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Current blog look inspired by cool, blue Chance.

Brut Quotes

Brut Quotes

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Silver's 2 year anniversary

This will be short and sweet.

My dear Silver passed away two years from today and I still miss her so.  I have never really been able to design the blog with her fur, without making the whole screen all black.  lol  I can't help it, black is my favorite.  So I will be working on a new blog look that includes Silver's fur and that you can still be able to read.  :)

It will have to meet both our standards as she looks down today.

Until then, what do you think of our new header?

Silver's colors are dark pink and black.

Be sure to check back!!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Update on Chance's new diet

No more chicken or cheese or apples...Do you see this sad face mom?

I don't know who's more depressed about Chance's strict diet, him or us. It has been just over a month since Chance has been put on a special food, special treats and all he can have are veggies for snacks.  He has a high pH level that showed up in his urine and for a dog who was given a taste of almost everything we eat, this has been quite a challenge for all of us.

 At first it didn't seem to be a big deal for Chance, then as the days wore on and he wasn't getting any morsels from our plates, the sadness begun to seep in.  I have tried to eat at least something he can eat with each meal, like a carrot or a cucumber that we can share and that helps.   It also helps that Blaze gets the same at our mealtimes as Chance and only gets extras when Chance isn't around.

We have kept a couple of staples around, so it isn't a total blowout and a small enough amount that it won't blow his pH levels through the roof.  Like licking the sides of a yogurt cup in the morning and I give him the tiniest pieces of cheese you have ever seen.

 I think that's the biggest key to this whole new diet, is still being able to share our food with him.  I've had to get creative with nighttime treats and I've had to give more of his special kibble to make up for missing calories.

After a month now, this whole ordeal is starting balance out.  Chance is not deprived by any means and he loves vegetables so no real problems there.  It was just for those first few weeks he was sad and confused, wondering what was happening.  The poor guy.  We were all miserable together and how can you explain to him what's going on?  Hubby, Mark took it pretty hard.  He worries so much about the dogs, yet it looks like it is all going to work out after all.  Just needed some time and patience to go through the changes.  Hopefully we'll be able to add some different food to his diet when his pH levels go down, but we'll have to see.  We are just taking it one day at a time.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

11 Years Ago Today...

The newborns

Today is the "puppies' " birthday!  They all turn 11 years old today.  It was a bittersweet day.  Celebrating and mourning at the same time.   Joyous that Chance, Blaze, Zappa and Fiona are all with us and mourning the loss of Daddy Dog Brut, Momma Dog Silver and two of the homed puppies that are no longer with us.  I kept thinking about 11 years ago today, they were all here.  All ten puppies, mom and dad.  Seems like such a long time ago, yet I can remember it like it was yesterday.

It was also bittersweet because the four "puppies" are all still with us and made it through a scary year, yet that only means another year closer to the inevitable.  We've had what felt like close calls, yet everyone is healthy and nothing that some adjustments in food and medicine won't fix.

I think about time quite a bit and trying to make every memory last, yet time keeps moving and is short.  I had a little emotional breakdown this evening while playing with the Zappa and Fiona outside...so many things I miss.  Thank goodness for the dogs, they never let me cry without adding a smile to my face, when the tears stop.  Fiona was just all kinds of silly tonight.  Warmed my heart to know we will always have Brut and Silver with us through their kids.

We've been through a lot these past eleven years and I'm so grateful to my husband for his innocence in wanting Silver to have puppies when we first got her.  That brought Brut into the picture and eventually ten healthy, beautiful puppies whom we were to blessed to have four of them to call our own.  Four puppies that are still with us now.  And whom we share our life with.  I couldn't ask for a more blessed beginning to the year.

The Power of Ten

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

 We awoke to a wonderful wintery world for the first day of the New Year.

I couldn't get over how blue the sky was against the snow-covered trees.

Just having the sun shining in a otherwise cloudy state offered a fresh perspective for the future.

 Yeah, like can we go back in the house now??  It's 11°F out here!

Friday, December 28, 2018

It is so cool when we both "get it!"

Interesting thing about having independent thinking dogs is watching them make their own decisions.

For example:  Chance and getting used to the nail trimmer/grinder

First, I started with the grinder in my hand while it was off and started with "touch."  Chance has this command down pat.  He touched his nose to the tool.  Click and treat.  Then he starts touching the trimmer with his paw...jackpot of treats.  

Then I turn on the battery operated grinder and try again with "touch."  He does touch with his nose, but he's a bit more hesitant.  Still holding the machine in my hand I keep pushing it towards him and asking touch.  He starts backing up and is visibly getting more upset and scared.  

