Friday, November 29, 2013

Bye-Bye Sun

Today the sun said it's good-bye at 12:14pm, it will not rise again until January 12, 2014.  It showed it's face through the clouds at 11:23am so it was only up for 51 minutes.  I had to rush at lunch to get home, grab the Nikon and put Hannah's coat on as she was coming with me to take pictures.  Some of you might remember that Miss Molly heads out with us for the first day of 24 hour sun, so now it's Hannah's turn. 
Large ice crack on the bay - watch where you walk

It doesn't get completely dark until mid-December so from now until then we have beautiful skies to enjoy.  Many of the grasses had hoar frost on them.

Skies were on fire at sunset today even through the clouds
Here's a closer view of the large ice crack.
This is the eastern skies and as you can see the horizon is just as pretty as the sunset.  Underneath that snow is Freshwater Creek and the first grave yard is on your right.
Many people ask us how we cope without the sun and cold temperatures, well we dress in many layers, take our vitamin D and I think it's all about your attitude.  I think without a good outlook on life it would be hard to live up here.  Oh and a nice hot vacation in the middle of winter is always a welcome as it helps to rejuvenate your soul and warm your bones.
As for the dogs, I always believed that they live for the moment and as long as you are happy I think they are too.  A nice warm bed in front of the fireplace, coats & boots when we go out with them and Miss Molly grows her fur on her feet longer.  Yes, her fur grows longer in the winter and then she looses it in the summer.  It's amazing how their body and yours adapt to your environment.
Nothing like a warm fireplace for your old bones

Blitz and his cat

Here's Miss Molly's fur starting to grow.
Talk soon!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Not Much New on the Homefront

November is a slow time of year for me at work and at home.  Days are getting shorter and temperatures are getting colder but what would you expect, we live in the High Arctic. Our temperatures have been sitting in the mid -20'c and then you add the wind chill to it and it brings it into the -40'c.  Our final day of sun will be this Saturday November 30th.
First Air flight leaving with the setting sun

During the short days we have, the skies have beautiful colours

These next series were taken today at high noon
As you can see the sun is not high in the sky

Some Komatiks (sleds) on the ice

The Martin Bergmann iced in for the winter
A couple of weeks ago I went into the Christmas Bazaar with my pictures and I am happy to report that the canvas prints were a huge success.  I have always wanted to do some canvas and thanks to my brother in law Ken he suggested a company that he uses.  I am heading to another show on the 7th of December and then we will be heading out to spend Christmas with family and friends.
My table at the Christmas Bazaar

Kim our friend and neighbour helped me out
A family friend has one of these and I loved it so much I ordered three 'beta fish wall mount tanks' from EBay. Finally found them Sandy!  I had brought up three air plants from our last trip south and the seashells are from our travels to warmer places.

I teach dog obedience up here every Saturday and this Saturday I took Miss Molly with me.  I used to attend classes with her every week down south and she really enjoys it so off we went.  She was extremely tired that night and for some reason so was Blitz.
'My brain is so tired'

 Blitz sleeps in these crazy positions and here is one of them.  I have no idea how he balances himself so that he doesn't slip off the couch.  I was told by his breeder that his grandfather would slip right off the couch and keep on least he comes by it honestly.
We don't get too much of an opportunity to take the dogs out for a good run because by the time we get home from work it's too dark to take them out on the tundra. Sunday we had a couple hours of daylight so we all bundled up and headed out with them. Here's some pics of our day out.
Tundra Wrestling at it's best

Run Blitzy Boy run

All three decked out in their Chilly Coats and Muttluks booties
They are not bred for this type of weather and I am sure the huskies and malamutes laugh at them with their winter gear on.

This is how we dress when the temperatures go into the -40's (Celsius)

Labrador Photo Bomb!
I really appreciate our water & sewer guys and the guys who deliver our fuel.  For my newer blog readers/followers we get out water delivered and sewer pumped out every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and they work every day but Christmas.  We found another message on our garage wall this past week and I'm not sure who left it, either the water guys or the fuel guy as we had both delivered that same day.  It really doesn't matter it was just nice to come home with a message left in the snow on our garage...Thank you!
The water hose is hooked up to the top pipe and when the water flows out the bottom
our tank is full inside the house. Simple and genius!

This is our mechanical room with a view of our water tank

Here's the message left in the snow on our garage
Talk soon! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Tiny Pup Named Chill

