Thursday, December 17, 2009
I took 8 dogs from the yard out to the snowmobile trail and up into the Whitefish Range. It was so nice to be on the runners again. The dogs were excited for the sled and new trails!! We had a very warm and spring-like day which made the snow like mashed potatoes and not so nice as I would have liked, but it is so much better than the 4 wheeler.
After a 36 miles run with the first team, I took out a second team of 10 dogs and did 32 miles in the dark. Once the sun went down, the trail firmed up and we flew. There were a few scary moments when I could feel my brake hit a rock or stump and remind me that there really isn't that much snow yet.
Everyone had to wear booties today and the young dogs who have never worn them were not particularly excited about this prospect. But it was good that they wore them anyway as most of the booties were pretty worn from this abrasive snow. Tomorrow a reporter from the paper is coming out to check out the dogs. It would be great if I could take her for a ride, but I don't think it's safe yet. We still need a lot more snow.
As of yesterday, I am officially a full-time dog musher until the Quest is over. I am done at work and with school and can now focus completely on getting everything ready to go. And I bought a trailer yesterday so that I can haul everything we will need to Alaska. I spent about 4 hours on Tuesday cutting and packaging meat for food drops and will be doing some more in the next couple of days. Even though I learned how to do drop bags the Swingley way, I am trying to modify the schedule to go along with that and get food drops ready before the last minute. There are so many details that I never thought of until I was well in the midst of this preparation. But things are getting done and I have had a lot of help and support from friends, family, and community. It is amazing how, as we get closer to the event, that this becomes less about me and my goals and more about everyone else who has contributed money, labor, time, or words of encouragement. It is an amazing process.
It is 33 days until I head North and 50 days until the start of the race. It will be here and done before I know it. Now is the time to train hard and make sure that the dogs and I are all ready for our adventure. We will be spending many hours on the trail in the next few weeks.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I got to observe during Diablo's procedure on Monday. They put him under anesthesia and then used the endoscope to look in his stomach. The endoscope is a camera on a long cable/hose type thing. It was amazing how far it had to go to actually get into his stomach. There is a cable they can slide into the hose of the endoscope that has little grippers. They were able to remove a few things from his stomach. It turns out, all of those things were pieces of the blanket he had shredded the day before. Dr. Barton was pretty sure his stomach was empty when we were done. We think that he must have passed whatever mass was in his stomach last Wednesday. But I have carefully monitored everything coming out of him since he got sick. So, hopefully, he is now clear and will not be eating any more non-digestible foriegn objects anytime in the near future.
While he was out, I had him neutered. I will spare the details of that procedure, but it was cool for me to see. I've helped with horse and llama castrations before but never with dogs.
Diablo has been staying inside for the most part since his surgery but went back to the dog yard this morning and spent the day with the sled dogs. I am going to continue to bring him inside a night for a few more nights until he gains back a little more weight. I plan on running him this weekend, and just maybe he will get back in shape to do some racing this winter.
This is a lucky little dog as I was sure he was going to have to have open-abdominal surgery and be out for the rest of the season. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he will stay healthy and continue to be my little monster dog.