Saturday, December 30, 2006

Rivers News 12-26-2006

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

I guess the Christmas must be over since Mike when back to work the other day. He was home for a few days and we had some quality time. We sure had a bunch of people visiting us. At the same time we had all of the visitors, Mary was cooking up a storm and, yes, we had a nice sampling of treats and scraps.

We got about a foot of snow last week and Mike spent a good portion of his time off plowing the driveway. I heard him talk that he was running out of places to put the snow. I guess that is why he broke out the snow blower and Stromy told me Mike was blowing the snow over the hill.

The folks who live next to us have a dog that likes to run the length of our fence with Icy. I think they are buddies. Sometimes when the dog is out, Mike will take Icy out into the side yard and let her run back and forth with the other dog. She tells me that she looks for him when Mike walks her down the driveway for the morning newspaper. Unfortunately, Icy told me, it is probably too early in the morning. Besides that, the big snow plow buried all of Icy’s sniffing areas. Oh yeah! Lakota and I are keeping an eye on them. You know how protective we uncles are, don’t you? Icy did tell me that this morning there was fresh moose tracks near the driveway. I hope it is our favorite momma moose and her babies.

Lakota got a chance to run in the deep snow the other day. He told me he likes to run to the end of the top yard and then look back to see what Mike is doing. Lakota told me that if Mike just looks at him, or just keeps doing whatever Mike is doing, Lakota will head to the lower lot and do some exploring. If Mike starts to walk after Lakota, then Lakota charges at Mike and veers off just before he gets to Mike. Then he will sit down and wait for Mike to give him a bunch of TLC. Yep, Lakota plays like young dog.

Sky, Stormy and Tundra also had some play time in the front yard playing in the deep snow. Tundra chased some balls, but she lost two. Icy tells me it is so funny watching Tundra “tunnel” into the snow looking for the tennis balls. Tunny’s head was snow white from the snow. Lakota told her she looked like a doggy Santa Clause with all the snow on her. Tundra Clause, a new nick name?

Stormy hops like a bunny in the snow. Icy was a bit concerned when Stormy hopped right into a big snow pile that was over Storm’s head. Fortunately for Stormy, Mike was right there to get her out. Nope, that did not stop ”Hoppin” Stormy, she fond some snow that was not so deep and just had a ball in the snow. I over heard her asking her Momma Icy if the balls her twin sister Tunny lost would grow like the veggies in Mary’s veggie patch? I do not know if they will, but they are good chewing after sitting outside for the winter!

Sky was Mary’s assistant host yesterday when we had guest in the house. She told me that she helped Mary clean up and it was hard work. Sure she did. That sounds like she took a page from Sandy’s play book and begged for treats from our guests. Here is a picture of Sky, "hosting".


I had a visit into the big house also and got a piece of ham from Mike and one from Mary. Mary was impressed that I found my way into the house from the garage. I took it nice and slow and just focused on Mike call me. He told me to jump when I came to the step up. Not a problem except for the herd of girls dogs that changed the door when it opened. Gee, ya think they were neglected or something. I have learned a very valuable lesson from the 4 girl dogs. One, never get in their way when the door opens for potty time. And two, never ever get in their way when the door opens to the big house. Moose can learn from these girls about stomping time! Lakota is very smart and hunkers down in his travel crate when the girls go charging. He told me that they actually jump over me! Airborne Alaska Huskies! Must be the vitamins.

Gifts you ask? Did we receive any gifts? Well yes we did. And we sent thank yous, privately to each friend who sent us gifts. Did you tell the one giving you gifts, thank you? Sometimes it is easy to forget to do that. If you forgot, you can still thank them.

Well, I better get back to doing my chores.

Take care

Rivers

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Rivers News 11-05-06

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

Yes, the temperatures dropped and we received a bit of snow. I heard that road conditions were nasty for a while.

