Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dog Fun

Fancy and Draco are now sled dogs! Ok, so it's not like we're going to start full-scale mushing anytime soon, but I do think we've accomplished enough with the sled to say that they're sled dogs -- even if we say it with a little smile on our faces... because they're never going to be SLED dogs.

And that's totally ok -- that's not what I'd want; I just want to have a new outside winter activity that we can all do together (eventually). I don't want them to go fast and run ahead of us like real dog teams do, I just want them to pull the sled at a walk, and walk alongside of me. BUT as you can see from these pictures, although we have had a great start, we have a long way to go before we get to that point! We took pictures on a sunny Sunday afternoon when the temps were a bit above zero, maybe around 10 degrees F. Jasmine and Esther were my test pilots on this particular day, and the dogs seemed to be able to pull their combined weight with no sweat... once we got going. Getting harnessed and hooked up is the most challenging part, because the dogs are excited and don't really sit still for me very well (we're working on it), so they are constantly getting all tangled up as they turn around and try to lick me, etc. Then when we take off, the dogs' attention is not always on me, and they have trouble understanding that they need to just stand next to each other, not at wierd angles to each other, and they also have trouble understanding that they need to walk TOGETHER, not zig zagging around each other and getting their lines tangled. Then once it's time to pull, they totally rebel at first, and Fancy takes it out on the leash (which I attach for steering, because they totally don't know where they're going yet, and it's not a perfect system because it's hard to steer from the side of them or behind them -- because a lot of the time they want to trot along, and then I trot along, then they run, and I have to run, faster and faster....).But then once we get going, and we're in a nice rhthym, it's smooth sailing, like a dream. Check out these cool as a cucumber pics:

We also have been having silly fun with the dogs -- they are the first puppies I've ever raised from birth forward, and since I knew exactly when their birthday was, because it happened in my house, Esther and I decided to have a birthday party for them. It was totally silly and totally great. Their birthday happened to fall on a Friday night(January 23) so we were able to get it together to make hats and cakes for them (cakes made of turkey broth, eggs, flour, molassses, and iced with salmon cream cheese -- mmmmmm....). Here are the pictures from the fiasco! Fancy snarls,"Just because you gulped yours down doesn't mean you can move in on mine!" And Draco is duly chastised.
And what would a birthday be without a walk down memory lane, to see how these beasts began their life in my porch? You can check out earlier puppy posts in 2008, but here are just a few quick pictures in this post:Draco, a few days old...Fancy, a few weeks old.The litter's first time outside, at about 4 weeks.The cutest picture of Fancy & Esther, at about 6 weeks old.Fancy & Draco in a box -- at about 2 1/2 months old. It is so fun to remember how cute they were then, but they were SUCH a handful! If you're wondering what some of the other pups in the litter turned out to look like (they all must have different dads, because they all look so different), here is a picture of Jego, who visits my house as often as he is at his own house: The other puppies got cool names from their adoptive owners: Taki, Scrap, Zeus, and Bandit. Abby is also doing great at her new home, playing with lots of kids, even getting to be a house dog sometimes.
Now they're hardcore village dogs (ha! They're still really spoiled by rural Alaska standards!) that they can weather storms outside and even choose not to be in their houses: It's like a hidden picture drawing: where are the dogs in this picture?Here they are!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Cate,

Your doggy/puppy pics reminded me of our Hooper Bay days when we had two adopted from Clement Smart's family when dear Nuisance (that's what the Smarts named her) was 18 months old and Kima was given to us at 4 weeks by Ray and Mary Tinker. Nuisance and Kima were the best dogs but we never trained them to pull a sled. Instead, we hitched up my husband, Bill Taylor, and the dogs ran alongside. The Hooper Bay-ers used to laugh and tease us whenever they saw us!

I love your blog...we left Hooper Bay in May 1990 and there's hardly been a day gone by that we don't miss it.

Please give our best to Tuluk, Roy, Laura Joseph, Marion Olson, Albina Joe, and so many others from Deb Dahl and Bill Taylor.

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