Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Amazing heartwarming story...

Gabriel Azariah White

I just read this marvelous story about an 8-year-old Kentucky girl, Gabriel Azariah White who asked that for her birthday, she receive gifts for Siberian Huskies in need. The story is by writer Cameron Gillespie of the Phoenix Siberian Husky Examiner and I thought it was so touching that I wanted to share it with my readers. What a thoughtful little girl Gabriel is! What she requested for her birthday present is such a wonderful idea for us to share with our own children, grandchildren, family, and friends. May all good things come back her way!

Monday, August 30, 2010

When the Hu-Parents are Away, Who Watches the Sibes???

"Mom's Back!!!"
This past weekend we went to a music festival out of town. This was a special treat as my whole family went; something we don’t usually do as we have the FiveSibes to care for with one needing specifically timed medications, and quite frankly, we miss them when we are not home, so we elect not to go away. But this past weekend we enjoyed a nice ride, some awesome music, and had an overall great family day, all knowing our Sibe “kids” were home being well taken care of by a dear friend.

Lots of Husky kisses!
I am very fortunate that I have two friends who are pretty terrific and really enjoy spending time with my Sibes. They take turns for who gets to Sibe sit for our annual day jaunt, and my Huskies enjoy them both! I am quite lucky to call these two gals friends, as I would not board my Sibes out (they would not like it, plus, with being runners, I don’t want to chance it). These two friends actually come stay at my house for the entire day and play with the Sibes, whether it’s an energetic game of Fetch, being hugged, or getting photographed, the Sibes all have a great time! And a big bonus this weekend was they had my friend’s husband and daughter to play with too! Oh, how the Sibes loved that! And as for me and my daughter, the Hu-Moms, we had the great peace of mind to know that our Sibes were in good, caring hands in their own safe home environment.
Husky hugs!

Upon our return, it was obvious that although they looked quite content and tuckered out (a great thing for a Sibe!), we were obviously missed. Lots of kisses were dispensed and a few were quite vocal about our being gone. Just our alpha female, Harley, was a little miffed and gave us the cold shoulder, but at 3AM she decided she needed to forgive us for leaving her for a whole nine hours and she wanted to snuggle with my daughter, her Hu-Mom. They did so until about 4 AM when Harley was content and finally settled down to sleep, which meant we could finally go to sleep! The next day we all did a whole lot of bonding with the furbabies to make up for being away for the day! It was Huskies kisses galore as they laid on our laps, across our legs, and on our backs; life was back to normal.

Husky love!
This weekend led me to think about what folks do with their canine companions when they need to go away for any length of time.  Boarding? In-home pet sitters?  A neighbor?  A friend?  A relative? What type of arrangements for pet care do you do when you need to be away and still feel confident your dogs are being well-cared for? I’d love to hear from you!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's National Dog Day; What I've Learned From my Siberian Huskies...

August 26 is National Dog Day, and how well-deserving they are to have their own day! Thinking about National Dog Day (founded by pet lifestyle expert and animal behaviorist Colleen Paige, and sponsored by the Animal Miracle Network), I pondered about what it means to have a dog (or in my case, five)! That prompted me to think about what lessons I, as a Hu-Mom, have learned from my five Sibes. Here is a list (in no particular order) of the Top Ten things I have learned from my Husky "kids" that I feel has made me a better human:

