Using a plastic freezer bag to search for lost items needing to be found was a pretty valuable tip given to us by our vet. We were shocked to discover that we had a sled dog vet within 20 minutes of us for the past 10 years and had never even known! Dr. Jackie Piepkorn from the Westonka Animal Hospital has been the official vet for some major races through the United States and has visited Alaskan villages so is even familiar with our traditional style of sled dogs. What a find!
Three weeks ago, not considering my "Quest for a more simple life......" I booked an impromptu trip out to New Hampshire for the first weekend in December to visit our dear friends at Uktousa Kennel and the new Hedlund Husky puppies. I began to scramble to prepare for my departure, justifying the trip in the name of "balance". Even if I now had to work that much harder for the next week, I could then enjoy some down time or actually a change which can be as good as a rest. As you see, Lidia and Richard are also not too familiar with that illusive state of rest and I knew we would not be idle.
It was three days and counting when we discovered a rubber bungee missing in the dog yard. It's always something. Klaus, Oken and White Feather were the three most likely suspects as they were in the "right" place at the "right" time. Thankfully, we did find the two metal "S" hooks that attach to either side of the 18inch bungee rather quickly. Now all we had to do was track down the remainder. Rebecca and I searched every inch of the kennel with a rake and sorted through the straw in the houses by hand. Not one bit of bungee was found. If the offender chewed the bungee into tiny bits before eating then we have less to worry about. The bigger the bits, the more concerned we needed to be.
We booked our potential bungee eaters for a visit to the vet the next day and one day before I was to leave for New Hampshire. Thorough exams were given and based upon how each dog reacted to the poking and prodding , it was determined that Klaus was the one to watch most closely and White Feather was the least likely to be our culprit. Rubber doesn't show up on x-rays so a final determination could not be made until there was physical evidence passing through.
Klaus and Oken were isolated in our kennel closest to the house and would be brought inside at night for observation. If any vomiting began this could mean that we have a large piece in the stomach that can not move out through the back end so must come up out the front end. If vomiting continued, he was to be rushed to the vet. I began to question whether or not I would make my trip to New Hampshire, however after speaking with the vet, getting an emergency vet shuttle service (a nearby friend) lined up and going over the protocol for the next few days with Rebecca, I felt that there would be nothing I could do that Rebecca couldn't do while I was gone.
Rubber bits began to come out that afternoon and Rebecca began to piece them together like a puzzle to make certain it all came out. It was good to see that the bits were small so I felt even more comfortable with leaving the next day.
Time for departure! Rebecca had a two page instruction sheet for all of the dogs and had everything under control so off I went to the airport dark and early on a Thursday morning. Ah! a bit of relaxing time. Although not excited about a plane change in Detroit, it did bring me closer to my destination so a long car ride would not have to take place at the end of my travels. As I was about to board the plane in Detroit, I made a quick call home to check on Klaus. He had began to vomit that morning and had vomited up some larger bits of rubber. Rebecca had done the right thing and gotten a hold of the vet right away and they were in the process of devising a new plan that included a dose of hydrogen peroxide so that it would foam in his stomach, making him vomit even more in hopes that any other bits would come up. Imagine my feelings of helplessness as I boarded the plane not knowing what the outcome would be and not being able to do a thing about it. I did manage to let go, knowing he was in good hands.
Upon my arrival in Manchester, New Hampshire I was able to touch base again with Rebecca to find out the latest on Klaus, who we soon decided was the ONLY bungee eater in the bunch. He did end up throwing up again once induced and out came more bits. As long as he is acting normal and eating and drinking as usual, there is no reason to worry at this point. And he was so Rebecca continued her "treasure hunt".
Little did we know at that time that one of the five biggest winter blizzards would be pounding down on Minnesota in just two days adding even more adventure to Rebecca's first time alone with the sled dogs.