Mike and Mary had a table at last week’s Holiday Bazaar at Raven Hall at the state fair grounds in Palmer. It was a two-day event. Mike told me they met a bunch of great people. Here is one of Mike in front of the display. There are tow more at the end of the Blog


Mary met a farmer who was selling pumpkin butter at the Bazaar. The farmer also produces a cranberry/walnut jelly and carrot butter. I had a taste of the pumpkin butter since Mike tends to be a bit sloppy. I was impressed. For human food, it was darn good. I heard Mike tell Mary that the cranberry/walnut jelly would taste great with turkey, or used as a glazed on ham. Not sure, what that all means, but I think Mikes thoughts are on food again. 3 Bears Farm produces these all-natural butters and they are available from Budget Feed and Farm in Palmer. You can e-mail them at info@budgetfeedandfarm.com for more information about these great products.

Speaking of homemade goodies such as the butters/jelly I mentioned above, one of our friends, BEA, sent us, actually sent Mike and Mary, some home made blackberry jelly. This stuff must have been really good since Mike was not sloppy with it. Bummer, I did not get a taste. Besides making great jelly, she also does Windows! (chuckle)

As I barked in my last newsletter, Captain Tony is coming home in November. So please do not send Captain Tony or his troops any more stuff. It probably will not be forwarded. However, please do not forget Nichelle’s dad and his buddies who are also in Iraq. They are from Ft Richardson, which is just outside Anchorage. Mike use to work there after he retired from the Air Force.

You do remember Nichelle, don’t ya? She is the young high school student who volunteers to play Taps at veteran’s graveside services. Our local paper, the Anchorage Daily News, did a story on Nichelle in today’s paper from what Mike told me. Here is the link http://www.adn.com/life/hometown/story/8379398p-8274662c.html. Nichelle might be on national TV! As Icy and her girls would say, “You go girl!”

The Golden Corral, a national restaurant chain is offering Veterans a free meal. Golden Corral sets aside the first Monday after Veteran's Day as their Military Appreciation Monday. It is their way of honoring all active duty and retired military personnel with a free "thank you" dinner and beverage at any Golden Corral restaurant. No identification is required. Chow time 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday November 13, 2006. Here is the link http://www.goldencorral.net/specials/

As I barked in my last newsletter, the sisters had a bit of disagreement and Sky had the wounds to show for it. However, Sky healed and resumed her position as the alpha dog.

Lakota is doing great. Mike told me that this year’s Christmas Story is about Lakota.

Are you having trouble deciding what to get that special dog lover on your holiday gift list? Is your budget somewhat tight yet you want a unique gift that keeps on giving? Well, maybe our books might be the gift you are looking for. Please e-mail me privately for more information.

Here are some more pictures from the Holiday Bazaar ( thanks Lead Dog JP)





Well it is time for me to go,
See Ya
Rivers

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Rivers News 10-22-2006

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

It looks like snow time will never come to our neighborhood, just rainy and cool weather. Well, that is good in a way because we get to visit with many new friends.

For example, Nichelle, the young woman who volunteers to play Taps at veteran’s funerals, stopped by our home with her mom, brother, and friend from Kansas. It was a cool visit. Nichelle was talking to Mike about taking pictures and playing the guitar. They talked about things called guitar licks, flicks, and pix. I wonder if those are from a new kind of language. It sure is not canine friendly!

Nichelle thanked us for telling you about all of the soldiers who could use some mail.

Then just a few days ago, Mike took me to the Palmer Visitors’ Center to meet a fan named Evva. Now Evva wrote to us and asked to meet us. She read both our books and, well, just really had to meet us. Therefore, Mike packed me up in the truck and off we went.

The weather cooperated and when we arrived at the Center, Mike took me out of the truck and walked me all around the area. I remember this place. I met BEA and Linda here a while ago. Mike and I did a book signing here also. We have met many nice people here. Mike told me that it is a nice place for taking pictures.

