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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rub-a-dub-dub, one-Husky-in-the-tub!

We have begun the official spring bath days, full-well knowing that the rainy season has arrived in this area. But, we have to start somewhere, right? So, Gibson was the first candidate. We are very fortunate that we have a terrific groomer. He used to work for our vet and that is how he was recommended to us. We previously took our Sibes to get their grooming done out-of-house, but with our groomer—ready for this??? He does house calls – how cool is that??? He knows my “kids” and just how to handle each one. With Gib, we always keep an extra eye on him afterwards to be sure the excitement and stress of a bath doesn’t bring on any seizures. Gibson is my epileptic (diagnosed a year ago) and he currently weighs in at 107 pounds. (I think that may be some sort of world record weight for a Siberian Husky.)  His seizures are controlled by meds, and since then, he has gained 13 pounds. I have placed him on a special diet, and our vet has given him a thumbs-up as being healthy and muscular, but I am still working on getting him down a few pounds as he has one physical attribute that his younger siblings, thankfully, do not have—short legs. In my opinion, he has the shortest legs for a Husky, and with his large size, I worry about the future strain to his legs. To help his joints, he is on a vitamin regimen, and has a very nice egg-foam bed in the winter and he gets the cooler bed in the summer, which also helps combat the mere fact that he is always warm. He is after all, a Sibe, and a “wooly” to boot! As a matter of fact, when outside, he likes to lie on his back spread-eagle, belly to the heavens, cooling himself off. He especially likes the rain (in the absence of his favorite thing – snow) sprinkling on his belly. When in this position, he always has this silly “ahhhhh” smile on his face. It’s quite amusing to witness! That said, he had his bath, and has been groomed, and his belly fur trimmed. My clean handsome prince is very proud of his looks, and he is now ready for the arrival of this week's predicted warmer weather. As for the other Sibes, well, we all know the continuing saga of the “Mud Monster” and his side-kick, so I’ll be waiting a few weeks before having them get bathed. In the meantime, I’m enjoying one clean Sibe…provided he stays out of his younger brother’s mud pools!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes

So, we've all seen the photo of my "Mud Monster." Here is a side-by-side comparison of the very same Sibe...I kid you not! What a difference a day makes! Well, that is at least until tomorrow when we get the forecasted rains (we had a whole one day of rain relief) and then the "Mud Monster" cometh again!!! I better get those ShamWows ready (they are fantastic, by the way). To all our furry friends, here's hoping you and your Hu-families have a wonderful, fun-filled, mudless night!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March Mudness

March Madness here at the "Double H" does not mean basketball, it translates to March Mudness, and pretty much means chaos. Just check out my boy, whose AKC name is Wolfgang "White Wolf" of Mystic Mountain, and yes, he is a registered Pure White Siberian Husky. Honest. Now, while I'm looking at his adorable, "I'm sorry, Mom" face, with those bright blue eyes jumping right out through that lovely shade of mud, I'm wondering if the Siberian Husky Club ever came up with a name for the shades of these spring markings...? We have our official Black & White, Gray & White (including Wolf Gray and Silver Gray), Red & White, Sable & White, Agouti & White, and of course, Pure White. Maybe it's time for some seasonal color names, too, like Yuck Brown, Muddy Mink, Soak-Me Sepia, etc. Either way, Mom loves her Mud Monster...and the groomer even more! Did someone say "snow???"


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring has arrived! Let's keep our Huskies happy and healthy...

Well, spring has officially sprung today, and it is most welcome! Well, at least by our Hu-family. Our FiveSibes, on the other hand, I think are still dreaming of a fluffy white backyard! With the arrival of spring with its longer days and warmer weather, there is much more time for Husky fun: later hours for play, car rides with the windows open, ice cream, and pool season is just around the corner, so they will be very happy Huskies even without the snow. Pictured here is my wooly boy, Gibson (way too cool in his shades), all set and ready to go for his walk in the sun...well, that is as soon as he gets his comfy self off the couch! Let's all remember that with the nice weather, also comes specific care issues for our Sibes...as with all pets. For us Hu-family members, that means no slacking off on the heartworm preventatives; keeping up with flea/tick/mosquito control; watching out for stagnant pools of water (that are so prominent this time of year) to prevent Giardia, and keeping a close eye out for poisonous plants along the roadsides and in backyards. And most of all, always keeping plenty of cool, fresh drinking water available to our fur babies. So, with that said, here's to a great spring season with lots of beautiful weather and happy, healthy Sibes!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

There's nothing like a good game of Husky Football!