I stop.  Turn the tool off and put it out of sight.  

The other dogs caught on really quick and made way past this step in minutes flat.  I think I was expecting the same response with Chance to catch on. This was too much, too fast for him.  

Chance was still willing to play, I just needed to give him a chance.  

So I put the tool on the floor, told him "touch," and let him decided what he wanted to do.  

One treat for a nose touch and bunch more for touching with his paw.  

He caught on quickly now that I wasn't trying to make him do it.  

Nose, treat.  Nose, treat.  Paw, lots of treats.

Then when he was feeling confident, I turned the grinder on and set it back on the floor with the same guidelines.   Again, giving him the chance to decided what he wanted to do and how to do it.   

It was so fascinating to watch his confidence grow, his body relax, and he was smiling.  He was so proud of himself for conquering that humming little machine and I was so proud of myself for listening to him, so I could change my game plan.    

Very cool.  Don't you think?  Chance was able to face his fears and have control over how he wanted this training bit to go.

(Next time I will try to get video, or at least some photos!)

Friday, December 21, 2018

How does your dog do at the vet?

All the dogs are good at the vet except Chance.  Even though the other 3 are a little nervous, our vet is able to perform any exam or x-ray needed with good cooperation from the dogs.

And then there is Chance...

Siberians are known for being hyper, anxious dogs, but Chance takes it to a new height.  He screams when the vet just starts to come close.  Hubby, Mark and I always have to take him together to hold him down for blood work and shots.  Forget any kind of physical exam, it's fight or flight for this boy!  He has to wear a muzzle, because he'll nip.  He just doesn't like being touched or messed with in general, so a vet visit pushes his limits.

I avoid taking him to the vet until it is absolutely necessary.  This last visit had been one of those occasions.  He had been limping on what seemed to be his left front leg, holding it in the air even and I couldn't tell if there was also a problem with his back leg as well.  It had been going on for a while and seemed to be on and off thing.  So I broke down and made an appointment.

Well, we lost Chance's muzzle over the summer so Mark picked up one the day before the appointment.  It was called a "Comfort Fit" muzzle which meant the mouth opening was bigger than the narrow one I'd had before.  Chance needed a refresher course for the muzzle while I fitted it to him and for the most part he was fine with everything.

The whole appointment was our vet massaging up and down Chance's back and legs, searching for the point of pain.  Chance was doing fantastic.  He was so relaxed and actually enjoying this visit!

She located the source of pain, in his toe and his super long nails.  I knew they were bad.  I've never had to trim them before with walks and dog sledding, his nails stayed manicured.  The thought of me clipping his nails was intimidating to say the least, but for the vet to do it right then and there with no problem was another OMG moment for me and Chance!  bol

I was so blown away by how cooperative Chance was, how relaxed and easy he was, it was encouraging. Not to mention the fact that we didn't have to pin him down to do the exam was a HUGE bonus and made a big difference on Chance.

Now I don't know if this was a one time thing, or just the fact there were no needles being stuck in him, but it was the happiest I'd ever seen Chance at the vet's office in 11 years.

And that made for a very happy mommy and daddy!!

How was your dog's last exam??

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Freedom through Chance's spirit.

After x amount of time going where he thinks I want him to or at least taking a route that accompanies his speed, without even looking up, this fierce stallion of a dog gently takes the lead.  He guides me down the snow trodden path and into the trees.  His gait slows with his large pads plodding softly on the snow.   I feel my breath escape me and my shoulders fall. The tension evaporates from my body, leaving me with a light and airy feeling.

It is just me and him in this snowflake covered mini forest.

Surrounded by bark and snow, the world falls away.

I can feel each paw print he makes stamped onto my heart.

He checks on me by looking back to the left, keeping the communication strong between us.

"Come with me," his eyes beckoned.

We have not walk alone and free in a long time.  Walk times are crammed with schedules and constraints of the setting sun.

I've lost the essence of what a walk with my heart dog can really be.

As I follow him I feel like I'm riding an old horse walking familiar trails.

is the horse.

I have felt this horse analogy with Chance throughout our many years together, as if his true spirit is more equine than canine.

Running free.

The same freedom he wants me to find.

And I did.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

If it isn't one thing, it is another.

We found out a couple of months ago that Chance had crystals in his urine.  These crystals are the building blocks to kidney stones.  He has been on a special food since this finding and thank goodness he really likes it.

