in Janece's lap.

Today we all seem to be "hanging in there", and we continue to look for a breakthrough. Let's all hope and pray the dogs can turn the corner soon, and get onto the trail of recovery.


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