Living in the far Arctic sometimes comes down to survival for both human and animal.  Our temperatures have been sitting in the minus -40'c range.  Last weekend our Search and Rescue team and the military were hard at work looking for stranded hunters.  Luckily they were all found alive and I take my hats off to our local SAR team and the military.
When I first moved up here I found it very hard to accept some of the conditions that the dogs were living in, some with no shelter, but then I noticed that some of the northern dogs that had shelter most of the time they were sleeping on top of their dog house. I do my part with Diamonds in the Ruff when they need help with a sick dog or puppy and this past Friday morning Al called me to see if I can have a look at a small pup. 
This little guy was given away from it's original owner at about 3 weeks old as a Halloween Trick or Treat.  Way too early to be without his mom.  Thursday the new owner called our by-law officer and asked if he could take it and with all of his wisdom forgot that this tiny puppy was in the back of his truck. (don't even get me started!)  The pup finally ended up in the caring, loving hands of Al and Bernie, the couple who run Diamonds in the Ruff and then into a foster home. 
I made a date with Al to meet up at 10am on Friday morning for me to give this little guy some much needed fluids. After leaving the foster home I couldn't get this pup off my mind so I called Al and asked if he wouldn't mind bringing the puppy back to me to foster.  As I waited for Al to bring him to me I put in a call to my old boss from the animal clinic to get some more advise of what else I could be doing for this little guy, whom I called Chill. 
After a couple of days of giving him sub-q fluids when needed, feeding him by syringe and keeping him warm, I am very sad to say that this little guy lost his fight early this morning.  I was up with him at about 3am and when I woke up again around 5:30am he was gone.  It absolutely breaks my heart that he didn't make it and of course it angers me that the owner gave him away at 3 weeks old and the by-law officer forgot about him in these temperatures. 
It's hard to look at the good in all of this but Diamonds are scheduled to send Chill's mom and another dog out as soon as the Yellowknife SPCA has room.  I am glad that Chill ended up in the hands of Diamonds and that he passed away knowing that someone loved and cared for him and that he died laying on a warm heating pad instead of outside.
I would like to personally thank Diamonds in the Ruff for allowing me to look after Chill,  Philipp for the advise you gave me and to the wonderful, caring and supportive GSP group members who were all pulling for little Chill. 
I leave you with a couple of pictures that I took of Chill.
Trying to warm his body up as his temperature was 32.1' when he first arrived
(should be 38 - 39'c)

Chill laying on the heating pad and a space heater in front of him.
In his true Husky style he hated to be covered up
Talk soon!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dogs, Dogs and More Dogs

As many of you know my life has been surrounded by dogs, either working at a shelter, clinic, helping as much as I can with sick dogs up here, my own dogs and now for the first time training other people's dogs.  Growing up our family always had a dog or two or three so I come by it honestly and I guess you can say that my love for dogs and all animals came from my dad. 
I try to help as much as I can with injured or ill dogs up here as our closest vet is a 2 hour flight away and people can only do so much on their own.  I will vaccinate when needed and give my opinion when I think that the dog should get out to on the next flight to Yellowknife to see a vet.  Our neighbour has a ill, 16 week old puppy and she asked me to come over on Friday to have a look at him.  She talked to the vet in Yellowknife and they suggested that sub-q fluids may help as this dog has not eaten or drank for 3 days.  Craig and I entered the front porch where the little guy was and I stepped towards him and stood there for him to smell me and that's when it happened...I was bit.  It was so fast I had no time to react.  I had dogs lunge at me before but I was pretty quick to get out the way of their teeth. After I did some reflecting why I was bit I have come up with this:  I was talking to the owner and most likely took by eyes off the pup and that's when it happened.  I consider myself lucky for a couple of reasons, one he was only 16 weeks old and the other is that after working closely with dogs for about half of my life this was my first bite.
Thankfully Craig was there with me and he helped me wrap my finger with vet wrap as I knew this little pup still needed some fluids.  He was perfectly fine with me giving him fluids and checking him out after. Because he bit and has not had his rabies vaccine he is now quarantined for required 10 days. 
When we arrived home the wounds were still bleeding so I knew then that a trip to the Health Centre was in order.  There was one nurse flushing the wounds as the other one wrote down the report.  They were very happy to learn that in May I received my rabies vaccine but I couldn't prove to them when I had my last tetanus shot so I received that yesterday afternoon.  No stitches as they didn't want to seal up the wounds in case of infection. In the world of infection caused by bites, humans have the worse bite, then it's cats and then dogs come in third. I'm on some antibiotics that require a hot dog bun, as they are so large, for the next 7 days and I am to watch for infection. The finger and hand is still sore today and it's taking me forever to do this blog entry as I am only using my left hand for typing.
The before

The after - hand is still very swollen 
I have always trained by own dogs but now I am on the other side of the fence teaching people how to interact and teach their dogs some basic commands.  It is likely the first of it's kind in Nunavut and Nunatsaiq News wants to do a story on it.  I am happy to report that 12 dogs and their guardians had signed up for class and we just finished week 2.  I have an array of dogs from the tiny Maltese to the big ole Husky or Labradors and of all ages. Avery is the youngest student with her pup Junior and with the help from her mom he is learning fast.  I hope that we continue with classes after this session as in the end it's a win-win situation for the dogs and they become better canines citizens.  Below is a picture of my students and their dogs.
So proud of my students, both 2 legged and 4 legged!
Since the dog bit incident put a little damper on my picture taking as it's my trigger finger that got injured I am off the camera for about a week, I am hoping for sooner.  This week I will be busy doing last minute preparations for the Christmas Bazaar next Saturday.  I feel it's a bit early this year and I was hoping it would of been after Remembrance Day. 
With the time change early this morning we will sure notice a difference in the amount of daylight hours as the sun will rise at 8:30am today and will set about 3pm.  The amount is decreasing fast and at the end of the month it will be the end of the sun for about 6 weeks.  The temperatures are staying in the minus double digits both during the day and at night.  It must be getting cold as I caught Molly snuggled up to Blitz on the couch this past week and had to take a picture of them.
Molly keeping warm from the Blitz's body heat
Talk soon!