We've always given our dogs a bite of whatever we are eating, but Chance and Blaze (the Front Dogs of the two packs) are especially spoiled being that the kitchen is on their side of the house.  Chance will just about eat anything.   And while he never gets foods that is dangerous to him, we just found out that after being on this special food for 2 months, his diet is about to take a drastic turn.  

Last urine check showed there were no crystals, but his pH levels were too high, one of the causes of producing these crystals.  That and the ability to digest proteins.  This is where the special food comes in.  So Chance needs a highly digestible protein and low pH levels in order not to produce these urine crystals.

Our vet told us that he has to be on a strict diet eating this food to keep the crystals and his pH at bay.  No more nibbles from the table.  The only thing he can eat is veggies, low sugar fruits (mostly berries), his food and specialized treats that coincides with his food.  The biggest thing we are cutting out is dairy, meats, nighttime treats.  Chance has always loved veggies and fruits, but it's going to be sad getting out the cottage cheese and not giving him a bite.  I am little sad because sharing my food with the Front Dogs, especially Chance has helped me out of some tough times and was our thing.  It's probably what got him here in the first place or at least played a part. I'm going to miss that part of our bonding time.  But, I"m making the best of it for myself and Chance.  The most important thing is that he is getting better and altering his diet will help his health.  All that matters is getting him better so he can stay around longer.

We'd do anything for our boy!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Update on Chance and Blaze post-fight

Since posting about the fight with Chance and Blaze and how they are being cautious with each other, they seem to be reconciling.  They are improving with each other every day.  They are hanging out in the same rooms and standing close for treats.  It has been a good week after the hard dog fight they had.  We are so happy.  

Here's something has given me something to chew on:  While talking to the vet about the fight, how they didn't stop, the length of it and how I had to really scream to get their attention; she said that Chance and Blaze could be responding to my screaming as if I was saying it was wrong for them to be together.  I've been pondering the information this evening and I can see that in the dogs actions that the vet could be right.  

For example:  I was eating a carrot.  Both dogs in front of me.  But after giving Blaze a bite, she left, letting Chance get the rest of the treat.  Blaze. Never. Leaves. If Food Is Present.  Never.  

So maybe what our vet said was true.  And that it is up to me to bring them together and let them know it is OK for them to be together.  

Interesting, huh?

Any thoughts?

Monday, November 26, 2018

About a week before Thanksgiving...

In almost eleven years I can probably count on one hand or so how many times Chance and Blaze have ever gotten into a fight.  And it is almost always over food.  But something about this time was different.  Because they didn't stop fighting when I called their names, like they have before.  It was their longest fight they have ever had.  Almost three times as long than any time in the past.  To say they were shook up over it and were both leery with each other, is an understatement.

Chance scratched the white of Blaze's eye.  It was swollen and red and took two days to heal itself.   That was the worst of the physical damage.  But the emotional toll it took, was far beyond the damage of Blaze's eye.

They have kind of stayed away from each other for those two days and were both over respectful with each other.  It scared me a little.  What a difference those extra seconds made for them during that fight.  And to be fair it was kind of my fault.  They were all hyped up for their dinner, everyone was going crazy and then bam!  Suddenly Chance and Blaze were at each other's faces.

By the end of day 3 they were starting to come around to each other, just slightly.  Yet, here at day 11 since the fight, both are still acting scared of the other.

So I don't know what happened differently, other than the fight going on longer than normal, but it's a little scary watching them together.  There's no aggression of any kind, they just seem so cautious with each other and want to stay out of the other's way.

I feel like all the trust that was between them has been shattered in a way I can't understand or make better.  I don't know that there is anything I can do to "fix it" and that it will take Chance and Blaze to heal themselves and each other.  It is going to take time.  I just hope it repairable.  They have always been pretty good together and are fairly close, though not physically, but mentally.  I call them the Dynamic Duo.  It is why they made such good sled dogs, because they are quite the team and work together like a couple of Powerhouses.  There is no doubt that one always knows what the other is thinking, at all times.  So must have come as quite a shock to them when they were battling it out.  An accidental reaction that turned completely out of control. 

And if they were unprepared, image how I felt.  Totally out of character for both of them.  I would have not been able to predict that was going to happen, even after all my reviewing of the situation.  I don't think it was the fight itself, but the length of time and not being able to stop them that scared me.  That was not like either of them at all. 

So we'll be keeping an eye on them and saying some prayers.  And hopefully they will be able to come back together to be that wonderful team I love.  The Dynamic Duo. 

the Singing Duo