Thursday, May 29, 2014

Trying To Get Back to Normal

Life has changed in the LeBleu Pack since we said good-bye to Hannah, we have tried to do things for the shorthairs to help them get through this also.  I think it not only helps them but us also.  I was worried about Blitz as he was so attached to Hannah but Miss Molly is also feeling the loss.  They both have been quiet and more of a Velcro dog than normal. 
When we arrived in Winnipeg we picked up the rental vehicle and headed to Carman to spend the days there.  Every day was beautiful and we spent them walking the Carman Diversion and on her final evening we headed out to take pictures of her and the sunset. 
A water dog will find any water - whether it be a lake or a puddle

I wanted a serious picture of Blitz and this is what I got

Watching the barn swallows

The girl loves her water

Finally got her out for a quick picture
Hannah had no desire to enter the water which is so unlike her
Instead she walked and rested

This is what Blitz looked like after spending the afternoon
at the Carman Diversion.
Needless to say he and Molly received a bath at Granny's

Some blossoms emerging

Mom's bleeding hearts were blooming also

My love for trees drew me to this one in a field
Her final evening with us
The sunset the night before Hannah left us
Thank you to our friends Sandy and Keith for looking after the shorthairs so Craig and I could spend our final hours with Hannah.  We spent the couple of hours sharing our lunch with her while walking through the gardens at Assiniboine Park.
We headed to Craig's parents in Lac du Bonnet for the next few days after Hannah's appointment where it was peaceful and quiet just what we all needed.  Every day was warm and the shorthairs enjoyed their time playing in the lake or running in the field.  We tried to keep them busy and when things were quiet so were they. 
Miss Molly


Checking out the tweety birds in the field

Miss Molly and Blitz
There are some beautiful scenery in Manitoba and areas of Lac du Bonnet are no exception.  I enjoyed the quiet times taking pictures in an area of Manitoba that I love.  One place I wanted to go and take pictures is a well known place called Coca-Cola Falls.  Anyone who has ever been to the area knows of the falls and this year they are flowing fast and loud and you can see why they are called Coco-Cola Falls.

Plants and trees are blooming around the area and the skies and water were like a mirror.  A great opportunity to capture in pictures.

The skies were on fire this evening


Final evening in Lac du Bonnet
We came back to Winnipeg yesterday to pick up Hannah's remains and today Craig is preparing to head back to Nunavut with Molly.  He is leaving early as his boss from North Carolina is there and wanted Craig to be there also.  Blitz and I will hang out until Monday and after we bring Craig to the airport we will head over to the Canadian Animal Blood Bank where Blitz will donate blood.  We don't have much on the agenda for the rest of our time here in Manitoba, the only thing that I have is I am getting another tattoo tomorrow.  This time it is of my first dog, Akai a Doberman.  You see all of my other dogs have their paw print on me but since Akai was my first dog she deserves a portrait.
Talk soon!

Hannah - The Best Yellow Dog Anyone Could Ask For

What can I say about a dog who entered my life 13 years ago, a dog who was beaten, underweight and afraid of normal surroundings but when I looked into her eyes I knew this 8 month old pup was coming home with me.  You see, she was the first dog that the newly formed shelter that I was involved with rescued and there was something special about this dog.  So I called Craig and thanked him for my new dog and told him that Calla, our chocolate Labrador needed a friend.  Well friends they became, they were inseparable and it was one of the best decisions I had made in my life. 
Hannah was a lot of work in the beginning of her new life with us as she was so scared of everything.  She was terrified of her food dish, I truly believed that her previous owner hit her with a dish.  It took weeks for her to trust me and to finally eat out of her dish.  After a couple of weeks of having her I enrolled her in obedience classes and from there she gained her confidence and her true personality come out.  In my eyes she was the ideal 'student', she was eager to learn and in the true personality of a Labrador she lived to please.  She was in obedience classes most of her life, until we moved to Nunavut.  She enjoyed it as much as I did and it was our time together without any of our other dogs.
She had some major surgeries in her life, two spine surgeries as she had lumbosacral stenosis,  a painful condition caused by a narrowing of the spinal column.  We made many road trips together from Winnipeg to the University of Saskatoon for vet appointments and surgeries as there was no vet in Manitoba at that time that could do the surgery.  Lucky for us Hannah was a candidate for the research and the university paid for the majority of the surgeries needed to get her back on her feet.  By the age of 6 years she was good as new.
Hannah had this personality that drew people in and whoever met her...loved her.  I always called her my Flower Child because of her loving demeanour.  She got along well with other dogs and anyone she met.  She didn't have a mean bone in her body - well unless you tried to take her temperature rectally.  Because of this personality I knew she would excel as a St. John's Ambulance Therapy Dog and she passed the test with flying colours.  We enjoyed our visits with seniors and kids at school where we taught them about basic animal care, bite prevention and just how to have some fun with you canine friend. She was also a canine blood donor through the Canadian Animal Blood Bank and at the age of 10 she retired after giving 25 donations.  All in all Hannah was the perfect canine citizen.
I will miss those milk chocolate dipped ears of hers and the way that she would push away from you when you tried to give her a big hug, her soft eyes when she looked at you and will miss seeing her laying at the opened bathroom door when I come out of the shower.  I will miss her ball-in-the-mouth greetings and the excitement when we arrive home from work.  Blitz and Molly are also feeling the loss, they are both quiet which is not like the shorthairs.  We are trying to keep them busy to take their mind off of that feeling that something is missing, it helps us and them.
We spent her last few hours of her life enjoying some of her favorite things to eat, like peanut butter sandwiches, bananas, ice cream and grapefruit.  Yes she loved sharing a grapefruit with us and that was that last thing she ate while laying the warm Manitoba sun at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg.  I couldn't of asked for a better day for her, for that matter we all enjoyed the days in Manitoba as we went for walks along the Carman Diversion, one of her favorite places to go and just spent some quiet time with her.  We were a bit worried that she would have a major seizure after her vet sedated her and all of us were so gratefully that she didn't.  I wanted to let her go with some dignity and most of all peaceful and that was exactly what she did, in our arms and surrounded by people that loved her. 
I would like to thank all of our family and friends for your love and support, to her vet Dr. Jillian Preston and Mela who followed us to the end of Hannah's journey.  To Drs. Andrea Robertson and Phillip Schott for always being there when we needed them and to everyone at Birchwood Animal Hospital for all of your love towards Hannah. I would also like to say thank you to my GSP family who never met her but took her under their wings, gave her the title of Honorary GSP and loved her as their own. 
Some of you have been asking if there was a charity where you can donate in the memory of Hannah and there are two, these organization do good work to better the lives of animals.  One is the Companion Animal Health Fund, this is the organization who helped Hannah with her spine surgeries.  The link is  Another organization that is dear to our hearts is the Canadian Animal Blood Bank where Hannah donated blood on a regular basis until she retired and their link is  There are a couple of emails on this link that you can email to receive more information.
Part of my healing from the loss of Hannah started about a month ago when we decided to let her go.  I had been going through 13 years of pictures of her as I wanted to do a slide show as a tribute to her life.  Here is the link on YouTube of the video.
Talk soon

