Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm pinching myself

I still cannot believe it!

Five beautiful dogs have entered my life. And I have entered theirs. Yesterday, as I drove to Cambridge to see them and get better acquainted, I was quite surprised by my emotions.

I thought I would be giddy. But it was a deep sense of responsibility that I felt. A kind of heaviness, the likes of which I haven't experienced since the early days of my first pregnancy, when I realized a new life would depend on me for everything.

Except this is different. I am not alone in caring for these beautiful creatures. There's Chris and Claire. And yet, I brought them into this new landscape. I am responsible for them moving away from the home they know best, from the man and woman who've cared for their every need season after season. And I am the one who must lead them in our adventure together these next few months. I owe them so much.

Do I deserve their trust?

All I can say is I already adore them. Each with his or her own personality. They are each so different and so compelling. I wish I could do a mind-meld with each one, like Mr. Spock from Star Trek. I know I will learn so much from their body language, the way they hold their tails, their ears, their heads. I know I will be seeing a good deal of them from behind.

But this week, I just want to see them. Touch them. Feed them. Give them water. Keep their new homes clean. Walk with them.

And love them.

These are some photos I took as I visited with each one in the quiet of the dog yard, as temperatures began to cool off and a breeze picked up among the trees. Those few hours were contemplative, beautiful, and lovely . . .

Expressive Lydia "Lids"

Darling Elias, who has one brown eye and one blue eye

Big, sweet boy Colt

Gorgeous Greyling, my quiet girl

The divinely confident Penya, who is a born leader

And these are some photos Claire took of me when I first met these amazing creatures . . .  she truly captured the great joy that accompanied my great feeling of responsibility. Thank you, Claire!

Such a sweet boy, Colt.  He is "blowing coat" -- a phrase that describes the two times a year when huskies shed their coats in preparation to grow a new coat for the next season. The fur that is coming out is quite downy and soft. Colt was neutered a week ago, and he seems completely unbothered by his new "condition."

Lydia (Lids) is the "talker" in the crew. She will definitely communicate her wishes, as in "pet me NOW." I love a girl who speaks her mind! She was spayed a week ago and is a bit more interested in what is going on "down there" that I'd like. If she keeps showing too much interest, we've got at "bucket" ready for her to wear for a while. 

Greyling allowed me to scratch under her chin without shrinking away from me. I was surprised that we'd make that much progress the first day. Knowing she is shyer that the rest of the team, I wanted to approach her on her own terms. At first, I kind of ignored her but sat around in her space so she could get used to me. For a while, I simply sat near her and closed my eyes and pet her under her chin. At one point, I could feel her body relax into my hand. I suspect we'll repeat this interaction several times as we get acquainted. She is the hardest to read for me right now, but I think with time we'll grow to understand each other.  She is a beautiful, majestic dog.

Elias is a lovebug. She she seems to be incredibly comfortable "in her skin" and relaxed easily into her new environment. She accepted next door neighbor Lids' invitations to interact, almost as if she knew Lids needed a little extra attention to settle down. I have a sense she is a very intuitive, centered dog and will help me stay that way when it comes time to race together.

Penya, a confident, relaxed lead dog, looks like she can make herself comfortable anywhere any time. She definitely kept an eye on the rest of the crew and on what was happening among the other dogs that call Claire and Chris's place home. I set my water bottle and cap on a log next to her circle, and as I was getting acquainted with the other dogs, she checked out my belongings. I love how she gets her bearings and takes it all in stride. Frankly, I'd like to be a lot like her!
On my next visit I will introduce Ginsberg (who lives with me in Minneapolis) to the team. He's got his own little house and circle there, right next to Elias. I wouldn't be surprised if he falls head over heels in love with her. I'll have him in the kennel as I feed, water, and scoop the other dogs so he can see what it's like to be part of the team. I stopped by the butcher's today and picked up a nice big bag of beef bones with marrow inside. I plan to give each one a bone and watch how they react.


  1. What beauties! You and your new friends are going to have great adventures together.

  2. Oh, this is so darned exciting! What an adventure. I can't wait to see pics of Ginsberg meeting the team.

    Kinda fond of that Lydia...give her an extra pat for me.