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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuloon/Bazil Male Pups

Zodiak is quite a sturdy boy. He's rock solid. Zodi is good natured, even tempered and steady. He's not about drama and is a very honest and inquisitive pup. Zodi weighed 9lbs 2oz today.

Oken is the biggest plumpkin of the bunch, well surpassing Zodiak who has been at the top in weight from the beginning. 10lbs is what this boy weighed today. Oken is steady, friendly and playful....and he loves to eat!

Rusty has made the most progress in the past week with regards to his cautiousness. He, along with Wahya, is the first now to greet visitors. Being a very sensitive boy, he responds extremely well to praise and positive, happy interaction. He is still a momma's boy and does get a bit concerned about things, on occasion, and likes to be reassured that everything is alright. He's the little drama boy of the bunch. We are currently looking for a new name for Rusty as we've decided it just too plain for such a colorful boy. Rusty(for now) weighed 8lbs 14 oz today.

Tuloon/Bazil Female Pups

Zala is miss personality. She's filled with spunk and is quite the sassy one. She doesn't stay still for long if trying to cuddle with her. Zala weighed 7lbs 10oz today.

Zorra is still laid back and doesn't get into too much trouble. She's smart and sweet and seems to be very much an "old soul" with her pensive looks. She used to enjoy laying in my arms but now she's just got stuff to get on with! Zorra is one of the plumkins at 9lbs 2oz.

Wahya used to be one of the more cautious and reserved pups but no longer! Having the many visitors this week just seemed to pull her right out of her shell. Now she is one of the first to greet anyone entering the puppy pen. She's spunky with the other pups but loves to cuddle with her human friends. She shows her happy submissive personality when she joyfully licks your chin over and over and over again. Wahya weighed 7lbs 8oz today.

Tuloon/Bazil Puppies - 5 weeks

So very patient....

Am I really in that much trouble?

Killing the toy.

This week has been filled with so many things; puppies, logistical preparation for our winter adventures, training runs with the dogs, puppies, preparation and on and on. Time seems to fly by and now the pups are 5 weeks old. Exhaustion is the word of the week.

You risk your life (and your shoelaces) when you enter the puppy pen these days. Little alligators attack from all sides. Watching ever so carefully that you don't step on a fast moving ball of fur and stumble, you make your way through the maze of moving puppies to find a safe spot on the ground. Then you can safely enjoy the puppy kisses and nibbles.

The pups have had visitor after visitor this week and the pups that had been more reserved are coming out of their shells and are now the first to greet a new face.

Tuloon has been free fed for several weeks now to make sure she receives as many calories as she desires as the dear pups are literally sucking the life out of her. This also means that the pups have been free feeding on the always available kibble as well. Most of them seem to be able to handle this and are responsibly eating only their share. Two of these pups, however, have become quite the plumpkins as you will see when I post the weights in the next few posts. The vet assures me that free feeding the pups the proper food is not a problem and I shouldn't concern myself with it at this point, however I will be keeping a close eye on the two plumpkins in the bunch.

This weekend will be the first time I leave the pups over night. I will be traveling to the Gunflint Lodge to discuss program ideas for this winter with their program director and to drive the trails on which the adventures will take place. Thankfully, I have a couple of great dog handlers that will be coming out twice a day to feed all of the dogs, let them out to play and play with the puppies. And I am also thankful to have wonderful neighbors who will be checking on the pups between feeding times.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuloon/Bazil Male Puppies

Zodiak still weighs significantly more than the other boys. He weighed 7lbs 4oz today. This week he seems to be more "middle of the road". He doesn't seem too dominant or too submissive at this point, however I have seen the girls picking on him and making him squeal. The girls seem to be more assertive than the boys in this litter.

Oken continues to be my little greeter and is the most curious and bold of all of the pups. Being very sweet and sensitive, he's not mischievous like his curious and bold sister, Zala. He weighed 6lbs 14oz.

Rusty is sweet and sensitive and the "mamma's" boy of the bunch. He seems to have a special relationship with Tuloon. He's a little reserved and tentative with new situations but quickly adapts. Rusty weighed 6lbs 8oz today.

Tuloon/Bazil Female Puppies

The "T-girl" has been officially named.... Zala weighed 5lbs 14oz at 4 weeks old. She is the most dominant female and routinely stands over the other puppies to prove it. She's a comical girl, always making us laugh with her mischievous antics.

Wayha weighted 5lbs 8oz today. She's filled with sugar and spice. Wahya is still very social with the other puppies and can be reserved with new situations. She still likes her space on occasion and can be found laying by herself after a long puppy play session only to join the group again after a little alone time.

Zorra is outgoing and friendly and follows Zala's mischievous lead. She weighed 6lbs 7oz today, making her way to the top of the female puppies' weight range.

Tuloon/Bazil Puppies - 4 weeks old

Zala playing her dominance games with Wahya.

From left to right; Zodiak, Rusty, Zorra

Zala being her mischievous self.

Blue's first visit with the pups in their outdoor space.

Zodiak greeting the tentative Copper.