After a stressful few days of meeting deadlines, I went out to hang with “the kids” last night. When I’m stressed or in a bad mood, aside from hanging with my daughter, spending time with our fur babies always makes me feel better. They are funny, charming, cute, and silly. How can you help but smile when you see their big inquisitive blue eyes gazing up at you? And their silly shenanigans just make me laugh. Even if they are sound asleep, the slightest sound of the door creaking, and they are up and ready to love. So, there I am after an intense 11-hour shift of writing and editing, looking for a little relief…when our Harley girl drops a dog toy in my lap. What’s this? Tug-o-war, you ask? Why certainly, I could use some aggression-release at this point. So we are having a good go at it…me pulling, her tugging, me pulling harder, her tugging harder…oh, wait, Bandit has now joined in…it’s a three-way game now…oh, curious Chloe trotted over to check out all the excitement…and Gibson meandered over, deciding to give up napping for play. Bandit picked up on my just-got-done-with-work-stress level and her fur was standing straight up, Mohawk-style, from the base of her neck to her tail and then she really got into the game--BIG time. Tug, pull, growl-talk, tug. Harley got control of the toy (which is really a few tied scraps left to what once was a large felt braid) and she took off running…and panting...with her neck fur straight-up at attention (although not quite a Mohawk). And then Bandit moved in for the steal, and she missed! Wolf tried to intercept, but missed as Harley charged down the middle of the deck—right into the Hu-Mom (me) who had control of the “ball,” however brief. Tug, pull, growl-talk, tug. Yay! I once again regained control of the toy. “Harley, go deep!” I yelled as I pitched the “ball” across the deck sending all five Sibes thundering across the wood. It was a great mid-air catch by Nanuk “Harley” Mari! Then a few Sibes broke out in a tumble as Harley slipped past them with the toy and shoved it, in all of its dog-saliva-dripping glory, into my hands for more play, but not before Bandit and Wolf got a piece of it, and it was back to a three-way tug for control before they totally tired me out. I dropped down to get my share of happy Husky kisses and gave them a big group hug. Smiles abounded, both canine and human. What more can I say? A few rounds of Husky Football is the best damned stress therapy in town!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Apache," the NY Wolf Conservation Center's Ambassador Wolf, Crosses the Rainbow Bridge

Speaking of wolf songs - today, I'd like to take a  moment to reflect on the Sibes' distant cousin - the Wolf - and pay tribute to "Apache," an arctic wolf and the alpha of the New York's Wolf Conservation Center's pack, who passed away on March 10. A beautiful wolf has now crossed the Rainbow Bridge and his spirit is now running free and wild across the great skies. Our sincerest condolences to the Apache's hu-family at the Center, as well as his pack. Please visit the Dog Files and view the video tribute (keep watching after the last photo for a beautiful live segment of Apache howling at the end - and have some tissues on hand), as well as a great episode of The Dog Files highlighting Apache and his pack at the Center. Both are worth watching. Rest in peace, Apache. Follow The Dog Files link at http://www.thedogfiles.com/2010/03/12/a-tribute-to-apache/


Friday, March 12, 2010

Wolf Song: Happy Howling Huskies!