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Frolics 2014

Every May Cambridge Bay celebrates the arrival of spring in a week long festival called The Omingmak Frolics.  Omingmak means musk ox and their mascot is Ollie the Omingmak.  Every year there is theme and this year was 'Itqaumaliurahuarniq: Memories in the Making."  The festival starts off with a $10,000.00 bingo and then the fun begins with corporate challenges, circus camps for the kids, snow machine races, fashion shows, traditional games and the list goes on and on.  I didn't attend many events this year but I will share some pictures with you of the ones that I did attend.
The kids were involved in a circus camp all week with Flyin' Bob who comes to Cambridge Bay every year since I have been here.  I was impressed with the kids after the first lesson, I'm thinking that they return every year. 
Tight rope walking

Learning how to master the unicycle

Wow!  Look at him go
I enjoy attending the fashion show every year as there is always new clothing that they model.  I am so impressed with the craftsmanship of the people of the Arctic and how they use different furs.  Each region of the Arctic has their own style of clothes.

Typical clothing that they would wear when out on the land in the winter

Seal and beaded coat

Cambridge Bay is well known for their Mother Hubbard parkas

Love her kamiks (boots)

Another Mother Hubbard parka

Sunburst hood

They needed a male model so they pulled Derrick out of the audience
Even though there are events going on all week long the festival kick off to me is when the parade begins.  The town shuts down on Friday afternoon while many people do the last minute prep work on their floats.  You will see anything from kids bikes decorated, 4 wheelers, trucks and of course floats that businesses have entered.  Our work did not enter this year but we were there in full force handing out our peppered char candy and toques. 
Annie, myself, Alice & Donna handing out some goodies at the parade

One of the 'floats' from the parade

Ollie the Omingmak (musk ox) the mascot for the festival

Some of the cutest spectators

My beautiful friend Eva preparing herself to say the opening prayer

Our local Cadets always lead the way

Ollie is everywhere!

One of the circus students

Karen wearing her beautiful coat

Our Royal Family for the next year
On  Saturday I took a break from editing pictures to spend the afternoon on the ice watching and taking pictures of the snow machine races and the street hockey games.

My little buddy - Elaine

Setting up for the races

The kids 120 races


Bessie came in second - love that she is wearing her traditional parka while racing

This is Gwen the winner of the Elder's 120 race.
They take over the mean machines after the kids race
The remaining are some highlights of the snow machine races.

I am writing this as I sit in our hotel room in Edmonton.  We arrived this evening as we started our journey with Hannah.  She is usually a really good traveller but when we arrived at the hotel she was pretty stressed and having seizures.  She has settled nicely now and hopefully she will rest for the remaining of the night.  Everyone is zonked out on the bed, including Craig, it's been a stressful day for us and I admit I had a bit of a breakdown while entering the plane in Cambridge Bay.  We do not have an early flight tomorrow to Winnipeg, we will be able to sleep in a bit as long as the dogs let us.
Temperatures are supposed to be in the upper 20'c mark which is the perfect weather to spend outside with Hannah.  She deserves to lay and walk in the green grass and just hang out with Granny (my mom).  We will enjoy our next few days with her and make the best of the time we have together.
Talk soon