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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Run with Family (Still No Snow)

We've had a full house during the holidays and everyone wanted to come out and see what the dogs do when there's no snow. We all headed to the trail, big puppies and all then picked up Olive, Neil's mum and nephew Andy on the run back while everyone else walked Rommel and Rayna and met us back at the trail head.

The team in the video consists of Phoenix in single lead, Tuloon and Zala in point, Zodiak and Illy in team and Journey and Ilo in wheel.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Topa/Oken Puppies; 5 Weeks Old

Silver Bay (Misquah) - 8lbs 3oz - will be staying at Points Unknown
Temperance (JitterBug) - 7lbs 9oz - This beautiful girl will be going to Jim and Judy Dunlop south of the Twin Cities.
Grand Marais - 7lbs 9oz - Will be joining Thom Swan near Fairbanks, Alaska and joining the Stardancer Historical Freight Dogs.
Tofte (Salsa) - 8lbs 2oz - Will be joining Temperance (JitterBug) and going to the Dunlops kennel.
Lutsen - 7lbs 14oz - Has a wonderful home that will be announced soon!
Gooseberry (Irish) - 8lbs 5oz - will be staying at Points Unknown
Arrow - 8lbs 11oz - will be staying at Points Unknown

Happy Holidays to you all!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Topa/Oken Puppies; 4 Weeks Old

Silver Bay (Misquah) - 6lbs 4oz
Temperance - 6lbs
Grand Marais - 6lbs 1oz
Tofte - 6lbs 7oz
Lutsen - 6lbs 4oz
Gooseberry (Irish) - 6lbs 5oz
Arrow - 6lbs 11oz
The puppies spent their first night outside last night! Our mild temperatures are good for something. It was in the upper 40s yesterday and upper 20s overnight which made the transition very smooth. No one chose to stay in the "hot box" part of the dog house with two heat lamps that keep the temperature in the upper 70s to low 80s depending upon outside temperatures, so they must  have been warm enough. The indoor dog house is located in a shed and it has an insulated floor and is insulated on two sides by straw bales. The pups and Topa have access to the outdoor portion of the kennel at any time but few have chose to venture too far just yet.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Topa/Oken Puppies; 3 Weeks Old

Silver Bay - 4lbs 11oz
Temperance - 4lbs 4oz
Grand Marais - 4lbs 9oz
Tofte - 4lbs 11oz
Lutsen - 4lbs 9oz
Gooseberry - 4lbs 7oz
Arrow - 4lbs 15oz

At 2 1/2 weeks old the puppies began walking on all four legs, ALL around the whelping box. They spend a lot more time playing than they did before. Soft kibble was introduced today at 3 weeks old and toenails were trimmed again.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

2 week old puppies; Group Photos



Points Unknown Handler - Kristen Eckwright

Kristen and Sweet Pea
Kristen Eckwright was born and raised in rural Minnesota and will graduate in the Spring of 2012. She has lived with animals her entire life ranging from giant Saint Bernards to tiny Yorkies. She currently has four dogs of her own including three lab-mixes and a Yorkie, three rabbits, and over 20 farm cats. Kristen has always known of her love for working with dogs. At the age of 10, she started training her own dogs through 4-H. Within a few years, she began competing in AKC obedience, rally, and agility. Wanting to help more animals, she started volunteering at the Brown County Humane Society. She spends much of her time there exercising dogs or helping to teach them basic manners. For dogs that need special attention or simply need to learn to trust humans, she brings her passion home and fosters them to make them more adoptable.

At the age of four, Kristen was introduced to the world of figure skating. She instantly fell in love and the sport became a huge part of her life for twelve years. She was forced to quit due to an injury, but quickly began to find new activities to fill some of her spare time. She discovered her love for hiking and the outdoors. Not long after, she began taking her dogs on bikejoring outings and started her own two-dog team, turning her Labradors into hard-pulling “sled dogs”. 

After both Kristen and her dogs fell in love with “mushing”, she wanted to learn even more about real sled dogs. She met Linda about two years ago after joining the Points Unknown Canicross Club. It wasn’t hard to become addicted to the sled dogs! Now she spends much of her time volunteering for Points Unknown and helping out with any tasks that need to be done. Working with the sled dogs has helped her to realize more what she wants to do with her future – share her passions of nature and wildlife with other people.

Two Worlds Collide

The sunrise on the morning of "the incident".

I had to share a funny yet kind of icky story with you from last week. It was probably one of the most busy weeks I can remember which is saying a lot because every week here at Points Unknown is just plain busy with dogs, candles, dog business, appraisals, honey, etc, etc, etc.

Now then, let's add 7 beautiful tiny puppies and two older rambunctious puppies to the mix and the need to be gone during the day for most of the week with last minute notice! Let me first say that there is no way I could have gotten through last week without Lisa, Missy and most of all Kristen. These three wonderful young ladies were right there, with last minute notice, helping me take care of the precious puppies and making sure Topa got outside when she needed to. Kristen even came for the day and fed the dogs twice, took care of Topa and puppies, walked the house dogs, raked out the dog kennels, removed straw from the boxes and gave them all new so that I could just "be" after my mind numbingly long and intense week.