Well as soon as Evva, her Mom, Ian, Evva’s younger brother, and Aubrey, Evva’s older sister, arrived, Mike gave Evva my leash, and off we went exploring the area. Evva is sure fun to walk with. I think she caught on very quickly that since I cannot see, I tend to make my own trails thru the bushes.

I know Evva’s Mom and Mike talked a lot while I was walking with Evva. I am not sure what they were talking about, but it sound as if our families have much in common. Apparently, Evva’s family helps orphaned and distressed animals. I think they sent us a picture, which I will post to our blog.

A few days ago, while Mike was at work and Mary took off to do some errands, we were all snoozing in the garage. I work up to Icy’s babies getting in one nasty dogfight as Mary walked through the door. All I know is that the girls woke Lakota and Icy. The three of us raced out the door as Mary came in.

I heard Mary break up the fight. Tunny and Stormy raced out of the garage while, Icy raced back in to see what happened to Sky and Mary. Icy told us that Mary packed up Sky and took her in the big truck to the vet.

When Mary returned, we all went back into the garage. Lakota and I immediately headed to our travel crates to get out of the way. Icy was checking out Sky. Mary was very upset and let Sky, Tunny, and Stormy know that fighting is not good. “Wait till Mike gets home,” Mary said, very sternly. “He does not like this bad dog behavior.”

Lakota told met that Sky sat near Mary. She had some bite marks on her snout and around one eye. Stormy was in her travel crate. Tunny was lying on a pillow with her ears down and curled up into a ball trying to hide. Yes, they knew Mary was upset.

By the time Mike arrived home, we were finished with chow and in the kennel. Well, all of us except Sky and Stormy, they stayed in the garage. Mike came to the kennel and he immediately knew that Tunny was the one that probably started the dogfight. Lakota told me that Tunny was by the fence waiting for Mike. As soon as he asked her about the fight, she started to cower and raced to her doghouse. Lakota told me that she got so far back into the house that he had a hard time seeing her. Tundra knows that fighting with your sisters is a bad thing to do. Lakota told me that the look on Mike’s face suggested he did not believe Tundra started the fight.

Later that night, we found out that Stormy really started the dogfight. Apparently, Stormy did something to Tundra or Sky. Stormy does that often even though she was warned to be nice to her sisters. Tunny generally just ignores Stormy, but Sky will not. Each of the pups had there own version of what happened, and each version is different. Whose story do you going to believe? Yep, poor Icy sure has her paws filled being a single mom.

Well, that was a few days ago. Icy just t told me that Sky face is almost completely healed and will be as good as new in a few days.

New news: On Saturday and Sunday, October 28 and 29, 2006, Mike and Mary will be at the Holiday Bazaar at Raven Hall located on the state fair grounds. It cost a dollar to get in but there are door prizes you can win. I understand there will be over 100 vendors there. It should be a lot of fun. If you need direction just e-mail me privately.

Icy was telling me that she watched Mary set up the display racks with all of the beautiful things she has for sale at the bazaar. Things like husky pillows, husky stuff animals, husky Christmas cards, husky ordainments, handmade bookmarks, and two books about a blind Alaska Husky. I guess you can say that Mary likes huskies. Besides the display racks filled with goodies, Mary convinced Mike to bring our sled and let her fill it with more goodies for display. She had Mike make a slide show using pictures of us dogs. Mary wants to show the slideshow at the bazaar. Is Mary excited about the Holiday Bazaar? You betcha!

Well I barked a bunch in this newsletter. Guess that is what happens when you have not sent one out in a while. I really have to apologize for that, I will try to write more often.

Take care, and please keep writing to our military women and men in the war zones. They need your kind words of support and thanks.

See ya

Rivers












Friday, September 22, 2006

Rivers News 9-23-06

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

This newsletter with pictures is on our Blog at www.riversbooks.blogspot.com

Did you know that veterans have the right to have Taps played at their burial? Did you know that there is a shortage of buglers? Did you know that Congress authorized "mechanical" renditions of TAPS at burials? In other words, Taps played over a boom box or digital bugle.