The pups were moved from their cushy indoor location to their new outdoor space. They seemed insulted by the straw for bedding instead of a nice fleece blanket. For the first day, they wouldn't set foot on the straw. When night came, the temps got down to the upper 30s and in the morning I found the little guys huddled in a pile under the heat lamp on a nice bed of straw.

It was interesting to see each individual pup adapted to their new surroundings. Some acted as though it was nothing new. Others took a while to open up to the idea. As of the past couple of days, all pups seem to be back to their "old" selves.

Looking forward to weighing the little guys all week, I was anxious to compare their weights to that of the 2005 Inuit Dog litter. The traditional Alaskan lines at Points Unknown are typically larger than the Alaskan Huskies one might see today. Having dense coats, unlike today's Alaskan, our traditional lines result in a dog that is very low maintenance, not requiring booties, jackets and hats to do the job intended. I was amazed when the biggest male pup weighed in at almost a pound more than the biggest Inuit Dog male pup from the 2005 litter at the same age.

After all pups were weighed, the resulting range was 5lbs 8oz to 7lbs 4oz for this Hedlund Husky/Village Dog litter as compared with a range of 5lbs 4oz to 6lbs 6oz for our 2005 Inuit Dog litter.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tuloon/Bazil Male Puppies

Zodiak's weight is well above the others at 5lbs 7oz. He is confident and bold, likes to be held but still has a time limit before he begins to get fussy about it.

Oken weighed 4lbs 14oz today. He was the first to peer over the edge of the pool as well as the first to initiate contact with me by licking my face. He is confident and sweet and likes to be held.

Rusty faced boy remains the mildest of the boys. He weighed 4lbs 14oz today. Rusty is social with the other pups, initiates play with them and then, like Wahya, will find a quiet spot away from the others, at times, to sleep.

Tuloon/Bazil Female Pups

At 3 weeks, the "T" girl weighs 4lbs 8oz. She remains the firecracker of the bunch, is very friendly and bold.

Wahya was 4lbs 5oz today. Quiet, sweet and calm, she plays with everyone and loves to be held then likes to head over to her own corner for some alone time.

White nose girl is now being called Zorra. She weighed 4lbs 8oz today. She is quiet, social and calm at this stage and not as bold as the "T" girl but does investigate new things.

Tuloon/Bazil Pups - 3 weeks old

Basket full of puppies

The puppies are placed in a laundry basket to keep them contained while cleaning the puppy pen.

Active Puppies.

They begin to play much more intensely this week; grabbing a mouthful of puppy hair and skin and shaking their tiny little heads, biting at each other's legs and noses. Each has their own little voice and although they are generally a quite bunch, they certainly let everyone know when they are excited about something or are hungry.

Tuloon in action.

Tuloon continues to be a very attentive mom. She still cleans them and their surroundings meticulously.

Longing for freedom.

The pups got a taste of the great outdoors this week. Since their first introduction it has been raining so they have been stuck in the dry pool of a puppy pen until it dries up outside. They will soon be crawling out of the pool and that's when they will be relocated to the outdoor pen where they will be able to do a lot more exploring.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Puppies' Introduction to the Mascots

Copper's first glimpse of the pups up close.

This little guy doesn't seem the least bit concerned about the new face looking down at him.

Blue decided he needed to get into the pool with them for a better look.

It was nice to see the curiosity displayed by the pups. They didn't seem to be the least bit afraid of the strange looking little dogs that appeared in their pool.

Journey's First "Taste" of the Trail

Journey next to Lilly, the seasoned veteran

Perfect manners for such a young pup.

Resting by the rig.

Journey at 4 mos 2 weeks and 38lbs. She'll be a big girl when she grows up!

During our training run today, Journey was jumping out of her skin to be hooked up with the other dogs. We changed plans and decided we'd give her a little taste of the trail.

Being careful to make it a fun experience that was stress-free, the young pup was harnessed and placed next to a steady and easy-going veteran. She tangled once and attempted to chew the neckline once then it was all business. Journey jumped up and lunged into her harness. Going slowly on a flat trail, we ran the team approximately 500 yards then stopped to praise them all, with the biggest praise going to the new little member of the team. Journey had pulled steadily the entire time. Her tug line was then detached and she ran along attached by only the neckline to preserve her growing bones and joints. This combination was repeated up to approximately a mile. That was just enough. She seemed pretty happy with herself. It will be fun to see her evolve into a full member of the Points Unknown team when she is old enough. Until then, she will continue to get a little "taste" of the trail now and then.

First Run of the Season

Zulu and Phoenix in lead. Lilly in point. Tukisi and Isis in wheel.

Klaus in lead.

Frankie and Sweet Pea in Point.

Icoa and her puppy, Ilu, in wheel.

Journey, along for the ride.

The team's first run of the season was on the day of Amaruq's horribly unexpected death. The vet informed me of the tragedy as I had just unloaded the dogs from a our run.

The successes of each dog on the team during their first run of the season need to be celebrated, even if overshadowed on that day, by the death of a beloved team member.

