a99kitten's Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

I received the below email today from the rescue organization where we adopted Shadow. They typically do not send out donation requests other than quarterly newsletters with the info on the back page. They are not an alarmist organization that asks for money every other day or sends out horrible “this dog will die if you don’t adopt now” notices like so many you see on Facebook or twitter. And I appreciate that because I know always they need the money and I know there are too many dogs in shelters.

But if you can spare even $5.00, it can add up to help Boscoe, who is still a baby who clearly had a horrible home but can be fixed up and find a good home from early on.

I didn’t include the pics of the injury because yuck. But am including Boscoe’s little face :)

Boscoe at vet

Boscoe at vet

I hate when people ask for donations so I don’t this easily. But this guy needs our help. We might not be able to help every dog, but we can help this one.


Hi friends – I want to let you know about a wonderful three-month-old Siberian puppy I pulled Friday at the Delano, CA, Shelter (central valley/middle of nowhere!). Shelter folks picked him up in a woman’s yard in town where he had laid down to rest, with a horrible gash on the inside of his right rear leg (photo attached) and with the femur on his other back leg out of socket! With no possibilities in store for him except the shelter, I took the 4 hour drive to Delano, and pulled Boscoe. By 4 pm I was at Fourpaws in Dublin and Dr. Tripi was looking at Boscoe (see attached photos)

Sweet Baby Boscoe is at Tripi’s for myriad issues. Chris worked very hard to pop the bone back in place; no go, which leads us to believe he has been limping around in this condition for a week, maybe 10 days or more. Apparently a car hit him. Tripi performed surgery yesterday, cutting the head of the femur and reinserting into the hip. The open wound on his other leg is awful – Tripi successfully sewed it back together, at the same time neutering him. So far the stitches in the wound are holding. And he is “surprisingly ambulatory” considering his injury. He has a little eye infection too, fleas and ticks for days, major tape worm. Yuck. So of course we treated for these parasites too. Bless his heart, this baby has been worked very hard in his short life time. just the sweetest puppy, probably no more than 3 months old, even too young for a rabies shot to take.

This surgery and related necessary vetting are pricey (especially considering our tipsy finances), but when I saw his photo on a rescue listserve, I knew Norsled had to help him. The good thing is he is so young he will bounce back, after proper containment during recuperation. Thank you to everyone for thoughts, concern and offers to help and contribute. Boscoe needs your help now urgently.

If you want to donate, just go to www.norsled.org, click on paypal and we will most appreciate it. You can also send checks payable to Norsled to address below. Please cross post any place you can think of. We need to raise money for this baby’s medical work. Thank you for caring for the huskies. Boscoe sends a woo woo to all of you.

Gail de Rita, Rescue/Adoption Coordinator
Northern CA Sled Dog Rescue (Norsled)
PO Box 30877, walnut Creek CA 94598 – phone 510 676 2215

“Without an Alaskan Malamute to guide me through the bleak landscapes of the soul, I would wander forever without finding my voice.” Susan Conant

Whoever said “money can’t buy happiness” never paid an adoption fee.
Save animals three times a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
What have you done today to make the world a better place?
Torturing one animal is cruelty; torturing many is science.

Shadow is interesting. I am 99.9% convinced he is husky/wolf (versus any other dog mix.) And yet I think Angelus was still more of a true alpha dog. Angelus would walk into dog parks or on the beach and other dogs just respected him. There was none of the rushing him or trying to dominate him you see when there are a pack of dogs and a new one comes in. It was like they just knew. They would run up to him but then just stop. And sniff. And respect. He would never, ever start a fight. Not one in his life. But he did finish a few. And they were mostly when other dogs attacked Storm. As alpha, it was Angelus’ job to protect his pack. And he did. Of course, Storm started most of them because he wanted to be the underboss only to Angelus.

Shadow definitely tried to assert his dominance a bit in the house when he arrived. As a rescue I think that is normal as he is trying to figure out where his place in the pack is. As long as it is addressed immediately, it should be fine. And he has gotten much, much better in the few weeks we have had him. I still won’t have food around when both he and Storm are together but they have been doing better and you can tell he is a sweetheart. But he doesn’t try and crap with me anymore.