Why am I barking this to you in this newsletter? Well, Mike read an article in our local newspaper about a young woman who volunteers to play Taps at the burials of veterans. She found a bugle and taught herself how to play it. Her name is Nichelle. She is 15. Nichelle is a very remarkable young woman according to the article in the newspaper.


This is a picture of Nichelle playing Taps at a veteran's burial.

The paper also stated that Nichelle's dad is in the Army and his unit is in Iraq. Their home base is Fort Richardson, just outside Anchorage.

Mike told me it was just great to see a young adult become involved like Nichelle did. He sent Nichelle a thank you note for doing such a great thing for veterans. Mike also asked if she would ask her dad if any soldiers in his unit were not receiving any mail during their adventures in Iraq.

Well it turns out that this is a big problem. The unit has been in Iraq since spring and many of the lower ranking soldiers have received very little mail and some, no mail at all since they have been there! That bothered Mike and he asked me to get the word out to you to help.

Nichelle's mom sent us a list of soldiers who could use a note or a card from you. There are many names on this list, too many to be forgotten. We won't let that happen, right?

Think for a moment. Why are they not receiving mail? Maybe it is because they have no one to write to them. That is very sad. Well they do now, right?

I know things are tight biscuit wise, but may I ask you spare a few crumbs for a postcard and stamp that would bring a smile to these soldiers' faces?

For all those rescue groups that asked for our help, well now I am asking for yours on behalf of these heroes. Would you networking with your volunteers to mail some cards and letters to these troops? That could be a win-win situation. You bring some cheer to these troops now and in turn, they may network for you when they come home. You never know how a simple act of kindness and snowball back to you. You know there is a natural bond between GIs and dogs.

All of the soldiers are E-4 or below (lower ranking) and will be Iraq until 1 March 2007. Please e-mail me privately for a list of names. For security reasons, I am not posting their names on this web site.


On behalf of them, I thank you. If you want to thank Nichelle, please send thank-yous by e-mail to me and I will pass it on to her Mom.

Lakota tells me that there is more snow in the mountains. It is getting cooler and which makes me frisky. Every morning I bark at Mike to hurry and finish his chores so I can lead him back to the garage for a treat. I guess I start prancing around and jumping in circles because he told me I was acting like a young pup. The girls join in and we all dance around Mike encouraging him to finish. However, I bet very serious when he gives me the "Hike Hike" command and I race the other dogs back to the garage. You know who wins, don't you?

Please do not forget our troops. They are there for us and we need to be there for them

Take care

Rivers

Friday, September 15, 2006

Abby Update 9-15-06

Hi Gang, Rivers here.

I received the following e-mail from Tammie who is the a volunteer with Northern Lights Sled Dog Rescue. Tammie receives her updates from Ann who is the "foster mom" for Abby. While her thanks are directed at Mike and I, you all deserve the thanks for helping and caring about these dogs.

Take care and thank you
Rivers

9-14-06: Abby's lenses somehow moved from her condition being neglected originally and are not where they should be. This is the cause of her blindness. She had extreme pressure from the glaucoma as well and her eyes were going to have to be removed. However, we have a great holistic person in the Chicago area named Michael Durkin and he was able to provide supplements that have reduced the pressure so significantly that there will probably be no need to remove her eyes. She will be blind, but the surgery appears to be a thing of the past at this time.

There is a lot to be said for Eastern medicine. He has reversed kidney failure on one of my Huskies and has helped a couple beat cancer as well. I have seen some pretty amazing cures that were not thought possible by traditional doctors and Abbey was one of the lucky ones. It is a shame that her lenses had shifted and that is what damaged the eye sight. Had it strictly been the glaucoma, she may have had a chance at a cure.

We have a very pretty and happy Abbey just waiting to find her forever home. I know there is a heart waiting for her somewhere.

