Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Goodbye Barney

About twelve years ago, got a call from Lynn who had a sled dog rescue kennel out in Two Rivers. She asked if I was interested in a young dog. Well a big male, sure, I remember saying. So I went out there and there was this small, scruffy dog, maybe forty pounds, and so wild she could barely catch him. But I figured I could always bring him back, she was good that way, and besides, maybe he'll grow. So I brought him home. Kind of crazy on his chain, always running around and did he bark, if he wasn't barking, he was either eating or asleep. When Andy got back from her field trip, it was kind of clever of me to get a dog when she was gone, she couldn't believe it, "This is the most worthless dog ever!" And when he got loose and nearly killed the cat, well he was almost "unrescued" as she put it.
But as time moved on, Barney grew into a strong, sixty pound sled dog. And because he was so crazy to hook up and run, I started running him up front, since that often quiets a rowdy dog down. And darned if he didn't turn into a lead dog. When it was time to retire Springer, my old leader, Barney stepped up and became the main leader. No matter how bad the trail or steep the hill, Barney was up for it. He didn't like to stop for breaks, after a few minutes he was whining, ready to go again.
Barney (Rt) and Spuds (Lt) in better times. They ran together so often, I called them Barneyspuds.

But like all good things, they come to an end. First I noticed he had trouble with the speed on the downhills, so tried to keep it slow. Then he started limping occasionally, but always wanted to go again. Last fall he did fine on the early training near the highway but when we switched over to the more remote trails that were soft and punchy, he struggled to keep up. Finally decided to leave him home and he was fine with that, happy to just run around the yard and bark a lot. He started having trouble jumping up on his house, then quit eating all of his food. When he didn't eat at all this weekend, well it was time. Took him into the animal shelter where he was euthanized. I know it was for the best, but it's like losing a good friend. Well if there's a dog heaven, he'll be up there, barking and running around like when he was a pup. Good times again.

Leading the team home. While Spuds was a little better on commands, Barney likely was the hardest working dog we've ever had. He was an animal!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

More dog daze...

Not weather wise, it's rained every day this past week and barely hits 60° in the afternoon. You'd think summer would last a little longer, but up here, fall usually begins in mid-August and this year is no exception. No, the dog daze now is the new dog in the yard. We had gotten a sled dog last winter from the Sled Dog Sanctuary (http://www.sleddogsanctuary.com/index.html). Mia was seriously shy and while she was a good working sled dog, she wanted nothing to do with my wife and I. So after several fruitless months of trying to get her to warm up to us, we decided to send her back. So in exchange we got Rig.

A little shy at first, Rig (the all black dog) soon warmed up to us and now gets plenty of exercise. He's already dug a hole about three ft deep. So he's now known as Rigger the digger.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

July Weather, the dog days...

Here's the ever popular National Weather Service summary for July, the dog days of summer up here...


July 2017 was a warm and slightly dryer than normal month. While no daily temperature or precipitation records were set, wind from a strong weather front on the 23rd knocked down trees and caused power outages in the local area.

The average mean temperature for the month was 65.7 degrees which was 3.2 degrees above the normal and ranked as the 5th warmest of 111 years of record. The warmest temperature for the month was 86 degrees on the the 6th. There have been eleven 80 degrees or warmer days in Fairbanks this summer. Normally there will be around 12 days per summer where the temperature reaches 80 degrees or warmer. The lowest temperature in the month of July was 49 degrees on the 22nd.

1.94 inches of rain fell at the Fairbanks airport in the month of July which was 0.22 inches below the normal rainfall of 2.16 inches and ranked as the 47th wettest of 105 years.

Looking forward to the month of August possible sunshine continues to decrease at nearly 7 minutes per day with daylight hours decreasing from 18 hours and 7 minutes on the 1st to 14 hours and 41 minutes on the 31st. The average daily high temperature decreases from 70 degrees on the 1st to 62 degrees on the 31st. The average low temperature decreases from 50 degrees on the 1st to 41 degrees on the 31st. On average 1.88 inches of rain falls at the Fairbanks Airport during the month of August.

The forecast from the climate prediction center calls for increased chances for above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation.

In other news, we picked up a dog from the local animal shelter a little while back. Pretty shy when we got him, but several boxes of dog biscuits later, he's started to come around. Surprisingly, he didn't seem to know how to jump on his dog house. Most of our dogs spend a good part of the day sitting or sleeping up there. But with some encouragement, he's slowly figuring it out.

The black dog, Tamarack or Tambo-Rambo as he's now known,  is a house dog now. Well at least when he get's excited enough, he'll jump up there. The goal is to teach him to jump up and then sit on the dog house so I can put the dog harness on him. That's how I train when harnessing them up for a dog run. Makes it a lot easier to get the harness on and gives my back a break, not having to bend over so much.