  1.  I’ve learned how to enjoy the more simpler things in life: the touch of a breeze, a beam of sunlight stretching across the deck, a butterfly as it flutters by, the feel of raindrops tapping my face, the smell of blooming flowers, the coolness of grass, the sound of fresh snow crunching under foot, and the taste of quietly falling snowflakes.
  2. I appreciate food (even more so than before).
  3. I am reminded how wonderful snuggling together can be. 
  4. I’ve learned how to be a kid again and play. Topping my list are running in the yard, splashing in mud puddles, running through a sprinkler, playing Sibe football, engaging in an enthusiastic game of Slide the Sibe (between the Hu-parent’s legs), and Fetch. 
  5. I’ve learned how to naturally de-stress: hanging out and relaxing with my daughter with a Sibe under each hand, each leg, and one across my lap at the end of a long day (or anytime) is pure bliss and the best way to unwind. 
  6. I totally understand the meaning of trust and undying loyalty. 
  7. I’ve learned even more about the meaning of patience and unconditional love.
  8. I’ve learned a new language, Siberian Husky-ease, that I love to listen to, and occasionally speak.
  9. I appreciate all things music – including the various octaves of the Sibes howling their hauntingly beautiful wolfsongs.
  10. I totally appreciate Husky hugs and kisses for the priceless gems they are.
There are just so many things we can learn from our dogs. On National Dog Day, let's celebrate by spending some time with our furbabies in the style they love most--whether it’s taking them on a nice long walk, bringing them for a car ride (and stopping for some take-out vanilla ice cream from a drive-thru), playing an enthusiastic game of fetch, or dropping down to the floor for some good-time wrestling and doggie hugs! Whatever we do, let's remember how loyal our four-legged family members are and use this “holiday” to let them know even more how much we love and appreciate them.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Running free with the spirit of the wind...

With the temperatures finally dipping below the triple "H" category…Hot, Humid, and Horrible…I was able to let the Sibes run free and wild in the backyard this afternoon. As any Sibe owner can attest to, watching them is truly a glorious site to behold. Okay, well, at first it’s crazy, wild, and on the side of mayhem as they pile down off the deck almost riding each other piggy-back style to get to the "other side." First I need to explain the "normal side." The Sibes own not only our deck, which has had a roof constructed over it just for them, but they also have their own yard to chase yard trespassers (a/k/a squirrels, birds, possums, groundhogs, etc.),  dig, gather tree branches, and, well, do their personal business. That’s their typical run. Then there is the "other side."
Oh, yes, that is the fun play side of the yard where they can run like the wind, wrestle, fly, fetch, spin, and just be free-spirited Siberian Huskies. When it’s the cooler season, they get to play on that coveted side daily, but during the summer season, they run and play so hard over there, that I keep them out of there on the hot days so they don’t overheat. Today was a cooler day. After such a hot (and I imagine boring for a Sibe) streak, they were in Husky Heaven as they ran wild. It reminded me of a racetrack when the announcer calls out, "And they’rrrrrrre off!"
It was indeed a wonderful thing to watch. Although, they did skid out of control a few times right into me, their Hu-Mom! I have a few bruises, but it's all worth it! Watching them play and run free as they were bred to be certainly makes me very proud to be a Sibe Mom and moves me to wish for snow in the forecast...just for them!

Monday, August 16, 2010

National Homeless Pets Day

Today is National Homeless Pets Day. It's sad to think of how many pets are left homeless each day whether it is from losing their Hu-parent, having the Hu-family moving to where pets are not allowed, runaway pets, abandoned pets, etc. For whatever reason, too many animals wind up in shelters and rescues in numbers so large it can be mind-blowing. While many of us pet parents, Sibe owners and owners of other breeds, have obtained our "kids" from breeders, let us not forget the large number who go into homes as pups and then wind up later on at rescues and shelters, and are wonderful, loving dogs in need of an equally loving Hu-family. Case in point: last October my mother lost her 15-year furry companion "Joy," a toy black Poodle. Two weeks ago my Mom adopted an adorable senior white Poodle who had lived in South Carolina with her longtime Hu-mom. Sadly, the owner entered a nursing home and her furbaby, at age 8, was left homeless. The Poodle made the trek cross-country, where she resided and was cared for at a rescue. I spotted the little gal on PetFinder.com and the rescue owner brought her down and made an introduction to Mom. The two hit it off and now the little gal has a second chance at being in a loving home. She is a happy little girl and is adjusting wonderfully and my Mom has a darling companion once again. And there are so many other stories out there just waiting for happy endings.

