Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bosco Turns 6

He's seen me shed more tears than I care to admit & watched me triumph. Together we have traveled North America & gone on countless adventures. I will be forever grateful for this constant companion I was given the opportunity to have in my life. Happy 6th birthday Bosco!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sick as a Dog

Anyone who ever spends even a small time around my dog will learn something very quickly about him - he LOVES food. From the normal dog loving foods like kibble, steak and bones, to the obscure foods a lot of humans will turn their noses up at. He will drool when he sees me start to peel a banana in anticipation of the bites he knows I always give him (I refuse to eat the pointy ends of a banana). And when I start to cut up Brussels sprouts, you can forget about even trying to get his attention away from my cutting board.

So when Bosco stopped eating and refused any sort of food for the first time in his LIFE, yes, we began to get more than a little worried.

It all started Thursday evening. When we arrived home from work Bosco had thrown up all over the house. We chalked it up to the 2 lb of chicken he had stolen from a plate in the sink as it thawed two days before. Although he was still throwing up a bit, he seemed to get better by Friday afternoon when Brian came home early from work to check on him. We decided not to take him to the vet as he even started holding down some rice and plain yogurt. By early Saturday afternoon he was showing  signs of an intestinal blockage and had taken such a drastic turn for the worse that we decided he needed to get into the vet right away.

We rushed him to an emergency vet in town where we proceeded to spend the next several hours waiting, waiting, waiting & finally running a barrage of tests including abdominal x-rays.

While nothing seemed glaringly wrong in the images, between the gas patterns in his x-rays and the blood work, it was decided that he had an intestinal blockage of organic matter that wouldn't show up in the imaging. So Bosco was to spend the night being medicated & (more importantly) rehydrated. At midnight another set of x-rays was done. Same results with no movement. It was decided over a middle of the night phone call with the ER vet to do one more series of images in the morning and if nothing moved, that exploratory surgery would be needed.

My heart dropped into the pits of my stomach when my phone rang the next morning. Just shy of his 6th birthday, I was starting to really worry about the possibility of losing the giant black dog that's seemingly been through it all with me. Thankfully the news the vet had to give me was, although not great news, it was positive. He still refused to eat or drink and had not gone to the bathroom yet, but gas patterns in his bowels were shifting, meaning, things were starting to move! X-rays were taken every 4 hours for the next 12 hours. 

Late Sunday night, nearly 36 hours after taking him to the vet, Bosco was allowed to return home. 

It took a few days for the big man to finally start acting like himself, but he's thankfully back to normal, minus the shaved cuff he now sports on his ankle.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


The sky had been threatening rain for the last 24 hours. Just as I stepped out of the car on 5th Avenue it upheld that threat and started to drizzle. By the time I reached the staging area for the volunteers it was nearing a downpour. 

Crews had worked relentlessly overnight hauling in tons of snow and forming a makeshift trail along the streets of downtown Anchorage and it was literally just washing down the drain.  Thankfully, as one of the few local volunteers, I knew of the craptastic winter (if one can really call it that) we've been having here in town & had dressed the part; waterproof boots, water repellent pants & a rain shell.

By the time the sun was just starting to come up the rain was beginning to slow. The air was electric as most of the dog trucks started arriving around this time as well. When we got our assignments I was put on a team to handle the first sled out the chute, the 2015 Jr Iditarod winner Kevin Harper. It was a quick 1/4 mile sprint to the starting line, and just as quick as we got there, the team was on their way through Anchorage on a rapidly disappearing trail. I sat at the starting line for a few minutes to watch the next musher get on his way, more so that I could stop and take it all in for a minute than dashed back to our staging area to get my next assignment.
Can you find me?

By the end of the day I had handled for 4 teams total, Kevin Harper, Seth Barnes, Jane Steves & Trent Herbs. I was exhausted and hungry and ready to head out to Fairbanks for the re-start, rather the official start of Iditarod 2015.

Sunday morning, after sleeping in, I  kissed Brian goodbye, threw my bag in the car & headed out for Fairbanks. The weather turned nasty around Denali and I joined up with a caravan of Iditarod mushers headed for the same destination. After arriving at my hotel for checking nearly 2 hours later than I had planned, I checked in for my race credentials and was put on musher parking for the night. So I stood for the next 3 1/2 hours in a makeshift parking lot at a balmy 3 degrees to check in a grand total of 3 mushers. Having not had a chance to eat all day, I was excited to head bag to my hotel room for a quick meal and then pass out for a couple of hours before returning early the next morning.

The differences between the ceremonial start and the official start of the Iditarod were drastic not only in the way the volunteers were handled, but in the overall atmosphere. The jovial mushers who had been signing autographs and making jokes just two mornings before, were now mentally prepping for an arduous 1,000 mile race in the middle of an Alaskan winter. Because of the last minute course change to accommodate for the lack of snow, this trail was also going to be completely new to most of the mushers, regardless of their veteran status. 

As I was heading back from taking a team to the starting line, I stopped just in time to snag a quick picture of Dallas Seavey. He just happened to come to a stop directly in front of me!

Between the lack of sleep and the overall excitement, the day went by quick and as a blur. Before I knew it the final teams were crossing the line and heading down the trail. I stopped by a friends house in Fairbanks before hitting the road for Anchorage.

As I neared the town of Nenana I spotted a couple of mushers heading down the river. So I stopped in town to catch a glimpse of a couple of them leaving the first checkpoint. This was the first time I actually got to just sit and enjoy what was happening around me. 

What an experience I'll never forget...

Friday, March 06, 2015

Final Countdown

You're never too old to stop chasing your dreams.

Less than 24 hours...