As any Sibe owner can attest, Huskies can sometimes have a lot to say and they  L-O-V-E to howl, sing, or “woo.” My furry kids break out in song at least several times a day. My neighbors love it. Seriously, they do. When they don’t hear them sing, they actually inquire to be sure all is OK with the pack. Like I said, I have really great neighbors! So at the break of dawn (or before, depending on when who wakes up), they begin the day with the early morning song; then the late morning song, followed by the early afternoon song, and then the early evening, and finally the late evening song. Usually one Sibe is the bandleader (they must draw twigs or something because the pups each take turns in this role). He or she will talk, bark, or woo to start the others singing. They each do a little warm up (simultaneously) until they fall into a group chorus and howl and woo to their hearts’ content. Now, when you hear them, it really is a beautiful thing even though our alpha girl really can’t sing. Nope, no golden pipes for her. But bless her heart, she gives it her all, and for some reason, the rest of the pack family just loves to hear her. So, as a result, she just loves to sing. She tosses her head back in true wolf-style and howls and sings so off-key, you just have to wonder how the other kids don’t notice! When they are done with their brief concert, they settle down in their Husky huddle ready for a nap as I clap and tell them how beautiful they all sounded. They unitedly gaze at me with those beautiful blue eyes, sometimes one or two will wink and two or three will smile, all the while being very confident that they do, indeed, sing beautiful wolf songs. If you'd like to hear my kids sing...turn up the volume!!! Your Sibes may very well join in the concert!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

It's Birthday time...let them eat cake!

Today is our alpha queen, Nanuk "Harley" Mari's fifth birthday! I can't believe how fast five years have gone by! It seems like just yesterday she was a mere pup. Harley is our first Sibe. She was a gift for our daughter who had wanted one since she was a little girl. Harley came from a breeder in Mahopac, New York, and along with her beauty, she has a very upper-class, typical Husky attitude and we love her for it! She is our alpha and a queen. We had her for a solid year before getting her a partner, Gibson, who is her faithful always-in-love-with-her soul mate. Then, after being a couple for two years, we suddenly one day bombarded them with the three puppy littermates! Harley once again adjusted her role and became a surrogate mom to the pups. Now, they are all one big happy Husky family! Now I have to say, birthdays here at our Husky Haven are big events and we go all out for our "kids"...party hats, toys, pizza crust, and a bone-shaped ice cream cake complete with an age candle (unlit, of course)! They say the average dog can understand approximately 150 to 600 words, and the Siberian Husky tops the charts with a whopping 950 to 1,000 words...well, "Birthday," "Ice Cream," "Pizza," "Play," and "Toys!"are the chart-toppers in this family! Well, I hear them all howling, so it's definitely time for cake. How do you all celebrate birthdays with your Sibes or dogs? I'd love to hear about it! For now, I'm off to a Husky Party! Good night all!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Visit to the vet hospital yields unsolved mystery...Can you help?

So earlier this evening, we are outside playing with our Sibes and my daughter notices a funky, sticky, blood-spotted yellow area on the deck carpet where the "kids" lay. We do a complete body check on all five Sibes, nada. We take a sample of the strange substance for the vet, then notice our youngest boy goes down into yard and stops digging his body-sized hole and is foaming at the mouth...I mean really foaming. He is acting spacey, his body language is strange, and earlier he had no appetite for dinner, nor breakfast this morning. Now sometimes when the weather gets warmer, my Sibes don't eat as much, but compounded by the mystery blood-spotted substance, we high-tail it over to the emergency vet hospital (it's after-hours for our regular vet) to have him checked out. All is OK. The foaming stopped and the vet suspects he chewed on something disagreeable in that hole. No blood in his specimen, so that was a giant relief. However, that now leaves four others who the specimen could possibly belong to. They suspect maybe one of Sibes could possibly have a UTI, but we need to watch. Has anyone else had any experience with their fur baby having either a UTI or discharging a sticky, blood-spotted yellow mystery substance?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Window Watching...Sibe Style!

We are in the process of redecorating our living room. Where heavy drapes previously covered our front bay window, now is just a blind giving a wide view to our street and neighborhood. It let's tons of light in and is now the focal point of our room...and of our Huskies! They now have a new favorite spot! They love to come in and perch themselves right in front of the window and people watch...or squirrel watch...or cat watch...or bird watch...or watch whatever it is that might move "out there." Thank goodness there is order among pack members as they seem to agree on who gets to sit where. While they can sit for long periods of time gazing out the windows, we can sit for long periods of time just watching them watch!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sugar is sweet...and so are maple tree roots!

