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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tukisi Turns Nine

Tukisi, a Canadian Inuit Dog

Tukisi turned nine years old on Friday, April 4th. Tukisi, meaning "he who understands" in the Inuktitut language, came to Points Unknown at the age of four. He had never been in harness and appeared to have an issue in his gait. A visit to the University of Minnesota vet found that he either had a degenerative spinal chord disease which had never been found, to my knowledge, in a Canadian Inuit Dog or was in a previous situation where his muscles didn't develop properly.

We decided to delay any further testing until we were able to get him in harness and see how he developed. Once his muscles began to build up, the gait issue disappeared. Five years later, as long as he gets regular exercise, Tuki's gait is normal.

At the end of the 2006-2007 mushing season, Tuki quit working. His tug line went slack and he grew lethargic. As spring came, his coat didn't shed and it became dull and dry. Soon after, he was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Once put on the proper medication, this dog completely bounced back. He shed his harsh old coat to make way for a luxurious coat, much like that of a puppy. His energy returned in full force and he began his daily antics of "talking back" to his kennel mate, Isis and buzzing around the yard like a much younger dog.

Not knowing how the medication would affect his work ethic, we were eager for fall to come to begin training. Although Tuki's age has brought on the need for a slower pace, we were happy to see that he is still the steady puller he has always been since he joined us.

In addition to a having a good work ethic, Tukisi is full of happiness and practical jokes. He likes to bonk people from behind and put his mouth around their arm during play, ever so gently.

Happy Birthday to Tukisi!

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