Around other dogs he is typically very jovial and playful and not aggressive but does do the humping thing which is a sign of him trying to show his dominance. And has smacked down dogs who try and steal his ball. That’s normal dog behavior though. But he has actually allowed a couple of other dogs to try & hump him. Crikey – Angelus would not have had ANY of that business. Ever. But I think that’s because other dogs just knew not to try it. I don’t recall a time when a dog did try it with him. Well, Storm tried it when he was an older puppy, not quite teenager age. Angelus smacked him down a few times and we had to pull them apart a couple times. And then Storm realized it just wasn’t going to happen and never tried again (with Angelus that is.)

Interestingly, you see these same behaviors in people. The male species much more but not always limited to boys. How many times is the term Alpha Male thrown around? In reality, most of the boys it is attached to are more beta than alpha. Constantly trying to jockey for position and show who is more alpha. A true alpha is known. He does not have to show he is alpha. At times he could be challenged and will deal with it, but doesn’t need to walk around trying to show the others how he is the boss all the time. He just is. It’s confidence and respect.

Go hang out with a group of investment bankers, lawyers, CEOs or athletes. Rather entertaining really. But no, they are not all alpha males. Maybe they want to be. But there is only 1 alpha (male/female) in each pack. And watching all of the betas try and impress the alpha or challenge the alpha can be interesting. Of course you also have the omega. Poor Omega.

Take a football team, you have a group of over-testosteroned guys who all view themselves as top dog material trying to outdo each other. But really – the coach, or in a few cases, the QB (looking at you Peyton), are the true alpha. No one gives him any guff or challenges him. Period. And they generally suck up a little in the hopes they will be the pack beta who gets to take over at some point when the alpha is not around. When the alpha wolf is not around, a beta can take over temporarily. When the alpha in injured or dies, a beta will step up and take over. With people, you will see this jockeying a LOT. How many VPs suck up to the CEO on a regular basis?

Michael Corleone is a good example. Vito was alpha. Michael took over as alpha even while Vito was around because at some point, the alpha will step back. And then you had all of the buffers in the pack who want to be next to him and hope to take over as well as the alphas of other packs (although wolf packs generally leave each other alone – they are much more civilized than humans.) Humans tend to have a 2nd in command in place like the true Beta wolf. Like Spock or Number 1 on Star Trek :) With humans he is more of a patient, alpha type as well who can and will step in at the right time and not just a pack member who wants to impress or simply be part of the pack or *think* he can fill the alpha role. Human packs tend to have a lot of those. That kind of behavior gets smacked down pretty quick in wolf packs.

Being an alpha male doesn’t mean you walk around bellowing and being obnoxious and showing off. It means you have the most freedom to go and do what you want. And the pack naturally follows you. You get to mate with the alpha female. And wolves are generally monogamous. Most male humans who think they are alpha male seem to think it also gives them the right to mate with all the females they can find. Tacky.

When I lost Angelus, and someone asked if I would get another dog and what kind, I thought about that for a second. I knew I would want another dog in my life but didn’t know when. But what I did know was that I wanted another one like him. No other dog will ever truly be the same as he was very special. But I knew I couldn’t have a submissive dog. At the beach you see the dogs that just run up to everyone, love everyone and roll and submit to every dog. They are always sweet doggies but they weren’t challenging. At all.

Angelus and Storm have always been my dogs. They love me and I never doubted that. I was alpha to them. And when people came up to pet them or stop them and see them, they could not have cared less about them. They cared about their pack – people and dogs who they came to know well. But that’s it. Everyone else was there to give them a treat or move on. Stormy was more friendly and effusive to strangers as a puppy but then I think he took an Angelus’ (or maybe my?) traits. I’m not sure what that says about me, but the idea of slobbery, goofy, run up to everyone to love them and roll over kinda dog was not going to happen. Ever. I actually got sad thinking about that possibility.

I know some people prefer that type of dog (or significant other) because they don’t want to be challenged. Just want the submissive. They say people choose dogs that look similar to them. I have actually seen that in real life. Weird actually! Well, I don’t have pointy ears so don’t think I look anything like a husky! But maybe it’s more you go for dogs that match you (not necessarily in looks.)

Huskies are considered challenging and not meant for first time dog owners. They are highly intelligent but get easily bored and need to stay stimulated. They are great problems solvers (i.e. will break into the fridge and out of the yard.) They are very independent but are loving with their pack. They are friendly but are not overly effusive dogs with just anyone (see Golden Retrievers or Labs.) I think our personalities match pretty well. For better or worse :)

It’s Karl Faberge’s birthday today. Ever since I was young child I have wanted a Faberge egg (a real one not a replica from Franklin Mint!) Sigh…

Google put this up on their homepage today. Pretty…

Fabergé, also known as Karl Gustavovich Fabergé, was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia on May 30, 1846, to a Baltic German jeweler Gustav Fabergé and his Danish wife Charlotte Jungstedt.