Thank you two for your constant concern and support of rescue and the animals in need.
Blessings to both of you for caring.
Tammie
Northern Lights Sled Dog Rescue
Volunteer

Tyrone: Updated - 9-16-06

Hi Gang, Rivers here.

These are e-mails from Bobbie of the Echo Dog White GSD Rescue and Dachshund Rescue.

9-16-06: At present Tyrone is going to the vet on Monday for shots and HW testing, if he is in condition, also to be neutered. And the vet will do some evaluation check him out. He will be there a few days then if we do not have a legitimate rescue, we will either board him or bring him to Michigan to Pamm's.

Thank you so much for posting his needs. Will update you in a few days when we know more. - Bobbie

9-15-06: We have someone pulling him and he will go to a vet nearby for evaluation shots and if he is able to be neutered. This will buy us a few days. Then we will either board him or he will go to Pamm's until we find the right place for him or rescue.
Thanks and I will keep you posted.
- Bobbie

9-14-06: Thank you so much. This dog is going to be saved no matter what it takes. He is not going to be the only one left behind. My friend Pamm in Mi and I are working on him too but even if she is able to board him we do need a rescue. Thanks again - Bobbie

I want to bark "thank you" to those of you who got involved, and e-mailed us with support and ideas.

Take care

Rivers

Blind Dog Name Tyrone Needs Help

Hi Gang, Rivers here

I just received an urgent e-mail from Julie Hoffman, Founder/Director,
Northern Lights Sled Dog Rescue (they rescued Abby) about a blind husky in a shelter in Northern Ohio. Julie received her info from another rescue outfit.

If you want help, please contact July directly at
KatyLied2@aol.com, or Bobby at baspi@buckeye-express.com. Bobby is part of Echo Dog White GSD Rescue and Dachshund Rescue

I am not sure what our group can or should do in matters such as these. Mike does not have the time to do rescues the way he feels they need to be done, so he is leaving it up to you. He asks that if you or someone you know in the Northerwestern Ohio area that might be able to help, please contact either Bobbie or Julie and see what needs to be done.

The dog is a male and is named Tyrone. He is in a shelter apparently part of a group of dogs that were confiscated due to neglect. The other dogs have been adopted out. Unofficial diagnosis is that he has 2 detached retinas. Again, this observation is from a non vet. But the dogs is blind; apparently not in any pain. The shelter warden thinks Tyrone is 5.. Apparently, Tyrone gets alone well with other dogs and is very is a very nice dog.

Please cross post and energize your personal networks. Any contacts to either Kathy or Bobby should reference the Rivers News group so that they understand your inquiry is legitimate.

Take care and thank you
Rivers

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Rivers News 9-3-2006

Hi gang Rivers here,

Well, the rain has returned but not before Mike got a chance to do many chores around our homestead. He has been off for the last few days. Mary and Mike have been working very hard to get the homestead ready for the winter. It has been a
very cool and sometimes, wet summer. The fireweed is almost gone to seed, so winter could be just around the corner.

Now, according to local Indian lore, when the fireweed starts to go to seed, winter is very near. As I reported in my last newsletter, we have snow in the mountains. Mike was telling me that when he first came to Alaska in 1985, there was snow in the mountains by mid-August. However, since then, he told me, the snow comes to the mountains later and later each year. He was very surprised to see it early year.

Our friend Pat from Texas came to visit. Pat runs a travel agency and tour business for senior citizens. Pat has been a long time “Rivers fan” and this was the first time she was able to meet my kennel mates and me. From what the girls were barking to me, Pat took a bunch of pictures. I hope they all come out. Pat was up here to check out places and activities that she can promote for tours to Alaska and other places worldwide.

We found a really cool web site dealing with dog sledding.
Now I am sure you have your own favorite mushing, dog racing and sled dog web sites, but check out
http://www.sleddoggin.com/. I bet it will become one of your favorite sites. The site is called “Sled Doggin’” I am not sure if they have a guestbook or not, but if they do, tell them that Rivers sent you. Hey Ms. Tails, check out the dog sitter link!

