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Friday, May 7, 2010

That's a Strange Way to Spend Your Morning

McKenzie looks back with fond memories of the Inver Grove Heights Vet Clinic while Zala keeps him in the corner of her eye.

Those not fully immersed in a dog mushing lifestyle may think that spending the morning transporting a dog to and from a semen collection and viability test is a strange way to spend a morning. I've never done it before so it was certainly different but a part of the job of a musher wishing to help preserve a rare line of Alaskan Husky called the Hedlund Husky.

I enjoy catching friends and colleagues outside of the dog mushing world off guard with these strange and unusual events. It makes me chuckle. The email sent to my appraisal office manager indicated that I would not be available until the early afternoon today to discuss any issues regarding appraisals I had recently sent over because I would be taking a dog to the vet over an hour away for a semen collection and viability test. "That's a strange way to spend your morning, " she replied. This reply was then followed by a number of questions about this event.

McKenzie will turn 9 years old this year and for his long term health, we will be getting him neutered. He has sired two outstanding litters over the years and our preservation group wanted to make sure his genes live on even if he is no longer able to do the job personally.

The Inver Grove Heights Animal Hospital was contacted several weeks ago on a referral from our regular vet. This vet clinic specializes in the reproductive issues of canines. They are also home to the "Minnesota Veterinarian of the Year". We were given paperwork and instructions. Those instructions included making the appointment for McKenzie when we had a "teaser" available to bring along. If you haven't already guessed, a "teaser" is a female in heat. Just so happens, Zala is in heat so she was our official "teaser" and since she is currently being bred with Phoenix, special care was taken to make certain McKenzie didn't come too close. On the way to and from the vet, Zala would be sequestered in a crate next to McKenzie.

Once Zala was brought into the room and situated, I looked up and it was all over! Semen collection complete. McKenzie had done this before so no one needed to give him any instructions. The sample was quickly analyzed under a microscope and the count came back at a "billion". Not sure how they managed to count to a billion in 10 minutes but I'm sure they have their secret ways. Having never seen this phenomenon under a microscope before, I was fascinated to watch all of those little black squigglies zipping back and forth. I couldn't help but feel a bit proud of my McKenzie guy at that moment; as if I had something to do with his "success". I imagined giving a high five to the vet tech but thought that would be a bit over the top. Instead, I quietly thanked them for their help and loaded up my manly husky and went home.

Upon our return, the message on the answering machine from the vet clinic indicated that they were able to successfully freeze nine breeding units from that billion count sperm collection. This is a wonderful thing for the Hedlund Husky Preservation Project!

Way to go Kenzie!

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