So, what caused my week to be in such upset? I was called upon to be an expert witness in an appraisal related jury trial in southern Minnesota. This required hours of meetings and preparation the week prior and actual testimony in court last week. The testimony kept getting put off at the last minute so I didn't know which way was up for a couple days. I procrastinated on searching for the very few court appropriate pieces of clothing in my closet until 15 minutes prior to my departure to find out that the pants I had, well, didn't quite fit and I was concerned I would split a seam when walking up to the stand! That was all I had so I had to make them work. I made certain I had a lint brush along and somehow used it twice before even getting from my bedroom to the front door. 

Topa needed to get out one last time before I left so, dressed in my super fancy clothes (of which I have one set), I removed the baby gate from the laundry room and she came prancing past me through my beeswax candles shop. Before she got to the door, she shook as dogs often do and out the door she went. After tucking her back into the laundry room and saying good bye to seven beautiful babies, I began to walk out the door. As I brushed my hand against the right side of my hair, I was stopped in my tracks by a goopy, slimy, red tinged substance. It was in my hair!  Topa, only having had her puppies a week and a half prior, was still having some post whelping drainage and, you got it, it ended up in my hair! She must have flung it when she shook just before I let her out.

Now running late, I rushed to the sink to do my best at washing it out of that portion of my hair. I had no time to take another shower. So off I went; dog hair likely all over my black outfit with pants so tight I could barely breathe and I feared I would split a seam at any moment, potential gooby stuff still in my hair and, on top of it, I awoke with a blood vessel that had burst in my left eye, likely due to stress and the onset of a cold so, in general, I looked quite the fright!

I'm happy to report that my testimony went off without a hitch, my pants didn't split, my eye is no longer blood shot, no one noticed gooby stuff in my hair and after a full day of Kristen on dog duty, I feel absolutely wonderful!

Topa/Oken Puppies; 2 weeks old

Silver Bay - 3lbs 1oz - A serene puppy. Appears to be very much like Topa at this age
Temperance - 2lbs 15oz - Another calm and serene puppy,reminding me of Topa at this age
Grand Marais - 3lbs 1oz - More vocal than the silver girls and very sweet and wiggly.
Tofte - 3lbs 4oz - Has been the one that climbs up on top of mom after feeding and has done this since day one. Very aware of my presence
Lutsen - 2lbs 14oz - Reminds me of a little fox. She is quiet but voices her opinions loudly, reminding me of her Grandma Tuloon.
Gooseberry - 2lbs 15oz - She is still quite a character with lots of outspoken personality. Reminds me of my Zulu line pups.
Arrow - 3lbs 3oz - Has a similar presence to Gooseberry. Vocal and active.

The Topa/Oken puppies turn 2 weeks old today! Topa is a deep Hedlund line Alaskan Husky and Oken is half Hedlund and half Points Unknown's Zulu line. We're excited about the mix!

Eyes were open at 11-12 days and they are aware of each other and also of when I am in the room. They get handled every couple of hours. The room temperature was originally at 85 degrees or hotter depending upon whether the pups were under the heat lamp. Since they will be introduced to the great white outdoors in just a few weeks, we are slowly lowering the temperature of the room. It is now at 75 degrees. Puppies can't regulate their own body temperatures until after 3 weeks and we're noticing that with the temperature decrease, they are tending to cuddle more but still are very independent puppies, wandering off to their own part of the whelping box much of the time.

The puppies and Topa were wormed last evening. Our worming protocol begins at 2 weeks and goes every other week until they are 8 weeks old. First Parvo/Distemper shots are not to be given in this line until after 8 weeks of age with a second booster given 4 weeks later.

From the scratches on my hands, it's time to trim puppy nails again!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Illy and Aise; 1 Year Old Today!

Aise and Illy turn one year old today! They are Hedlund Huskies out of  Points Unknown/Uktousa's Tumac and Kimmik Kennels/Uktousa's Daisy at Uktousa Kennel in New Hampshire

First Puppy Pull Training Session

Rommel, 12 weeks old and Rayna, 8 weeks old, were harnessed for the first time.
They were praised every time they demonstrated a desirable behavior such as pulling and moving forward.
We had our puppy moments, which we just let happen.

And more puppy moments.....
Rommel strikes a pose despite having his leg caught in Rayna's harness.
And we had moments of perfection as both puppies pulled straight forward in harness. Our entire session lasted about 15 minutes; short and sweet and ended on a good note!

Topa/Oken Puppies; 1 Week Old

Silver Bay - 1lb 13oz - very soft longer coat, goes limp when picked up
Temperance - 1lb 13oz - very soft coat, goes limp when picked up
Grand Marais - 1lb 14oz - middle of the road
Tofte - 1lb 13oz - middle of the road but leaning towards the softer side
Lutsen - 1lb 10oz - middle of the road but leaning towards the squirmier side
Gooseberry - 1lb 12oz - vocal and wiggly when picked up
Arrow - 2lb 1oz - Most vocal and most wiggly when picked up - Only Boy!

 These pups are healthy and thriving. Can't tell you how happy I am about this considering that we lost two puppies from our last litter in 2009. They're all gaining weight at a normal rate and appear to be very active for pups this age as they scoot all over the whelping box. These pups don't "puppy pile". They wander off on their own in different corners of the box. They're just discovering themselves and have an awareness of those around them. First puppy toenail cutting is later today!

I've included some of the first observations I've made of each pup under their photos, keeping in mind that things change so much along the way so no real determination of temperament or coat type can be made at this stage.