Saturday, October 2, 2010

The "Backyard Iditarod" comes to the Tallmadge Branch Library

Foxy and I had our first dog sledding presentation of the season today at the Tallmadge Library! It was a great way to kick off fall, and the weather followed suit with a chilly rain.

Fourteen-year-old Foxy really enjoys our outings. It gives her a job to do, and she adores all the attention from the kids in the audience.

Foxy feelin' the love from the audience at the library talk today

Recently, Foxy gave us quite a scare.

I came home from work one day a couple weeks ago to find Foxy stumbling. She fell four times heading for the back door; I had to carry her in all of her 65 pounds outside to use the bathroom. Her head was tilted, and her eyes were doing a quick back-and-forth movement, called nystagmus. She was also drooling and walking in circles - all signs of a stroke, or so I thought.

I rushed her to our vet's office. She went reluctantly. Even though she could hardly walk, she still strongly refused to enter the vet's office willingly. I was relieved when Dr. Wittington said she had something called Canine Vestibular Syndrome, a relatively common thing that affects elderly dogs. It is idiopathic in Foxy, meaning we don't know what caused it. Her ears were fine; there was no sign of infection or mites. So we went home to wait it out.

Sure enough, within a few days, Foxy was back to normal, trotting along the puppy paths at the Ranch! We are so thankful!

Foxy and me at the Tallmadge Library

In other news, nothing says "I need a four-wheeler" quite like this bruise!

Six crazy dogs + one 80 pound cart and me = suicide mission #562!

Yes, it's true. I hooked up six dogs to my little cart. We took a corner quite sharp at the end of one of our dirty, country roads, and my leg collided with the post of a stop sign going six-dog-power forward. Lemme tell ya, it ain't pretty! And it's turning deeper shades of purple and blue as I type. OUCH! My dogs heard some extra colorful words coming out of my mouth on that run!

But, I have to remind myself of the words of my friend, Jim Warren.

Jim told me two things a few winters ago as I ran his dogs.

1. They're only dogs doing dog things. Be sure your expectations of them aren't too high because, after all, they're only dogs.

2. Mushing teaches the best of all skills: triumph in the face of adversity. No matter what life or nature throws at a musher, a good musher will pick up and carry on.

After a few brightly colored words and a brief pause, I lifted the brake on my little cart, hupped the dogs, and away we went following the setting sun.

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