Our good friend, the Georgia Sky Queen came to visit us and Mary took her to the fair. We will talk more about the fair later. It is always good to see our good friend Sky Queen. While she always brings treats for us, Mary told us that Sky Queen brings treats for Mike and Mary also. Besides great treats, Sky Queen gives us plenty of ear and tummy rubs. You know we enjoy that. Even Lakota will come out and visit with her, and you know that Lakota is not only shy, but also very selective whom he lets into his doghouse.

The fair. For those are you may not know it, Alaska has a state fair that normally runs the last two weeks of August and ends on Labor Day. There has been a bitter controversy this year because the school districts started school two weeks early. That means the kids cannot go to the fair until after school is out. Many of the kids have livestock, crafts, vegetable, and baked goods they exhibit as part of their adventures with 4 H and other programs of that nature. Another problem was that high school students usually work at the fair to make extra money. This year fair was only 11 days instead of the normal 14 to 17.

The weather has not been very nice, either it has been very rainy and cool. However, the day that Mike and Mary went to the fair, it was dry, but overcast. We really do not mind them going to the fair and leaving us in the kennel because Mike gives us special treats before they go.

When Mike came home from the fair, Icy (Christmas in our books) became very excite as she was stiff him. She barked that Mike had different smells on him. I went over and sniffed him and so did Lakota. We were not sure what Mike smelled like. He started to laugh and said that we must have smelled the goats, pigs, cows, steers, and chickens that he petted at the fair. Now considering that Mike is a city kid from New York City, he told me it is very excited seeing all the livestock.

One farmer told Mike that his cows give between 12 to 15 gallons of milk a day and the cows are very gentle. Mike did not know that. Mike asked the farmer if he sells all that milk. The farmer told Mike that the milk he does not sell becomes cheese and cheese curds. Now, I am not sure what cheese curds are. Mike said they are delicious. Mike told us about is a place at the fair where cheese curds are deep fat fried. Now I do not know if that is true because Mike never brings home any samples.

Sky got into little bit of trouble today. As I barked, it has been raining and Mike took Sky out with him in the front yard to check something. Now, Sky is normally very obedient and a smart dog, but today she saw a stray cat. Sky chased the down into our lower lot. Sky did not come back on Mike’s command. We all heard Mike call Sky many times, as we loafed nice and cozy in the garage. I have not been down in the lower for while, but Lakota has. He told me that the lower lot is overgrown with Devil’s Club, tall grass and many trees. The trees are full of leaves and some branches are crowding the trail. You cannot see too far. Since this is the power line trail, Mike does not do too much grooming down there. I know Mike went down to the lower lot after Sky, and I am sure he did not find her because of all the overgrowth.

I really do not think Sky realizes the dangers of stray cat chasing. As you know, cats will instinctively climb trees because they know dogs cannot climb trees. However, sky corned the cat and the cat decided to fight, Sky might have been in big trouble if the cat still had his front claws. Cats, with claws go for a dog eyes and nose. Nevertheless, all is well that ends well, and apparently Sky doubled back behind Mike and ended up on the upper lot, while Mike was still in the lower lot. Sky did not realize that Mike was a little upset with her for running off. She started to play hide and seek again with him. That is when I heard his voice go into that tone that we will know means, "and you are a very bad dog.” I am sure that once Sky heard that tone she made a mad dash to the kennel gate before Mike got there.

When Mike brought Sky into the garage, she received a good scolding, not only from Mike but also from a Momma Icy.

Because of Sky’s game playing, Mike did not finish the project he started in the front yard, so he took Lakota out with him. Now Lakota is one happy camper when he gets to go to the front yard. Lakota told me that he likes to run at Mike then darts a way at the last moment. Lakota barked to me that sometimes Mike chases him, running one-way and then the other way when he plays with Lakota.