Although there’s not much information on Fabergé’s educational background, some reports say that he might have undertaken a course at the Dresden Arts and Crafts School. He was even believed to have taken lessons from well-known goldsmiths of his time in France, Germany and England. Peter Carl was also guided by his father’s workmaster Hiskias Pendin for many years.

In 1882, Pendin died and the entire responsibility of running the family business fell upon Peter Carl’s shoulders. Because of his brilliant work, he was awarded the title Master Goldsmith that let him use his own hallmark in his work along with that of the firm.

Peter Carl quickly built a reputation as a master designer of exquisite jeweled objects, including the Easter egg designs, which made him world famous. He won a gold medal and the St. Stanisias Medal at the Pan-Russian Exhibition in Moscow in 1882.

In 1885, he was appointed as the court jeweler of the Romanov dynasty. Tsar Alexander III gave the House of Fabergé the title, “Goldsmith by special appointment to the Imperial Crown.” The Tsar also commissioned the company to make an Easter egg as a gift for his wife.

Apart from Imperial Easter eggs, the House of Fabergé also made other objects ranging from silver tableware to fine jewelry. The company gradually became the largest business in Russia with branches in Moscow, Odessa, Kiev and London. It produced some 150,000 to 200,000 objects from 1882 until 1917.

In 1916, the House of Fabergé became a joint-stock company with a capital of 3 million rubles. But in the following year just before the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, a Committee of the Employees of the Company K Fabergé took over the business. The House of Fabergé was nationalized by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

The next two years of Peter Carl’s life were spent in exile. He died in Switzerland on Sept. 24, 1920. According to his family, he died of a broken heart.

Socialists should be throat-punched.  Take over (aka STEAL) a man’s company after you unionize and then exile him. How did Communism work out for you scumbags? Only worked to line the pockets of the politicians…funny how that it is….

I particularly hate the Bolsheviks because they killed a lot of Siberian Huskies because they were a sign of wealth.  Triple throat punch.

A Faberge egg with a husky theme inside would be THE BEST! :)


Yes, I am one of those annoying CA drivers with a personalized plate. Before I had my doggies, I had a plate that, because I am a bit naive sometimes, I thought was cute but later found out could be construed to mean something else. Doh. Oh well! As soon as I got Angelus, I changed my plate to…

Simple. It was even more self-explanatory on my previous car when the huskies would hang their heads out the windows as they had the entire back seat and back (Jeep Grand Cherokee.)

So last week I was at the beach about to load Storm in the car. Guy parked next to me asks “What does your license plate mean?” As I am about to pick up Storm, my SIBErian husky into the car.  I say it’s for Love. My. SIBErian Husky. He still looked confuzzled. OK….

Today, walking to the car with Storm (in same parking lot) and a guy asks me what a sibby (as he pronounced it) is. I say it’s SIBE (ya know – long IIIIII or even SYBE I suppose) for Siberian Husky.

He looked a bit confused. Is it that hard to get?

But then another guy sitting on the edge of his truck asks “Who Shot First?” I say “Han” without hesitation. He cracks up laughing and says “you are awesome – no hesitation whatsoever.” I add “There should never even be a discussion.” He keeps chuckling as Storm and I pull away in our Falcon. At least the plate frame is translatable.

You meet some interesting people at the beach…

Storm has been on his Cushing’s medication (Trilostane) since September 20th. He started on 1 dose of 10mg and then 1 week later moved up to 2 doses per day of 10mg. This is pretty low for his body weight but his doctor said body weight isn’t the only measurement for Cushings’ dogs (so yes husband, we ARE listening to his doctor and not you…)

All this week he has wanted to go on the walks in the mornings. This is a *great* improvement in his energy level! He has been choosing to not go on walks in the mornings for a few months now. This was one of the reasons I originally knew something was wrong and, sure enough, lack of energy is a symptom of Cushing’s. Now, AM walks for us are 1.5 – 2 hours every morning. For the past few months, I would take him out for 20 mins or so but he is a husky…they should have energy – even the lazy, couch-loving ones :) So he is now doing 1.5 hours or so. Not uphill hikes yet but I am hoping we get back there! When he wants to stay home – I take Angelus on those (who just wants to go and go and go….)

