Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Weekend at Swanny's

The weekend at Swanny's wasn't nearly so exciting as a weekend at Bernie's. In fact, it was pretty quiet and laid-back for the most part.

Friday night Stephanie Little Wolf treated me to supper at the Lodge, and a chance to meet her friends Howard (from Wisconsin) and Ben (from Idaho). Ben is receiving one of Steph's puppies - a very outgoing little dog named Rook. Howard and I have a lot in common. We are both mushers, and we are both operant trainers.

Saturday afternoon Howard, Ben and Stephanie came over for a kennel visit. I'd have loved to take them on a short training run, but with a dead four-wheeler and not enough snow for sleds that wasn't in the books. Instead we went through the kennel doing 1 on 1 behavior training with the dogs. Behavior training helps them keep their fuzzy little brains occupied and gives me something constructive to do with the dogs when I can run them. Having new humans in the yard was a great opportunity to work with them in the presence of very interesting distractions.

I had contemplated going to the Halloween Party at the Lodge, it's usually a really fun local event, but eventually decided against it. I haven't been feeling particularly well and an early bedtime was appealing.

Sunday was spent running errands in town. I needed to return a book to the UAF Rassmussen Library and buy a few things for the house. Sunday evening I met my friend Jan DiNapoli at the Lodge. I am contemplating hiring a house sitter and handler to stay here while I'm away, and Jan has used handlers for years, so I wanted to pick her brain a little. The main problem with the scheme is that most dog handlers provide labor in exchange for full time room and board, and I don't want to have to deal with a "room mate" situation while I'm home. My work and training schedule keeps me away from home too much for me to deal with domestic dynamics when I can be here.

Maybe when I'm rich and famous I'll build a small handler's cabin (aka "mother in law cabin") here on the property so I can offer full time housing, and a stipend for those days when I need the person to care for the dogs in my absence. In the mean time I suppose I'll continue to board my dogs elsewhere.

Yesterday I was very domesticated. I packed my stuff to go to Wisconsin over the weekend and did some fairly serious house cleaning, including mopping the entrance way, washing and drying a couple of loads of laundry, filing a lot of paperwork that had stacked up, and so forth.

I have a few more housekeeping tasks to do today, and am looking forward to a kennel visit from Blog follower AussieAlaskan, who is in town visiting family. After feeding tonight I'll be taking the team to their boarding kennels.

Tomorrow I head to the North American Voyageur Council's fall gathering in Poynette, WI. I will be there through Sunday and don't know if I'll have Internet access. If not, don't worry if I haven't posted in a few days. I'll let you know how that trip goes when I return.

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