Thursday, April 23, 2009

Busy Times in Good Company

My friends Janece Rollet and Lynn Witter are up visiting from Kentucky, and we've been keeping ourselves busy training dogs on the four-wheeler, soaking in Chena Hot Springs, and site seeing. I had a medical procedure done on Tuesday that has required me to refrain from lifting or doing much of anything requiring physical exertion, and Janece and Lynn have been wonderfully helpful, though I must admit that having two ladies both insist that I do next to nothing is a rare and rather disconcerting experience. I'm accustomed to doing things for myself, and being restricted by two diligent ladies dedicated to enforcing those restrictions is rather confining.

Stressed Dogs

Our power company, Golden Valley Electric Association, is changing out the electrical distribution line that crosses my property with a higher capacity line. To do so they are replacing poles in the muskeg below the house while the ground is still frozen hard enough to permit access with their heavy equipment and vehicles. The traffic along the right of way alone would be enough to keep the dogs on edge, but even worse is that they are using a pile driver to plant huge steel beams deeply into the permafrost, so that they can reinforce the poles and prevent them from falling over.

They are using a pile driver to do that job, and the incessant metalic pounding was driving the dogs absolutely crazy. Especially Rose, who is already a rather shy and relatively fearful girl. Rose spent the past two nights at Lynn Orbison's kennel, but has outstayed her welcome. She's taken to barking for no apparent at night, keeping Lynn and her husband awake. Fortunately, the work crew has moved on to other areas, so we will be able to return Rose to her nice, quiet home kennel later today.

Disturbing Editorial Letter

A letter to the editor in today's Fairbanks Daily News-Miner states "A person filled a Dumpster last Thursday with what appeared to be a whole dog team." The author doesn't provide enough information to determine whether or not they truly were sled dogs, but it nonetheless bothers me, simply because there are other options available.

Many of those options are described in a paper recently released to Mush with P.R.I.D.E. members by the education committee, which described steps a musher who finds himself or herself in dire financial straits can take to responsibly care for and re-home his or her dogs.

Even if one decides to kill the dogs himself, dumping the bodies in a public dumpster isn't very smart. There are plenty of people opposed to the sport of dog mushing and behavior such as this as akin to throwing whiskey into an already hotly burning fire. It's pretty damned irresponsible.

Time To Start My Day
OK, I've been on my soapbox enough this morning. I am now free of my post-procedure restrictions, so I'm going to go out and feed my dogs their breakfast and scoop my kennel before my guests awaken. Later today we will truck a team over to Lynn's place so we can take them on a nice four-wheeler run and this evening we will visit Stephanie Little Wolf's new litter of puppies. We have things to do and people to see, so I will sign off and so I can start doing and seeing.

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