Friday, October 23, 2009

Dog of the Day - Nikki

I've had a busy week. A very busy week. I'm training two dog teams and still working as much as possible. So life is a little hectic. I guess I'm making excuses as to my lack of blog updates. I'll just put a lid on it and get on with the blog.

Today we're going to celebrate Nikki!

Nikki is a 3 year old female out of Dean Osmar's kennel (Nikoli - Lazor offspring, ie, very good breeding). I know I say this about everyone, but she really is a wonderful dog. I believe she could hang in some of the best of teams out there. What I love the best about her though is her attitude. The girl is always happy and ALWAYS excited to go. She is very driven.

I got her from a man named Don who invested a great deal of time and money to form an Iditarod team; he bought dogs from to the top mushers (Osmar, King, Gephart, Mackey). For reasons out of his control, he had to dissolve his kennel. I've picked up a few dogs from him and have been happy with all of them. He is also a kind guy and has kids, thus the three dogs that I got from him were already very social, happy dogs (the others are Bullit and Pilot.... and I should have gotten more!). Nikki is one of my friendliest and outgoing dogs. Loves people and loves to be loved.

I bought her 2 years ago this November. She was a yearling (about 1 1/2 years old). November is well into the training season and I was running 25 miles at the time; too long to just throw in a yearling who hasn't been running. So on my first run, I brought a drop bag along (a bag that you put the dog in and carry her along on the sled/4-wheeler...I'll show you one later) so that she wouldn't have to run the whole 25 miles. Well she never did show any fatigue, but at 12 miles I thought I better bag her; didn't want to hurt her. Well she would have none of it! She was impossible. Pretty much went ape s*&^t. So, fine, back in the team you go. She finished just fine and has never shown me much fatigue since. She has been in every race I've been in and has been stellar. The only one she didn't finish was the Taiga 300 (2008) due to an injury. It was terribly warm and she pulled a muscle in her shoulder when she fell off the trail trying to scoop a snow snack (they scoop all the time, this was just a bad spot in the trail - bad luck). By the way, 'scooping' is when a dog dips down or to the side and scoops a little snowcone into their mouth. They do this contantly and can hydrate themselves amazingly well this way.

Nikki is a team dog, meaning that she's in the main team, not a leader. She can lead, in fact she lead in my first race when I was a really dumb rookie and made many mistakes and needed a leader. I put her up there and she helped get me home. But I don't put her up there routinely because of her only flaw: she can't poop and run at the same time! I mean she REALLY can't poop and run. Brings the whole team to a stop, abrubptly. And if I'm off in la la land (like at 3 am during the second day of a race) and can't get on the brake quite in time, I end up with a bit of a tangled mess. To top it off, she's a frequent pee-er and pooper. I don't hold it against her, just can't have her in lead.

Almost all of my dogs are spayed and neutered. I've never bred dogs, as there are lots of good dogs out there. I also just don't know if I want more dogs! I've got a young team and can race and play around with them for a long time. Thus, here is Nikki, getting spayed, by me, yesterday. And to my vet friends: she's my dog so I can wear or not wear whatever I please (thought I heard a mild gasp at my not wearing a surgical gown). I'm pretty fancy with my dogs in that I do them in a clinic. I've spayed/neutered a LOT of huskies on clients' kitchen tables (they wouldn't otherwise be spayed/neutered) and have had no problems. My experiences as a mobile vet in Alaska could be the topic of an entirely new blog. Now there's an idea!

1 comment:

  1. Its great to read about you and your dogs. You are an inspiration. Keep up all the hard work. love ya