He even tried to be alpha with another dog this past week! The fact that he showed any real interest in the other dog’s existence is good. He just hasn’t cared about meeting other dogs lately. Storm has known he is “2nd boss” or the “underboss” since he was about 16-18 months old. He used to try to challenge Angelus but Angelus had none of that. For a couple month period of time we would have to pull them apart on occasion (usually a treat was involved) but this never happens now. They are great pals. Storm knows Angelus is the alpha (under me of course.) However, he views this as a 2nd in command kind of job. Like Chewie :) All other dogs must bow to him. And he has Angelus there to back him up (who has protected his little brother on numerous occasions.) Angelus has beaten up (blood drawn after they attacked Storm) 3 other dogs in defense of his little brother. He is a good big brother…

This cartoon ALWAYS pops up in my head when thinking about their relationship. Angelus is nicer to Storm than Spike is to Chester….but same idea :)

p.s. these old Looney Tunes/WB cartoons rule over anything they produce now IMHO…

Now, Storm has always been the lazier of the huskies but he would go (and go and go) if he was out there. And this week he has wanted to! So I am very happy with this improvement!

He also is drinking a bit less water. Still more than his normal levels, but a bit less than it has been for the last few months. He is still acting like he is starving to death. I hate to think that he feels so, so hungry all the time. Like he is actually starving. But again, a symptom of his disease and he is not starving. But someone at work actually said, in all seriousness, (as she gave the buddies chicken and cheese), that the buds didn’t get fed enough! OMG! They have formulated their plan and put it work for them. It’s called the sad, pathetic, brown-eyed puppy plan. Boogers…

So, all in all, a week or so of improvement for Storm on his medication. He gets his next test on 10/22. This will show us how the medication is doing in his blood, do we up the dosage, etc. They said “oh Storm….he is sooooo sweet….can you pick him up as soon as he is ready?” Ummm….ok :) I guess he makes a bit of a howling fuss…what a buddy :)

Someone told me again yesterday how well-trained my huskies were. I have actually been told this a LOT. And I smile each time because well…they are not well-trained. This I can say pretty honestly. What they are is well-mannered.

When we got Angelus, I signed him up for puppy kindergarten immediately. I found what was supposed to be the very best one in our area and was very excited! We went every Saturday morning. They suggest you bring your puppy in unexercised so that they are getting the “real” puppy. Not worn out. Umm…..sure. Angelus woke up at 5:50am every single morning as a puppy. Class was not until 8am. There was no possible way he wasn’t getting his walk before class. Angelus was VERY energetic. Almost 9 years later, Angelus IS very energetic. But as a puppy he was a bouncing ball of fluffy energy. So I absolutely took him for his walk before puppy class!

He did very well in puppy class. But this class is really more for puppy parents. And to start socializing your puppy. The teacher/trainer of this class was known as a phenomenal dog trainer. Big believer in praise and treat-based training. She introduced her dog to the class and said “your puppy will not complete this series of classes and go home like my dog. This is kindergarten. And my dog has graduated college. So do not be discouraged!” She was very funny in class and you could tell she loved working with dogs and they responded very well to her.

Now, I had bought and read the puppy training books before we even picked up Angelus. And the Siberian Husky training books (these are really just written as jokes I think) and, of course, the books by The Monks of New Skete (the ‘new puppy in your life’ bible.) But as I think it goes with human children, your puppy raising doesn’t always go “by the book”.

Lisa, the teacher/trainer spoke with me and confirmed that huskies (and all sled/northern breeds) were different than other dogs. With most dogs, you train them to walk next to you and never pull on their leash. Huskies are born to run and lead their team. So she said unless that REALLY bothered me, let him walk ahead. That doesn’t mean pull my arm out of my socket, but gently lead. And that’s all Angelus wanted to do. He never pulls hard (spotting cats doesn’t count.) He just wants to walk in front of me. This isn’t an alpha/pack issue – this is a “my genetics say pull the sled and go!” issue.