Every day I come across ads looking for homes for beautiful animals. So many Siberian Huskies are in need of a good home. People fall in love with their beauty and their eyes and purchase one on that basis alone without being fully aware of their nature. As Sibe owners know, they are not a "coup up in an apartment or kennel all day" type of canine. If they are bored, they will destroy (furniture, woodwork, toys, shoes, etc.) They are howlers. They are chewers and they are diggers. They are Houdini dogs and are smart enough to open gates, doors, latches, etc. and escape. Once loose, they will run, run, run, run. And above all, they are high energy dogs. Unfortunately, many Sibes are turned into shelters when folks realize these qualities after they already purchased one. So, if you are thinking about a getting a Sibe or other furry companion, you don't need to wait until National Homeless Pets Day to find one. Go out or online today and give shelters and rescues a look-see. You may just see a future best friend in need waiting patiently for you to come find them!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday Night Wolfsong

The FiveSibes are very happy it's almost the weekend when they get to spend lots of time with the Hu-Family; so happy that they are singing about it. Note during this evening performance of "Wolfsong," some of the Sibes are all tuckered out from all the howling and singing rehearsals, with one boy in his favorite paws-to-heaven position! Such silly Sibes!

Monday, August 9, 2010

In Memory of Bear-Bear

The late Bear-Bear
Many have now heard the story of Bear-Bear, the three-year-old  Siberian Husky who was recently shot in a public dog park by a visitor who happened to be a federal police officer. Bear-Bear went into surgery, and as a result of the vast extent of the injuries inflicted by the bullet, the heart-wrenching decision was made to put Bear-Bear to sleep. It’s a sad and tragic tale that raises many, many questions even beyond the canine world. For an interview with Bear-Bear's owners, please check out the amazingly heartfelt blog story by Meeshka's World, and have the tissues handy.

My focus here, though, will remain on the canine aspect. First, I am not here to bash law enforcement. I have the utmost respect for them and the jobs they do on a daily basis. This is not about dog owners versus the police. This is, however, a story that has no happy ending. We have to ask ourselves how can we prevent this from ever happening again?

I do not personally use dog parks, my Sibes have their own fenced-in backyard to run free and play in. However, I know many folks who do use one and their pets enjoy it tremendously as it gives the dogs the freedom to run as well as a social outlet of playing with other dogs. In my own yard, I watch as my Sibes play in their carefree world, and they are a beautiful sight to behold. As any Sibe owner can attest to, they will run like the speed of light, growl with each other, and mouth each other sometimes so roughly that the sounds of teeth biting teeth can be heard. Siberian Huskies will “bite” each other’s necks and tails and pull each other around while doing so. And yes, they even will rear up, similar to wild horses fighting, and play fight. Anyone who knows the breed, knows these are the energetic roughhousing qualities of a Siberian Husky.

Possibly someone not knowing this about Huskies may become alarmed if they see this type of playing occur. Or, they may panic if they have one jump on their own dog and try to play in this manner. And maybe, just maybe it can escalate if one or both dogs are not happy about the type of play, but to have one shot for this is beyond my wildest nightmare. I cannot speak for the man who felt compelled to react in this manner with Bear-Bear. I was not present for the incident nor do I know why he felt so threatened that the only recourse was to shoot the Sibe. I can only speak as a Hu-mom and owner and trainer of five Siberian Huskies; viciously going on the attack is just not in their nature. While I suppose some owners could make a dog aggressive, it’s difficult for me to see it in a Sibe. It’s not in their genetic makeup. They have been for centuries, very social, hardworking, energetic dogs. Their energy, however, can get quite high, which can result in extremely rough play. One of ours, our alpha queen, will occasionally pull back her mouth and give a full wolf-like, teeth-baring snarl as a warning when she does not want to be bothered. She will also mount the other Sibes and growl and stand up and bat them “polar-bear style” with her paws all in the traditional high-energy style of Siberian Husky play.

