We hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas! We
did, despite it being kind of weird. Mark and I opened our presents
Christmas Eve during commercials of “It’s
a Wonderful Life” – one of my favorite movies. As we had no tree and
just a few gifts for each other, it stretched things out nicely.
Christmas day I took out a team and Mark spent the
time slicing up meat on the band saw.
In the evening we went over to Mark’s brother’s place and had a
great turkey dinner with Kelly, Karen and the kids – all and all, a
pretty nice day.
Mark has been off since Christmas Day, so we have
been doing a fair amount of running. The dogs are pretty bummed lately.
Could be that they all had kennel cough vaccinations last week, were
dewormed just the other day, and are darn sick of the tough 4 wheeler
training. Who knows, but ups and downs are a part of training and we are
just working through it. The one thing they have not lost enthusiasm for
is eating – even after hard runs they go SKUNKY when the snacks and
meals come out. That is a very promising sign!!
I had all 23 of the ‘A’ team into the vet last
week for blood work, kennel cough vaccination, and a checkup. That went
pretty well and other then one dog needing a tooth pulled, which was done
that day, there were no surprises. We weighed everyone too and I was going
to share some of that information with you – but I seem to have
misplaced the piece of paper I wrote the weights down on. I’m sure I
will find it when we clean out the cab of the dog truck and I will pass it
Draco had his leg checked over at the vet’s too.
Nothing was diagnosed for sure. We ended up knocking him out to better
allow the vet’s to check out his leg. That resulted in conflicting
opinions from two of the vets. One thinks it is a partial tear in his cruciate
ligament. If that is the case, it is a career ending injury. We talked
about the chance of surgery bringing him back to racing status, and both
vets agreed that even if the best specialists in western Canada performed
the surgery, the chance of him ever running at an Iditarod level again was
highly unlikely. If there had
been a bucket to throw up in while we were discussing this, I would have.
Even now, typing about it makes my stomach turn. Draco is maturing into an
amazing sled dog. I had well expected him to be one of my main leaders in
Iditarod this winter. I am devastated at the thought of his running career
Now, there is a glimmer of hope. Tanis felt that it
wasn’t a cruciate injury. Both she and Daryl agreed that the best course
for now would be 5 days of anti-inflammatories and crate rest. I was
advised that if it were a cruciate, we would not see improvement.
Draco’s 5 days are up – and, I tell you, I’m
happy about that! Living in our small house with a 55 lb, eager sled dog
is tough. The day before
yesterday, we came home from our run and as I was walking back to the
garage with the empty snack bucket, I noticed Draco keenly watching me
from the sliding glass doors. Not a big issue – except for the fact that
he was locked in a crate when we left. I was terrified to open the door to
the house and see what damage he had done. Seems he had decided that he
had had enough of that ‘crate rest’ stuff and had pulled open the
crate door. He bounced and charged around when I walked in, pretty pleased
with himself for figuring out a way out of his crate. Thankfully, damage
to the house was non-existent. PHEW!
As for the leg – he is bearing weight on it again
– a very promising sign. He’s back out in the kennel and I intent to
try him in harness on Tuesday. I will be holding my breath until then.
I’ve had a few emails asking about cuts to the team
–when we were making the next batch and if I had any ideas who it would
be. The plan was to make the final cut at the end of December, but with
Draco’s injury, I’m stalling that decision for a week or so.
January 11th I load the truck and head to
Alaska, so it has to be done by then!
Well, I think that is it for today. I’m off to kick
Mark out of bed (I let him sleep in until 5:30 this morning). We are
planning to run out about 40 miles or so, rest the team for 4 hours and
then run home. That should have us home sometime in the wee hours of
All for now!