Quinn and the Black Rat Snake.

One day, as I pulled weeds, I heard a ruckus in the dog’s yard and I saw a huge black snake, he stood four feet high from a coiled ‘foot’ -just like those cartoon cobras! He was surrounded by the four demons from hell, the pack. What happened next was a bit of Animal Planet.

I screamed “No!” and ran towards the scene, I had this crazy idea that if I was fast enough I could grab it just under the head with one hand and scoop him up with the other. They were about five feet from the chain link fence and I was planning to toss him over into the woods.

Yes, I am a bit of a moron. No, I did not run fast enough… never in my life have I ever been able to run fast. As I got close, I saw the hunter’s genetic memory take over my Siberians. The two girls took a step forward, which made the snake turn towards them and in a flash, at lightning speed, Mukki took the snake’s head off.

They all then settled down for a snake picnic, as I dumbly muttered: “But,… but!”

They ate half and Quinn who was only a few months old, carried the remaining bit around for weeks. He slept with it and rolled in it… The dogs camped outside by mutual agreement with me for those weeks, as they do when they catch and kill somebody, although it’s usually a possum or raccoon or rabbit or squirrel or bird or -well, enough of that. A typical day for Siberian huskies, the genetic memory is strong.

Quinn and the remaining four feet of the eight foot black snake.100_3357

Quinn has his Second Knee Replaced

Today, Quinn went into the Animal Hospital for his other knee repair. His first knee was replaced 12 weeks ago today. The vet called and let us know it all went well and the second knee was far worse off than the first one. He has some arthritis on the second knee but other than that all is well. Now, my dear little monster will recover at the vet’s for a week or so. With two other dogs at home, his care was too much the first week.

I know he’ll be happy. I’ve had to give him pain meds a few times a week when he was whining instead of sleeping at night. Siberians have a strong pain tolerance, so we knew he was in agony.

So for the next week the girls and I are going to rest up.

Fat Siberians -Faulty Switch?

Studies have shown Siberian huskies require 60% less food than typical dogs. Their unique metabolism has evolved over centuries as hard working sled dogs in Russia. They typically burn glucose and preserve fat stores for as long as possible. I’ve owned several over the years and until recently had four, now we have three after losing our alpha boy this past spring.

Our dogs have been raw fed and currently are fed a grain-free high protein kibble like Blue Buffalo. The boys were hard mushing, hard playing, hard working dogs and yet they only eat a fraction of what most dogs eat and when not playing or mushing reduce their consumption on their own.

The girls are a different story. Lulu is a rescue who was only 25 pounds when we got her and pregnant with Quinn. She came up to a normal weight after she weaned Quinn, but never gained an ounce while pregnant or nursing. Tala began gaining over time and is quite heavy ranging from 75 to a high of 92 pounds! She is on thyroid meds and that helped bring her down to the mid 70’s -still about 20 pounds overweight. She does not eat more than one cup of kibble a day! I suspect it all goes toward building fat reserves -she is also the laziest dog on the planet -we joke she is saving herself for the zombie apocalypse.

I suspect Tala’s switch involves extreme exercise -to get pass that glucose-burning to fat-burning switch. I am currently walking each morning to try to get my stamina up to about 4 miles, so I can walk her 4-5 miles a day. I should be ready by end of August when the mornings are cooler. Right now the southern summer is not healthy for her 95º and 85% humidity… I want her to get in shape, not die of heat.

Good foods for huskies

The Physiological Response of Siberian Husky Dogs to Exercise: Effect of Interval Training

Metabolic responses to exhaustive exercise in racing sled dogs fed diets containing medium, low, or zero carbohydrate.

Lipid metabolite responses to diet and training in sled dogs. (note ‘Alaskan sled dog’ is not synonymous with the ‘Siberian husky’ breed


A Farewell Poem for Mukki

Trail Work Ahead


He wanted to warn us, to let us know
That Mukki’s eyes might stay open when he’s dead
Good, they should, he has a long way to go
My Mukki needs to see the new trail ahead

We should have put on his harness and racing number
To ready him for that last race, free from the man’s sled
Hike – hike! Run fast when the gate opens –do not slumber
Fly away at the speed of light, flee fast and far from the dead

Mukki will work hard to ready the new trail
Across the Bifröst to run all day and transcend
His pack will join him soon, where he’s wagging his tail
Eyes open, he sees far ahead to the trail’s first bend

christine joan gasser ©2015

Tala Joins the Chorus and Starts it up Again!

After it got quiet, Tala joined the group and they brought her up to date of the status of the bread, which you can see on the boardwalk. Tala looks more like a sheep from the back and someone needs to brush that butt but lately when I try she sits on it, preventing my access… she says it’s cold outside and she needs the padding.

Expect the Unexpected in the Gulag

Mukki stole a baguette. He is the Master Counter Surfing Thief in this Gulag. If he won’t share (and he never does) usually a screaming howling fracas will erupt and it’s not easy to get them to shut up. Sound travels and once they start, every dog within a mile or so will start barking! Today I remembered that they often stop when I try to capture this on video, which I did. But back at my desk it started up again, so I took the phone to the door to see if I could catch a nice example of their mayhem… yeah, it didn’t work out the way I expected.

Cast: Mukki in the back, Lulu in the middle and the little shirt, Quinn at the door!

Why I can not have goats, chicken, sheep or cats….

IMG_0583These four beasties are also why Opossums, snakes, skunks, raccoons, rabbits, mice, chipmunks, squirrels and various birds are in no danger of over-populating my property! For some suicidal reason, all of these wild creatures enter the dogs enclosure (Gitmo), they’ll slither in or tunnel in (rabbits) and discover rather quickly why it was a very bad idea.

The dogs have a 6th sense alerting them to any incursions into Gitmo. Quinn and Mukki will waken from a dead sleep and rush through the doggy door into the yard at full speed (which is over 20 mph) and they usually chase away the invader or eat it. Then regardless of the outcome, Quinn will return to bark in my face to brag or complain. It is a rather unnerving event at 2:30 am.

The dogs have a 40 foot ‘runway’ attached to the back doggie-door, which opens into a 100 x 75 foot dog yard… you would think this would be enough land for everyone to thrive but no, no it’s not! The local wildlife seem to think it is an extreme sport to invade Gitmo and the Siberians seem to think they are in prison and are always attempting to dig out! Mukki is the escape artist. Quinn has a special, in my face, dancing and twirling barking alert, when Mukki has slid out. Depending on whether we find him at the front door begging to come in so he can brag about his latest kill or he is still busy eating the unlucky raccoon or opossum, the result is the same: two very tired humans the next morning because before we can go back to sleep, a boulder must be dropped into the hole! Not very fun in the middle of the night!

IMG_1747The one thing some people do not seem to understand and it’s understandable, since the Animal Channel shows on predators never seems to include the dog sleeping on your bed with one ear open! This effort was accomplished in under an hour and resulted in one small rodent. Notice the quick work made of the roots! Siberian Huskies are not territorial, they are obsessed with prey –Prey Driven. They see a rabbit when you are walking them, they will do their best to rip your arm off! Surviving in a frozen tundra, the random rabbit or mouse is survival. Everything in their cute little heads shut down when their is food walking around the backyard! When I walk Tala along the road, she will lunge, grab and swallow the hapless mouse hiding in the dead leaves in a matter of milliseconds. At certain times of the year, she can eat three or four ‘snacks’ on a short walk. She can also clear a lawn of moles within a few days, but the lawn looks like it’s been bombed.