In my humble opinion, there just has to be other methods of separating two dogs who are engaged in rough play. I have to believe that, otherwise, who will ever feel safe in a public dog park? My question is, if the man was unarmed, what method would he have used to separate the two dogs? Curious.

No matter what the outcome, Bear-Bear is gone, and that is truly a shame. May he now be at peace and happily playing in the wide open fields of the dog park beyond the Rainbow Bridge. We must all keep in mind that no matter the outcome of the investigation and all of the media attention this incident has brought, nothing will bring Bear-Bear back. That fateful day cannot get a do-over. I can only hope that something like this never occurs again. We all need to remember Bear-Bear’s story and that the true message here is as humans, we must all remain humane.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A snack by any other name is still a snack in the Sibe world!

"Stop eating what log, Hu-Mom?" Wolf, feigning his most innocent look, seems to be asking. "Oh, that log? That's not mine..."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Go, Go Power Yogurt!

As much as my Sibes love ice cream, they give equal love to yogurt. An occasional treat, they love it by spoon, right out of the carton, or yogurt chips melted as a bone dip, then set to dry for a nice safe "sweet" treat. On our vet's advice, Activia brand yogurt is also good for them as it helps to maintain healthy digestion and keep our furry "kids" regular. But mostly, it is a yummy treat for both the Sibes and their Hu-Mom.

Our alpha queen takes the first taste while her pack minions await her OK to join in.
Eagerly, all FiveSibes enjoy some tongue licking, snout-smacking yumminess!
And then they ask for seconds...
...and thirds...
...and, uh-oh...the queen looks up as if to say, "Whaaat?" What do you mean there's no more???!"

Mmmmm....this Hu-Mom is heading to the fridge to get a container for herself. But, shhhhh, don't tell the Sibes!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

National Dog House Repair Month Comes to a Close. Is Your Dog House in Order?

Happy National Dog House Repair Month! Seriously. It was for the month of July. Now, I know we are all asking, "Who makes up these holidays and are they real?" And there really is an answer – well, two actually. One is non-canine related. It was established by a female florist who was promoting her business and has to do with repairing relationships and trying to "stay out of the dog house." Very clever. Okay, enough about humans. The canine version of the holiday is a time to check out your pet’s dog house and see if it…yes, you guess it…needs any repairs. 

To left is our boy Gibson doing his best Snoopy imitation in what used to be his favorite perch up on the dog house. Here, little sis Chloe, a mere pup at the time, stretches up to see if she can join big brother atop the dog house. Note the chewed trim for later. (There will be a test - just kidding).
First, let me back track a little. Here is a photo of the cool, log cabin-style dog house my daughter and I  put together ourselves. It’s almost glowing, it’s so beautiful! Little did we know one of our proudest accomplishments was going to be very short-lived. Before I move on, note the clean, new edges. Nice, right?
The left photograph is of the sweethearts, Gibson and Harley, sharing the lovely new canine log home (which really sits under our kitchen window on our deck). Of course Harley is actually “in” the dog house, where she should be. Note the lovely wood trim. See those grooves? They are very rare. No two alike anywhere. Very unique…chew marks. For some reason, this log cabin dog house ranked high on the Sibes’ taste bud list. And this starter damage was done within hours…hours…of our putting it together.

Once the pups came along, the former beautiful log cabin once again became a giant chew toy until there was no dog house left. Oh, seriously. They chewed it faster than a swarm of termites. The roof wobbled (so it was too dangerous for Gib at 113 furry pounds of Sibe to sit on), the doorway was gone, and the sides all splintered by all the hungry, hungry Huskies. I’m not quite sure what the manufacturer put in the wood, maybe salmon or chicken or peanut butter, but it sure became a favorite appetizer for the five growing Sibes. A broken structure (along with our temporarily broken spirit), it could not possibly provide proper and safe shelter. Needless to say, as with all dilapidated buildings, this, too, had to be torn down, what little was left of it. Good thing the deck has a roof over it.