Sep 192014

Frankie was hanging out in the study and sleeping in the chair, but he found it was just a little small for him.

doesn't look comfortable

What do you mean this doesn’t look totally comfortable?

not quite enough room

Not quite enough room for all four paws.

Sep 182014

Convalescing from surgery is challenging, so Hu-dad thought a little outside time – in addition to her bathroom breaks – would be a nice treat for Natasha. Our back deck can be blocked off to provide a smallish area, and Hu-dad can work thanks to the power of wireless internet. Of course, he assumed Natasha would want to just nap in the sun, but she had other plans.

laying outside

Yes, Hu-dad, laying outside does feel nice.

greet my subjects

Besides I can greet my subjects through the fencing.

sling support

What do you mean I can’t walk around without my sling supporting me?

nap time

Back in the crate – and nap time. But at least it is outside.

Q watching

Qannik monitors – a Knight watching his Queen sleep.

Couple of things of interest –

We are supporting Natasha with a sling when she goes out for bathroom breaks. She wants to just go out, but we are giving the leg time to heal – and trying to minimize pressure on the good leg to avoid that 30-40% chance of a double TPLO surgery. We don’t want to do this twice! Thus, that is why the second picture is a no-no and Hu-dad put a stop to it.

In the third picture above, you can see that Natasha is not exhibiting the swelling or bruising that so many dogs have post surgery. Her leg is looking very good (though hairless much to her displeasure). She is not yet putting any weight on the leg, but that is natural at this stage.

And, finally, in case you are wondering about the shaved belly, that is not directly from the TPLO surgery. Because of her age, we were checking everything thoroughly before the surgery and had done an ultrasound of her organs in addition to the chest, back, hip, and knee x-rays. The x-rays could be done through fur, but the ultrasound needed a more direct picture. Fortunately, everything checked out great which made us feel comfortable moving forward.

Sep 172014

Natasha says there is nothing quite like Home Sweet Home. She was discharged from the hospital Tuesday morning and spent the day napping in the hu-dad’s study.

stop taking pictures.

I could nap more if the Hu-dad would stop taking pictures of me.

For the first several weeks, Natasha can only go out for very supervised bathroom breaks. Otherwise, she is spending the time with lots of crate rest.


Sigh. How do I stir up some excitement?

The rest of The Herd was crated for Natasha’s return to the house. As she was carefully escorted by the Hu-dad to the wall of crates, she took the time to growl at each member of The Herd. Her way of saying, “I’m back. Didn’t you miss me?”

Later, while she was napping in the den (yes, Hu-dad has crates set up in every key room for Her Highness), song time broke out from The Herd. Natasha woke up enough to join.

Song of my people

The Song of My People!

Thanks again for all of the well wishes. We really appreciate all of the good thoughts.

Sep 162014
waiting on a Natasha update

Frankie waiting on a Natasha update.

Those of you who follow our Facebook Page, Twitter, and our Google Plus page already know this news, but Natasha came through her TPLO surgery fine Monday. For us, though, it was just a day of waiting for news.

The TPLO surgery to repair the damaged cranial cruciate ligament injury went well. The surgeon did discover some meniscal injury (cartilage damage), but we were already prepared for that possibility. This is a good article if you are curious about meniscal injury.

Based on her progress yesterday, we are expecting Natasha to be discharged from the hospital by mid-day today and then we begin the long road to recovery. The hardest part will be the first few weeks where Natasha’s leg will feel much better, but we can’t let her use it much as the bone heals. Grumpy might be the overstatement of the year!

Thanks to everyone for your best wishes.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Funny story to lighten things up –

Monday evening, the hu-dad decided to take the Pack of Five for a walk, figuring it would do everyone some good to get out of the house. That plan was great except for the part where the hu-dad forgot to check the weather radar before leaving the housing. At exactly the furtherest point from the house, the rain began – a steady, driving, cold fall rain. We were all soaked when we arrived back at the house. We suspect the Queen is laughing at us.


Sep 152014

Today is TPLO Surgery Day for Natasha’s cranial cruciate ligament injury. We will post updates as we have them on our Facebook Page, Twitter, and our Google Plus page just as soon as we have them, so you can follow us on the social media page of your choice. Thanks for your good thoughts.

time in study

Hu-dad said he and I are going to spend a lot of time in his study over the next several weeks.

keep juniors

Kiska and Qannik have been given instructions to keep the Juniors in check until I am ready to handle them again.

Natasha will remain at the surgery center over night (monitored throughout the night) and return to Chez Herd on Tuesday. We will then have four weeks of very minimal movement to give the bone time to heal followed by about eight weeks of physical therapy. Our goal is that Natasha’s Christmas present will be a doctor’s permission to return to full activities.

Sep 142014

Oh, sure, a leopard can’t change its spots, but a Siberian can be very good at changing spots – sleeping spots, that is.



hu-dad settled in

Oh, look, hu-dad has settled into the couch across the way.

here I come

Hu-dad, here I come!

This is much better.

This is much better.

Sep 132014

Ever have that perfect plan to get exactly what you wanted – right up to the point where the plan backfired? Typhoon had one of those moments yesterday.

Tree of Life

Typhoon plotting and planning down by the Tree of Life.

Siberian Huskies are interesting creatures. They spend a significant amount of their brainpower trying to figure out ways around rules that they don’t like.

We often tell the story of Nikita, the very first Siberian Husky that Hu-dad had. Our kitchen at the time had a linoleum floor, but the rest of the house was carpeted. Hu-dad had a rule that Nikita could not be in the kitchen while meals were being prepared. So, Nikita would spend that time laying on the carpet at the kitchen door and reaching out with her paws to touch the linoleum. If nothing was said, she would add a second paw to the floor and, slowly, start sliding forward.