But it was nice to have her tell me this too. Validated what I thought. She said I would drive myself crazy trying to get him to walk at my side all the time. She also agreed with me that the “choke collar” was a bad idea for huskies. She suggested the prong collar which works wonders. The choke collar applies all of the “stopping” pressure in one area whereas the prong collar applies it evenly and with no choke point. It looks scary at first but she pointed out that the neck muscles on a dog are like thigh muscles on people. Very, very big and strong. Plus their thick fur is a natural buffer. And Angelus’ neck fur is thicker than a lion’s mane. It saved his life once (pit bull attack.)

So we graduated puppy kindergarten – certificate and all :) But that was the end of any formal schooling for Angelus. I worked with him at home on sit, stay, etc. But there was no way he was ever going to be an off-leash dog (huskies are NOT meant to be.) We did work on his COME command for dog parks, etc but I never had the illusion it would 100% of the time. He is a stubborn boy – just like him Momma :)

So he sits on command, shakes, lays down. Will generally come when called but if there is a cat or deer or something fun to chase – he thinks about it. You can see him thinking. And the fun thing to chase will win out. So I don’t let him off leash in areas where he can just run away from me.

Storm was an even crazier puppy. His name applied to him for sure – Storm! He was a spaz. His basic puppy training took longer. He didn’t want to sit just because we told him to. he wanted to be the boss and didn’t understand why we didn’t see that! He tried to challenge Angelus as he got to be a teenager but Angelus quickly showed him that was not going to be the way it went. He would “ah-rooo” and complain all the time when telling him to sit, come, etc. He’d even do it if you were giving Angelus a command!

But he will listen now. To me. And husband. And for you if you have a treat in your hand. But if a non-family member asks him to sit with no treat? Yeah…good luck with that. He is more of a Momma’s boy than Angelus so he will come to me when called even off-leash. If both he and Angelus that are running around and I call him but Angelus keeps going – you can see is his face “what to do? Angelus is going that way but Mom says go back? What to do?!” When he was younger, he followed his brother after this mental dialogue. But as he has grown up, he generally comes back to me. But again, if cats or critters are involved. All bets are off.

So see – not so well “trained”. But guess what? I didn’t get a dog to have a circus monkey who performed for me. I wanted dogs to have fluffy friends and family members in my life. I know their “training” limitations. But they do have good manners. And I think what people respond to with my guys is that they aren’t intrusive. They have been going to work with me since they were puppies. And driving around me with everywhere since they were puppies. And going out in public with me. So they have been raised around people all the time. So they are not big, excitable, slobbery dogs who jump on you, run at you, whine with excitement, etc. They actually will barely acknowledge your existence unless they want something (a pet, treat, etc.) When we have people over at our house, they will look at the door to see who is coming in. They might come up to you and sniff. And then they walk away.

This is when people are like “Wow, your dogs are so well trained.” I guess a lot of dogs are crazy when people come over. I definitely know dogs like this. They want you to play with them, throw the ball, pet them, they follow you around, etc. Or cry and whine at the door to go with you some place. or whine excitably in the car….the WHOLE way to the beach. My boys do NONE of these things. Whew…

They love me unconditionally. Always greet me at the door. Wait for me when I leave. And they listen to me. They love their dad (not as much as they love me though-as it should be!) and listen to him too. They also love some people who they have known all their lives (they love my brother in-law – I think they think of him as another dog.) And some people they just respond to (they love their auntie Melon.) But the general populace? They might let you pet them. Will always take a cookie from you. But don’t expect them to run to greet you or get excited to see you.

So thanks people, for thinking I have such well-trained dogs. But really, they are just well-mannered family members. And well, you are not a pack member so they really don’t care about you too much. No offense! This is a husky trait. And really…it’s a husky Mom trait too :)

Storm updated his Dogster diary tonight…he wanted to pupdate his friends on his paw boo-boo :)


The buds had a good weekend I think. Storm seems much happier. Angelus has been pretty happy but wishes I would let him catch critters. He definitely gets that annoyed look on his face when he chases a chipmunk and I stop him from catching one!!

But they are having a good time this weekend :)

Hi Mom!

Hi Mom!



Mmm...dingo bones are delicious...

Mmm...dingo bones are delicious...

Are you going to finish that?

Are you going to finish that?

This is:

1. Darn funny
2. Accurate representation of a husky brushing
3. Amazing…that there was no howling! Stormy doesn’t stop!!

…and says “See…I’m not the only husky that thinks car rides are way better than walking!”

Funny huskies :)

Funny huskies :)

Priceless :)

Priceless :)