Now that the snow has mostly melted, and the mud puddles finally dried up (at least until the spring rains come), my five Sibes have taken to their second favorite hobby, digging. Now anyone who has a wonderful Siberian Husky knows that aside from their ultimate favorite sport—running—digging comes in a very close second. So, in their backyard (yes, they actually have their own backyard to do whatever they want in!) we have this humongous maple tree that gives them awesome shade in the summer, and is a thing of beauty in the autumn. That is, unless a family of five Sibes comes along and digs holes large enough to bury a small building in, thereby exposing all the roots of said maple tree. In the Sibe world, that means one thing—Jackpot! The roots are the equivalent to a ton of sugar in the human world. So, here are all my babies, in their absolute glory digging and chewing and sucking the maple sweetness out of the tree’s lower extremities. And exactly what do those spiking sugar levels do to them? Now, we all know how energetic Sibes are on normal day, now let’s multiply that by 10,000 giant “Pixie Stixes,” and you guessed it, five amped up Husky kids! When my daughter brought them in, they had quite the case of the "zoomies!" They were hyper, eyes wide, hopping and skipping across the wood floor, sailing through the air, and touching down (briefly) on the furniture, all in an awkward, staccato, maple sugar-filled high that played out with a definitive rhythm that went something like this: Floor, chair, sofa. Sofa, chair, floor. Slide, stop, jump, slide, sofa, chair, floor. Now, naturally, my Husky kids are outside on the deck crashed out sleeping peacefully in their famous Husky huddle, probably having visions of giant Pixie Stixes dancing in their heads! Whew…after all that, I think we need a nap!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Greetings, and oh, is it snack time???

Pictured here are our FiveSibes ever-so-patiently waiting at our back kitchen door.Why are they waiting you ask? Well, I don't know about your Sibe babies, but when it comes to anything food, we have their immediate rapt attention! They can be in the middle of playing, sleeping, digging, chewing, or tearing something up, but when they hear either a shake of the "bone" jar or the rustling of a plastic bag, we suddenly have five very happy furbabies all around us, wooing and pawing and posing away for a treat. Funny part is, our back door has now become synonymous with food. They can be over in the far side of the yard digging their body-size trenches to Australia, but when they hear the back door open, they thunder their way up onto the deck at break-neck speed for some Husky hugs...well, I like to think so anyhow! In reality, they are looking for...you guessed it...a snack! Although the Husky hugs are wanted (when I'm being honest with myself I know the hugs are wanted more by the HuFamily than the Sibe Family), but in reality they are looking for that special treat hidden in our hands. So in our Husky Haven, a door opening equals a snack. But then again, a window opening equals a snack, a shake of a jar equals a snack, a bag (of any kind) equals a snack, a box (of any kind) equals a snack, hands in pocket equals a snack, one of our cars pulling in the driveway equals a snack....

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Bandit By Any Other Name is Still a Bandit

Shakespeare's Juliet asked,  "What's in a name?" Well, if you're one of our two-year-old triplet pups whose  name just happens to be Bandit, then there's a lot to the name! According to the dictionary, a bandit is a robber, an outlaw, a thief. Now considering our Bandit was given her name at just eight weeks old, there would be no way to know exactly what her personality would be like. In her case, it was destiny, fate, kizmet, whatever you would like to call it because in Bandit's world every single toy, scrap of fabric, bone, ball, even a rock--are all hers. She will gather them all, and in true bandito form, "steal" them all from the rest of her family, even if they were being played with. She will attempt to challenge even the alpha queen of the pack (who just stares her down then gives her a flip of the nose as if to say, "whatever.") She will then pile up all of her finds and perch herself atop them, like a chicken protecting her egg. As you can see in this photo where she is daring her older brother to try and take the toy back, you can almost hear the repetitive thought going through her mind, "Mine, mine, mine,mine, mine, mine!"--like the seagulls in Little Nemo! But just as Juliet's question was critical to the play Romeo and Juliet, it is just as apropos here for not only does our little Bandit steal material goods, she has also stolen our hearts and filled them with love. <3