First Run goal: We kept it simple; have good manners and pull. Goal accomplished!

Temps: 38 degrees F at the beginning of the run and 44 degrees at the end.

Distance: 3 miles, each team.

Weight: An estimated 480lbs for each team. The dogs are split into two separate, smaller teams so that they can gain the strength they need to pull heavy loads.

Team members: 1st run - Zulu and Phoenix in lead. Lilly(Points Unknown dog handler, Chris' dog) in point. Tukisi and Isis in wheel. 2nd run - Klaus in lead, Klaus and Sweet Pea on the way back. Sweet Pea and Frankie(Chris' dog) in point. Ilu and Icoa in wheel.

Items of interest: The 2nd portion of last season, Tukisi stopped pulling. His coat was extremely coarse and he lacked his normal spark. He was diagnosed with hypothyroidism a couple of months ago and was put on medication. We were excited to see how he would do on this first run. He pulled the entire time with all of his heart and soul and never slacked. Tuki's back to his old self, thanks to the proper diagnosis and medication!

Journey came along for the ride in the truck to get her used to the routine. She was able to get out between runs to mingle with the other dogs and hopefully they shared some good trail tips with her. She sure was upset to get put back in her box when we headed out on the run.

This is the first year that Phoenix will run full-time lead. He was amazing when placed up with Zulu at 10 months old and we anxiously awaited his first season run. This boy is a natural. Holding the line tight, he showed excellent leadership skills. He remained calm at hook up and sat while the rest of the team was hooked-up. With Zulu to guide him, he smoothly did the requested "gee come" to head back to the truck.

Zulu is 11 yrs old this season and didn't miss a beat. He'll be monitored for signs of stiffness through out the season. As long as his attitude is good and he wants to run, and his health allows, he will run. When not running, he is being prepped to be a house dog.

Klaus pulls his heart out period. He is an exceptional sled dog and becoming an exceptional leader.

Sweet Pea is an awesome puller. She will lead but only if she has to. She would prefer to take the commands from point position because it feels a little less intimidating to her.

Icoa and Ilu provided the sound effects for the run. While all of the Alaskans are quiet as can be, these two enjoy vocalizing their excitement at the top of their lungs until the command to go is given. Once running, they go silent and pull, pull, pull.

Isis is 9 years old this year and suffered an unexplained seizure last year. There were concerned that she may want to retire this year. This run proved quite differently.

Tuloon is out with the puppies until roughly mid-December. At that time, we'll have to slowly work her up to the same distance and load of the other dogs.

Chris, the Points Unknown dog handler, brings his dogs Lilly and Frankie along to train with the Points Unknown dogs in the fall. Lilly came from a mid-distance kennel to Chris and his family a year ago and is all go, go, go. Frankie is a traditional sled dog from northern Minnesota and has been with Chris for 3 1/2 years. He's usually a serious puller but looks like he'll need a couple more runs to get him in a little better shape. Too much couch napping for this guy possibly? Not a thing wrong with that. Two more runs and he'll be back to his powerful pulling self.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tuloon/Bazil Male Puppies

This is Zodiak. He appears to be the most dominant of the bunch and is the largest, weighing in at 3lbs 6 oz today. He is responsive and will come over to my side of the pool when he hears my voice but has a time limit on his affection. He wants to see me, be held then he's off to patrolling the pen.

Rusty faced boy weighed in at 3lbs 3 oz today. He seems to be mild and content with whatever the situation. He likes being held but is content not to be, as well.

The boy with the white flash between his eyes is Oken. Oken is the smallest of the boys at 2lbs 13oz. He is the most responsive of all of the pups and stops what he is doing to toddle over when he hears my voice.

Tuloon/Bazil Female Puppies

At 3lbs, the "T" Girl is the largest of the females. She also has the biggest personality and is always making me laugh with the "opinions" she so often voices. Its obvious when she is tired of someone stepping on her head or when she is looking for Tuloon or when she has just awakened from a nap and wants to play. She has different little vocalizations for each.

This is Wahya which means "wolf" in Cherokee. She weighed 2lbs 13oz today. Mild and sweet, she seems content when held. A little game of dominance was noticed when Wahya and the White Nose girl took turns over and over laying on each other. One would lay over the other and the one underneath would promptly extract themselves and get back on top.

White nose girl is the most mild of all of the girls. She weighed 2lbs and 13 oz today. When being held, she goes limp and promptly falls asleep. Now that's content.

Tuloon/Bazil Pups - 2 weeks old

The puppy crew.

Two of the girls playing.

The pups are now 2 weeks old. At 10 days old they began sucking on each other's ears. Their eyes began to open at 11 days and at the same time they began to play with each other. Today is the beginning of the more active days for the babies. When they aren't sleeping or eating they are moving all around the pool and are responsive to my voice. The little howls began today. That has got to be the cutest thing; watching a tiny baby howl for the first time.

The pups had their first worming today and their toenails were trimmed again this week.

The pups are a welcome and joyful distraction to the pain and shock of Amaruq's sudden and unexpected death earlier today.