One of those days where Nikita had been told to get her paws back to the carpet a dozen times, she sat back and suddenly grinned. Hu-dad could hear her running down the hall to the other side of the kitchen where she promptly entered the kitchen through the opposite door. When Hu-dad shooed her out of the kitchen, she protested loudly that the rule was that she could not cross through the first door, not this one.

admire Nikita

I admire this Nikita, even though I never met her.

One of our rules at Chez Herd is that all dogs must be in their crates before their meals are served. Friday morning, Typhoon decided to challenge the rule.

When Hu-dad called for all dogs into their crates, Typhoon sat down on the deck and refused. Hu-dad fed the other dogs and looked at Typhoon, holding his breakfast bowl in his hand.

“Go in your crate.”

“Nope. Don’t wanna.”

“No crate. No breakfast.”

“I want breakfast on the veranda.”

“Last chance.”

“I don’t believe you.”

Hu-dad turned, walked back in the house, and shut the door – with Typhoon’s breakfast bowl.

Not what I expected.

That is not what I expected.

Typhoon raced for his crate and began screaming about the unfairness of it all. And, trust us, when Typhoon screams, he SCREAMS. Hu-dad did finally serve Typhoon’s breakfast – inside his crate.

So, Typhoon, how did that plan work?



P.S. – Typhoon was the first dog in his crate for dinner Friday evening.

Sep 122014

Hu-dad, it is movie time.  What do you mean no vacancy?  So sorry, you move, you lose.

movie time

Ok, hu-dad, it is movie time!

has to move

What do you mean that one of us has to move?

talking to you

Frankie, I think he is talking to you.

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Thank you everyone for your interest in Benoit Denizet-Lewis’ book Travels with Casey.  As we mentioned in our post on Monday, you can buy a copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and most any other book retailer (we receive absolutely no money from any of those links – we provide them simply for your convenience).

As we promised, one lucky reader will receive a free copy direct from the publisher, Simon and Schuster.  That lucky winner is . . . “Houndstooth” who has their own terrific blog at Tales and Tails!

Sep 112014

September 11

September 11, 2001 – 2,977 innocent human lives were lost and over 6,000 people were injured at the hands of 19 murderers. We pause from our regular posts to honor and to remember – and pledge to never forget.

The attack was on US soil, but the victims were global. The fatalities included 373 people from 58 other countries, not counting the murderers themselves.

The murderers claimed religious goals, but every major religion was represented in the innocent victims, including 31 Muslims, one of whom was seven months pregnant.

This was not a military attack, as only 55 fatalities were military members and 70 additional civilians working at the Pentagon.

The fatalities included 8 children, the youngest only 2 1/2.

In addition to the human lives lost, we remember Sirius, a 4 year old Yellow Lab who served as a bomb detection dog. Hearing the explosions above them, Port Authority Officer David Lim left Sirius in his crate in the basement, saying “I’ll be back for you,” before racing up 43 flights of steps to rescue as many people as he could. He was carrying a woman down the steps when the tower collapsed around him, though he was miraculously rescued alive from the rubble hours later.

Unfortunately, it was not until January 22, 2002 – over four months after the attacks – that the body of Sirius was found. He had been killed instantly when the tower collapsed. Officer Lim was able to be at the site when his partner’s body was removed from the rubble, fulfilling the promise of his last words. The canine officer received the same stirring tribute as others – the machinery was all halted, his body was draped by a flag, men and women stood silently and saluted, and Sirius was escorted from the devastation.

We honor the 343 firefighters and 63 law enforcement officers who gave their lives that fateful day – and the over 2,000 that suffered injuries of some sort.

We honor the 29 passengers plus crew on United 93 who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that no more planes took innocent lives.

We honor the untold number of people who lost their lives helping strangers escape the destruction.

We honor the men, women – and canines – who spent weeks trying to find more survivors. Many of those searchers today suffer from illnesses or have died from working that site.

And we honor all of the servicemen and women of the various nations who have been on the front lines to eradicate the possibility of another such event. And, sadly, we salute those from nations around the world that, even now, are gearing up to defeat a similar foe who has a total disregard for innocent lives.

And we honor all those, somewhere, who took time from their day to help a stranger. Traveling on business myself that fateful day, I watched people offer rides to people who had no way to get home without the airlines. It was a day where we treated each other well and thought nothing of helping a stranger.

We will never forget.

Sep 102014

After evaluating all of our options for treating Natasha’s cranial cruciate ligament injury, we have decided to move forward with Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery this coming Monday. She will be back home on Tuesday for an extended period of rest followed by several weeks of physical therapy. Now that the decision has been made, we are just waiting.

being good

Sigh. I am going to have to be good for a long time.

We made the decision based on a number of factors, but primarily we evaluated her health thoroughly. While her age (11 years) is certainly a factor, all of her blood work and other examinations indicated a dog in terrific health. She should recover well.

Don't talk about my age.

Blush. Don’t talk about my age.

Non-surgical options and even other surgical options are more suited to smaller dogs or less active dogs. Natasha enjoys our long mountain hikes as well as running and playing in the yard. We needed to make sure that the surgery we chose would give her the best chances at enjoying those activities to the fullest.

get this going

Let’s get this going.

Decision made. Waiting for surgery has started. And then the long road to recovery.

*****     *****     *****      *****     *****

In case you missed it, we are giving a free copy of the new book Travels with Casey.  To enter the contest, simply go here for all of the details. The winner will be announced Friday!