Goodbye Teague

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Harry, Teague and Seven at 2 years old

Gealach Mor Teague  5 Sept 2003 ~ 10 March 2016    (flanked by Harry and Seven)

Today, we say a stunned, heartbreaking farewell to Teague.

It has often been said that these dogs are incredibly stoical – and that many of us don’t regard that as a trait that is very helpful, as time and again, the first indication any of them give about being unwell, it is usually something major. And so it was with Teague. At bedtime, he was fine, at 4 AM he was uncomfortable and by 9.00 AM at the vets, he was gone.

Puppy Teague

Puppy Teague

We’re still in a state of denial and disbelief. Partly, because his sister Seven, was saved by our vets at the end of January following a ruptured spleen caused by a hemangiosarcoma. Her diagnosis isn’t especially hopeful, and we are constantly watching her with varying degrees of trepidation. To lose Teague in such a manner, and the vets suspect that it was a hemangiosarcoma in his chest that had ruptured, was a gut wrenching blow.  Teague had been a house dog since he retired a couple of years ago, and he was a steadying, calming influence, as well as a wonderful cuddler. A dog who loved people, from a very young age, he was also one of my main leaders and a strong favourite of my wife.

Teague and I, after the Can-Am 30, Fort Kent, Maine 2005

Teague and I, after the Can-Am 30, Fort Kent, Maine  March 2005

Goodnight to our sweet boy.

Goodnight to our sweet boy.

We wish our darling boy Teague safe travels to the Rainbow Bridge, and to the joyous reunion he will have with his 5 brothers and his sister, as well as his parents Vader and Beth. Carry our tears and our unending love to them all.

Little Bundles

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So, if we take Yuri of Seppala for a little walk and to visit Queen of Seppala, nature dictates that 9 weeks later, give or take a day or two, we’re going to be blessed with the arrival of little bundles of joy.

Yuri of Seppala

Yuri of Seppala

And so, it turned out to be.

Queen and her 2 pups

Queen and her 2 pups

On 11 February 2016 we became the happy caretakers of another 2 Seppala Siberian Sleddogs, when Queen whelped 2 little girls. They are growing well and Queen is finding looking after 2 much easier than taking care of the 6 she had last time. Actually, we’re finding it a whole lot easier too.

Puppies Day 1

Puppies Day 1

Now, at 6 weeks old, they are developing nicely, growing well and are as pretty as all get out. We finally gave them names, Kenzi is pup #1, and Bella is pup #2.

Mum is taking good care of them

Mum is taking good care of them

6 weeks old, chewing on toys

6 weeks old, chewing on toys

Queen still lets them suckle, but it's on her terms at this age.

Queen still lets them suckle, but it’s on her terms at this age.

Still looking good after 6 weeks of nursing.

Still looking good after 6 weeks of nursing.

Kenzi  (R) and Bella  (L)  on 27 March, contemplating the big wide world.

Kenzi (L) and Bella (R) on 27 March, contemplating the big wide world.

The colouring of the girls is still developing and changing, as it always does. But it’s looking like we’re going to lumbered with another couple of whites………..  at least at first glance. Both of them do have some colour, in the shades of isabella white. Kenzi will, in all likelihood, like her half brother Eris, be a piebald, but with such light shading that it isn’t very noticeable. Bella has much more of the isabella colouring and it is fairly obvious in real life.

Welcome to Gealach Mor, girls.

Smile and say “thank you”

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Please forgive the lack of productivity on here for the past few months. As always, I do have a fairly good excuse.

Most of those of you who read this, do so because you have an interest in us, our dogs, sled dogs generally, or life in Alaska and will probably be aware of the events here in Willow last June. If for some reason, you don’t know, then in a nutshell, there was a bit of a fire.

Actually, it was quite a big fire, and ended up consuming around 7,500 acres, 55 homes and quite a few other structures. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail, but we were in the path of the fire and had to evacuate all our dogs with practically no advance warning. Things were slightly more complicated because my wife was back in the UK, so I was dealing with our 51 dogs on my own. Our friends, Mille and Joar, who also stay here were similarly a person down – Joar was in Norway, so it was just Mille for all their dogs. Thanks to wonderful friends appearing at the crucial moment, we duly managed to get everyone out and ended up camping at Underdog Feeds for a week. Late that Sunday night, I got a phone call from my friend Leo, who was working on the fire crew, to say that he had been by our place and that it was gone. Just like that, we were homeless.  As were many others.

This is all that was left of our home.

This is all that was left of our home.

It was a week before we were allowed back home. Fortunately, the dogyard had survived relatively unscathed and most of the working dogs could go back to their usual spots and routines. For us humans and the house dogs, it was a bit more of a “make do and mend” situation. As described in an earlier post, one of our old girls was unable to cope with all the stress involved. For the rest of us, we resolved to make the best of the situation and resolutely cheered ourselves on with cries of “it could have been so much worse”.

Friends, strangers and organisations rallied around with offers of help, physical, financial, emotional and most importantly, food ! Which is how this post got it’s title. I feel awkward with attention and was quite uncomfortable with the whole thing – friends know this and gave me good advice.  Just smile and say thank you.  And you know what, that really helped.

9 months on, we are well on the way to rebuilding our home.  I now own more than one pair of pants – having driven away from the house that day in June with just the clothes on my back. We’ve survived an Alaskan winter in our temporary home and while the dogs haven’t run very much at all, they have had plenty of free running and hugging time.

And that, dear readers is why I haven’t posted this winter.

 

Goodbye Fina

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8 November 2015     1.00 AM    24F   Cloudy

Gealach Mor Fina Tina 5 Sept 2003 - 7 Nov 2015

Gealach Mor Fina Tina 5 Sept 2003 – 7 Nov 2015

It seems only moments ago that our sweet baby girl was being born. Fina was one of the eight pups from our first litter and with her soft nature, beautiful looks and caring personality, she was quick to make an impression on everyone.

I can feel my tears roll down my cheeks whilst writing this, her loss amplified by what she had to endure during the last few months and the good grace with which she bore every thing. And that will be our lasting memory of her – a wonderful companion, a good sled dog and a calming influence.  Her gentle soul filled our hearts with tenderness and her beautifully plumed tail could bring a smile to my face at any time.

She died yesterday from a hemangiosarcoma that was only discovered because she required an emergency operation for a gastric torsion a few weeks ago. During that operation, the vets discovered that she was riddled with tumours and had to remove her spleen. Further exams and xrays revealed the horrible truth, the cancers had spread to many of her organs, including her liver and lungs. She recovered amazingly well from the torsion surgery, and with no less than the absolute grace we would expect from her, she took the many medications and potions we offered. We were told we might only have days with her, and yet as the weeks passed and she seemed happy and at peace, we were thankful and hopeful for a miracle. Sadly, that hope died yesterday.

Fina in Scotland, 2004

Fina in Scotland, 2004

Fina with the backing of her brothers

Fina with the backing of her brothers

Running in Alaska

Running in Alaska

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye dear, sweet Fina, may you find peace with your brothers and may your spirit know how much you were loved.fina 2004

 

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” V Harrison

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