North Wapiti Siberian
Iditarod 2008 - Tales from the Trail
December 26, 2007
'Bad' Dog Snacks!
Dogs have no respect for our silly little people
Yesterday morning started nicely. We had actually celebrated
Christmas - opening presents and feasting on turkey the day
before as Mark was working 6 am - 6pm Christmas Day, so I was
planning on a nice long run with the dog yesterday.
That plan lasted until about 7 am when Kathryn and I discovered
that Jelly Bean aka Mr. Bean aka Beanie Baby was sick - and
pretty seriously sick. He had a bad case of bloody-ish diarrhea
and was obviously feeling poorly. We messed around with him a
bit and then when I took his temperature and it registered at
103.5, the messing was over. I called the vet and, of course,
got their emergency answering service. I told them who I was and
explained the problem. The normal procedure is that there will
be a slight delay while they get a vet on another line and then
they will patch me through. But not so this morning, there was a
LONG delay and then the operator came on saying she was trying a
different number. A minute or so later she came back and said
she couldn't find a vet, but would get one to get back to me
right away. I felt so bad calling early on Christmas morning -
this was not making it any better.
About 15 minutes later one of the horse vets from the Clinic,
who wasn't the vet that was supposed to be on call called. He
didn't sound pleased. I profusely apologized for bothering him
on Christmas morning and then there was an awkward pause where
he was supposed to say something reassuring like "That's
alright", but didn't. Ouch. I quickly launched into explaining
my problem with Beanie. The vet very quickly warmed up to the
call when he realized I wasn't bothering him for some 'silly'
reason. Luckily I had on hand the antibiotics he wanted Beanie
on and some stuff to sooth his tummy. As we were catching
whatever he had early, we were able to use this course of
treatment rather then us all spending Christmas Day at the vet.
Kathryn and I spent the morning coaxing syringes of water down
Beanie's throat and keeping a close eye on him. By 1pm he was
starting to act much more like the 'real' Mr. Bean, by 2 pm I
felt comfortable enough to take the team out for a run.
The run was spectacular. The temperatures were sitting around -9
C and with my 4 wheeler sporting the new HEATED seat cover that
Mark got me for Christmas (no kidding, it is so neat!!! I make
no apologies for these kinds of luxuries on my quad - it just
rolled 8150km in 3 winters worth of use!) I was downright
toasty. I sang along with my iPod as my team just booked it down
A few neighbors stopped to wish me a Merry Christmas as they
drove by but mostly we had the road to ourselves. As it got dark
Christmas lights began twinkling on the farm houses. I remember
many Christmas's with my family driving around the city looking
at Christmas lights. Who would have ever thought I'd be looking
at them from behind my dog team one day?
As we rounded the last corner to point back towards home, I
caught a glow of light from an area that I didn't know there was
a house. There was also a glow in the night sky above the light
- my mind turned a bit before I realized it was Mother Nature
outdoing all my neighbors with a stunning display of her own. It
was the moon - low, large and a beautiful warm orange color,
glowing on the horizon. It was so beautiful; it was hard to look
The team rolled into the yard around 6:30. Mark arrived home as
Kathryn and I were feeding the main string. He pitched in and we
got the whole yard fed. I was picking up harnesses when I found
one of the extra harnesses that I hadn't used on that run lying
next to the trail in ruins. Unfortunately, it was missing most
of the neoprene lined neck piece. I was really puzzled over who
would have done this; until I consulted the dog board to see who
might have been close enough to reach it when the team was
parked in the yard waiting for their dinner. Tess's name
instantly jumped out.
I've been having big problems this fall and winter with her
grabbing and inhaling junk she finds on the trail - and a week
or so ago she destroyed, but didn't eat, a harness I left lying
too close to her as I was unharnessing and putting away dogs. I
looked at Tess and I looked at the size of the chunk of missing
harness. Not good.
Now to tell the next part of this story, I need to do a
flashback to Saturday night.
On Saturday night, good friends Marty and Colleen Hovind showed
up to pick up a couple of dogs they were getting from us - Lingo
and one of Olena's candies, Twizzler. Of course, Twizzy quickly
worked her way to the house to meet her new folks (Colleen
hadn't seen they were about a day old!). Within minutes of being
inside, Twizzy somehow swallowed one of the cat toys that was
floating around the house. Ironically, it was a toy Colleen had
brought out for the cats on a previous visit.
We decided that we needed to try and get the darn thing out. I
was familiar with the theory of using hydrogen peroxide to
induce vomiting in a dog, but in 18 years of breeding dogs I've
never actually had to do this. I consulted the internet and
Colleen consulted a vet tech friend and within minutes we had
Twizzy doing the 'hoaker, hoaker' routine. Unfortunately,
although she puked up some kibble, a bit of straw, and some
gross flemmy looking stuff - no 'double whammy' cat toy.
(As a footnote - Twizzy is home in Saskatchewan now and doing
fine. Colleen and Marty have been in touch with their vets and
are in a 'wait and see' mode now).
So, now back to last night..
Since I was now experienced in the act of inducing vomiting in a
dog (how ironic is that - 18 years of working with dogs and
never needing to do that - then twice in under a week) I hauled
out the peroxide and headed out to make Tess sick. I syringed
the solution down her throat and sat back waiting for harness
bits to appear. Tess gagged once and then sat and stared at me.
After about 10 minutes, I repeated the procedure. Tess blinked
at me a few more times, sniffed the ground and flopped into her
dog house for a nap. I scurried to the house and consulted the
internet about what to do if the treatment for inducing vomiting
is unsuccessful. Apparently, it is always successful. Obviously,
the internet doesn't know Tess. I debated calling the vet, but
figured I would really being pushing my luck there unless I had
a dying dog on my hands.
I went out and dosed Tess once more. This HAD to work. Tess was
now convinced I had lost my mind and retreated to her dog house,
curling up with her back facing me.
Now I started to fret about what all that peroxide in her
stomach was going to do to her.
Mark had no brilliant ideas, so I decided to pester Colleen to
pester her vet tech friend, but of course, it was Christmas
night, Colleen was out.
I fretted for about 45 minutes before Colleen called back. Right
away she offered to phone her friend and in 15 minutes I had
been advised that the peroxide would not hurt Tess and that it
was now too late to get her to puke up the harness anyway (ove4r
2 hours had now passed since she had eaten it).
We now, like Colleen and Twizzy, are on a 'wait and see'
protocol. My fingers are crossed that my evil little brat ripped
the harness into smaller pieces before swallowing it.
So, that is how we passed our Christmas. How exciting, eh??
This morning Tess appears fine and Beanie is still improving. Of
course, we will be watching them closely and I will probably run
them into the vet tomorrow, just to be cautious. And beside, if
I don't run them into the vet now, they will probably hold off
till New Year's Eve and have crisis's then!
Karen's Diary - Iditarod 2008 Edition
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