The problem child - Bolo in the New House

We moved house recently. One of the issues about moving house with dogs, especially Siberian Houdinis, is making sure the new yard is secure. And that can take some time, especially when you have builders working on the property. But this week, we finally felt like everything was secure enough to leave the dogs home alone and both go to work. I mean, what can go wrong right? Ha!

FullSizeRender.jpg

Firstly, we had the old fences taken down and put back up. And then J found Bolo wandering up the street. He'd dug under an old gate, slipped around the garage and through the shubbery between the garage and the side fence. Fortunately J drove home just in time to find Bolo on the footpath just a couple of houses up the hill.  Phew!

So J spent a couple of days putting up the Hotwire and putting down the biggest concrete pavers available. Meanwhile it's been raining and we've been trying to get the dogs to adjust to having an undercover deck to relax on and stay dry.

IMG_9195.JPG

Yesterday I came home from work to two dry dogs and one dog with wet and muddy feet. I'll let you guess which one was wet. It turned out Bolo had tried to dig under the house. J tried to block the access.

Today I came home to two dry dogs and one wet and ridiculously muddy dog. Unbelievable! Fortunately the Hotwire and fence have held. 

IMG_9197.JPG

Clean! 

IMG_9200.JPG

Clean! 

IMG_9201.JPG

Not so clean! 

J is currently down at the hardware shop, getting supplies to reinforce the wooden skirt around the base of the house.

Meanwhile, J has also been busy updating the dog's microchip information with our new address. Frankie and Czar both came up on the central database easily, but there has always been something hinky about Bolo's microchip - his number has a different number of digits and the central database tells us it's unlisted. This time J was able to do a universal search, and he found Bolo's record, in a different database. People who work with rescue dogs will understand how exciting this is - it was his ORIGINAL record! We now know his real birthdate, rather than his estimated age when J got him out of the Lost Dog's Home about ten years ago. When J first saw him, he was filthy and emaciated and refused to make eye contact with anyone. In four years of running the Siberian Husky Club of Victoria's rescue group, Bolo was J's worst case. They estimated his age at around 18 months old and gave him the default birthdate of 1/1/2006. His real birthdate is actually March 2005. Now, the difference between a one and a two year old dog is a bit hard to pick, it's more about muscle and condition than simple height or weight, but J and all the vets and rescue folks all agreed that Bolo, in his malnourished, skeletal state, was around 18 months. Realising now that he was closer to 2 1/2, puts a whole different perspective on his physical and psychological condition. J has often said he thought Bolo was very close to death by starvation when J collected him from Lost Dogs. Maybe he was closer than we thought.

So, while we are currently living on tenterhooks, waiting for his next escape attempt, worrying that he'll be successful, we are very glad to have our problem child. He's given J and then me and now our Wee Monster so much love. We've very lucky to have him.

IMG_9203.JPG

PeeWee Racing - Living with dogs and kids

Recently a musher with teenagers described to J&I how spending winters camping out at races had contributed to some of the things he really appreciated and admired about his kids. It's certainly noticeable that the kids we meet racing are universally nice kids; accustomed to speaking to adults, they are polite, quiet and friendly. They develop a great sense of sportsmanship and empathy through their work with the dogs. They're millennials who are happy to spend time away from their screens, who have great resilience and stress management techniques, because they have precious "down time" outside running dogs.

(I know one parent is going to call me after reading this and protest, but I'm talking about the common traits in a group of about ten teenagers - none of them are saints, but they all have at least some of these characteristics, and I'm impressed by all of them.)

Another musher family whose children are only a few years older than mine regularly have kids in the rig as they approach the start chute - and sometimes people frown at them for it, but their little kids are growing up with a wonderful connection to their dogs and a great understanding of the sport's etiquette.

J & I want that for our Wee Monster (and future children) too. And this year, it's hard. Our time is very limited this year, and our dogs are even more limited. Wee Monster is a very independent toddler who wants to roam and doesn't yet understand the dangers of disappearing into the bush or walking up to a strange dog's face. But we pushed ourselves to attend an SHCV race three weeks ago at the You Yangs, only a short distance from Melbourne. Last weekend was the NVSDC Classic, and with J&I both on committee, it was a busy weekend. We recruited one of my wonderful brothers to come along as a spare pair of hands for child and dog wrangling and made sure we made time for the PeeWee races on Sunday.  

IMG_8781.JPG
thank you Najodia Photography for this one! 

thank you Najodia Photography for this one! 

Saying thankyou to Frankie after a race is an important part of the routine. 

Saying thankyou to Frankie after a race is an important part of the routine. 

Bike riding with Unky M. 

Bike riding with Unky M. 

Ready to race with daddy

Ready to race with daddy

Frankie loves going out for these 500m runs, even at age 12. 

Frankie loves going out for these 500m runs, even at age 12. 

Congratulations to all our PeeWee mushers, with our Race Marshall. 

Congratulations to all our PeeWee mushers, with our Race Marshall. 

Feeding dogs - living with dogs and toddlers

Tonight, the Wee Monster (2 years old) came up to me and said "he ate it, number 3, he ate it"

I giggled. Wee Monster hasn't got the grasp of "I" yet, so it's a lot like talking to Elmo from Sesame Street. "Huh?" I said.

The small blonde person in front of me didn't giggle. He looked very serious as he repeated "he ate it"

We had spent the early evening attempting to make fudge and Wee Monster had had a spoon to lick. I'd seen him offer it to Frankie through the bars of the crate. Recently he's also offered the dogs his own water bottle through the crate. I try and explain that dogs can't suck on straws (while ignoring the dog germs he's coming in contact with, and reciting "it's good for his immune system" over and over) but it's hard to get that idea across. 

Standing in front of the dog crates last weekend. Frankie to the left of picture, Czar to the right.

Standing in front of the dog crates last weekend. Frankie to the left of picture, Czar to the right.

But now he was still looking very serious. "Czar Czar."

I thought for a moment and realized that he hadn't been carrying his spoon around for a while; he'd been playing with the magnetic letters and numbers off our fridge. Uh oh.

I looked over at the dog crates and realized that Czar *was* chewing on something. I shrieked at him to drop it and threw myself across the room.

Sure enough, there were three brightly coloured and very very chewed fridge magnets in his crate. I snatched them up and quickly took stock.

An "o", a "h" and an "i". Fortunately, all three magnets were in my hand. One had popped off the twisted plastic, but hadn't been swallowed. No pieces of plastic seemed to be missing. Thank heavens.

I looked up at the small blonde person watching me from the doorway, still looking really worried. I held my arms out and he ran over for a cuddle.

"Mustn't feed Czar Czar plastic!" I tried to explain. "Not food! It would make him very very sick." I put the two year old down and headed into the kitchen to bin the fragments.

As the lid clanged shut, I looked back at Wee Monster, still standing in front of Czar's crate. "Berry berry sick" he said to the husky inside.

Oh dear, I have a feeling we're going to have an interesting phase for a while! #alwayssupervisedogsandchildren #toddlersputthingsinweirdplaces #luckyhecantellmewhatswrongnow