Rob's Blog Archive

November 13, 2011

Doin' Da Kennel










Most mushers do their own vaccinations.  It’s a lot cheaper than having a vet do them.  On the other hand, with only twenty-one dogs, the cost is noticeable, but it’s not the end of the world.  And for that, I get the vet’s ear.  Doing a kennel with twenty-one dogs one right after the other pays well for the time involved, so part of the deal is that as long as I don’t abuse it, I get guilt free advice.  I think both my vet and I have a pretty good deal going. 

Dr. Cross arrived at about 2:30, just like he said.   We both commented on my driveway, specifically the steep part that now had a bit of snow on it.  We then recounted our experiences with 4-wheel drive and learning that they don’t actually get you everywhere, even if commercials indicate that they do.  All this time, Dr. Cross was mixing the DHPPC  vaccinations.  The perquisite male bonding and vaccine mixing finished, we were ready to go.

First dog up was Shoshone.  As usual, a stranger enters the yard and Shoshone is under his platform.  I’ve tried to accustom him to new people, “Dad, I hate desempitization!” “Shone, that’s desensitization, and it’s for your own good.” It’s helped a little, but not much.  I didn’t really have to pull on his line to get him in the open.  That is the biggest benefit of my training efforts, that he doesn’t struggle but realizes that if I call him and start pulling his line, he’s coming out whether or not he wants to.  The exam and the shot went well, as they normally do.  I let go of Shone and he was safely under his platform before his next heartbeat.

Next up was Tempest.  Temp is friendly and has an easy time with strangers, but isn’t keen on being manhandled.  Giving her the required wormer prior to Iditarod resulted in an epic wrestling match----latent skills from my competitive career as a college varsity wrestler helped me win out the day, but it was close. 

Vets who have been around typically have an easy time with non-aggressive dogs who are simply wrestling to keep from the horrors and abuses an exam might bring on, like Tempest.  I warned Dr. Cross that nobody else would be shy like Shone was, but there would be a couple more who didn’t like being manhandled.  And I was happy we were only dealing with shots.  In previous years, the kennel got nasal bordetella vaccines too, and dogs definitely don’t like fluid being sprayed down their noses.  By comparison, shots are fast and easy. 

There are a couple of my dogs who have eye problems.  Siberian Huskies have great hips but lousy eyes.  Out of 160 breeds, Sibes come in 155th for hip displaysia.  On the other hand, they get every congenital eye disease listed.  Ghost has had pigmentary keratitis for a couple of years and Fondue’s eyes have shown issues for more.  Ghost is going blind, but I was pretty sure there was still some vision left.  I asked Dr. Cross to make an assessment, so I let Ghost wander about.  Happily free, he started marking everything he could.  Dr. Cross agreed that he’s definitely not blind yet.  We talked about possible changes in Ghost’s treatment as well as what might be going on with Fondue. 

Lolo, Thor, Tanner, and Zappa were all eagerly awaiting their turns.  Thor, Tanner, and Zappa had Quick as their dam and Lolo had Queen.  Their goofy friendliness reflects this.  Tanner was a bit surprised when the shot hurt, but quickly forgave everybody. 

Murphy took the whole thing skeptically, as usual.  Nothing hurt him, but you never know.  I commented that he had had a heart murmur and Dr. Cross said he still did.  I followed up with he had had an EKG and qualified for the Iditarod, so the murmur wasn’t pathological.  Prior to the EKG, we had suspected this as Murphy never showed symptoms of heart issues while training, but the diagnostic confirmation didn’t hurt. 

We ended up with Vixen, nearly 12 but looking in great shape.  Actually, in great shape.  One bit of conversation that occurred several times while walking through the kennel was me saying, “he’s nine,” or “she’s twelve,” and Dr. Cross replying “Really?”  Always great to hear from your vet.

The one invention that doesn’t yet exist is a good easy way to clean dogshit off of shoes without dangerous solvents.  I work pretty hard to avoid “stepping in it,” and had done so successfully during the kennel’s medical inspection.  Dr. Cross had had less luck.  It was a quiet bit of pride, even if I didn’t think he was trying.

As he was packing up, Dr. Cross commented that the yard looked good overall, something I was pretty sure about, but it’s always nice to hear.  I said I’d be by the next day to pick up the paperwork, pay off the bill, and pick up Gonja’s ashes.      

Just as planned, I headed into town for a Missoula run.  Lots of stuff to do, a bunch of things to pick up, and of course the visit to Dr. Cross’.  All went well, almost. I got into the truck after paying off the bill, drove a bit, then noticed a familiar fragrance.  After having avoided the shit in my own dogyard, I had stepped in some crossing the lawn in front of Dr. Cross’ clinic.  Fifteen minutes at the first gas station I saw let me clear my shoes and the car and once again be presentable.  Well, as presentable as I ever get.

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