I told Lakota that he is acting like a young dog and not the 13-year-old dog he is. Lakota replied, “Well you know, Rivers, I had that cancerous kidney removed and it made me think. I do not know when I will be crossing the Rainbow Bridge. I decided to live every day as if I will cross that bridge tomorrow.”

I had to think about what he was saying. The more I thought about it, the more I realize how right Lakota was. I am very happy that Lakota is feeling well and having so much fun playing with Mike. As you can tell, Lakota is doing great.

Mike is trying to put together a schedule of guest appearances, teacher conferences, and presentations for the winter months and through Iditarod time 2007. If you are interested, please contact Mike as soon as you can. When Mike and I visit, we enjoy showing our sled, telling stories, and talking about some of our mushing equipment. Make plays the “Blind Dog” game with the some of the students and of course enjoys autographing the books we at these events. Mike still works his day job and therefore needs to take vacation time to do this if you want us to visit during the week.

If you are store that sells all books, thank you very much, we really appreciate it. We are more than than happy to visit your store and promote our books. Again, if you are interested, please e-mail us privately. Of course, these visits can only be in Anchorage or the Mat-Su area.

Last year we had to refuse visits to several facilities due to scheduling conflicts because people waiting to last minute to see if we could make it. As I barked above, Mike, needs to plan out vacation time to do this and it is only fair that he gives his supervisor as much notice as possible for time off

Stormy has become very proficient on the computer and she found something that may interest you. It is clone of the Acrobat Reader program. If you use the Reader, you know it only allows you to read documents saved in the Acrobat format. What happens if this document is a form you have to fill it out and designer did not design it so you could just fill in the blocks? You have to download it, print it, and enter the information by paw. Stormy found this great software that is free and allows you to, not only opened and read Acrobat files, but also type into them if you need to fill them out.

The software is Foxit Reader and you can find it at
http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php. When you get a chance, please check it out. The freebie version allows you to type on to the document but not save the document with your typed changes. To do that, you have to buy the Pro version, which may be a good idea if you fill out many of these forms...

Now Mike did hear from Lt., excuse me, Captain Tony. He told Mike they are doing OK. They are doing their job and waiting to come home from Bagdad. Captain Tony told Mike that several of the people from his unit were already home or on airplanes to come home when the decision was made to extend their tour in Iraq. Some people had orders to go to other places in the United States. That meant they sold homes and started to get ready to move but those plans had to be changed because of the extension. Mike told me those kind decisions, while devastating to military families, is par for the course if you are in the military. Please do not forget out troops.

I forgot to bark that while Mary and Judy were at the fair, Mike was doing a book signing at the Saturday Market in Anchorage. Mike told me that he met Dr. Jim and Dr. Jane at the market. With them was a beautiful golden retriever dog. Dr. Jim told Mike that the dog (whose name Mike did not hear), takes Dr. Jim skiing, which is something like us taking Mike mushing. Mike told me that Dr. Jim and Dr. Jane are doing well. They just did a clinic in Fairbanks and did some work at the Alaska Zoo. They do some amazing stuff.

Well it is starting to rain again so I guess I might as well go back to one of my favorite pastimes, napping. Oh, I almost forgot. Many of you asked about the flooding that we had in the Valley. While it was devastating in many places, we are okay. Mike told me of some pictures he saw that some of his associates took of their damaged properties. It was unbelievable how much power those normally tranquil streams and rivers can generate once there is too much rain or snow
melting in the mountains.

Here is a picture of Tundra (Tunny)

I had better go. I understand our buddy Keith is coming by.

Take care,
Rivers


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Rivers News 6/25/2006

Hi gang, Rivers here.

We were all camped out in the garage with Mike and Mary enjoying lazy Sunday afternoon. We were watching “Due South”. Well, I was not watching, but I was listening when all of a sudden there was a loud boom of thunder and I heard Tundra bark. She told me that she was barking at a flash of lightning that hit very close to the house. I heard the rain and then hail fall from the sky.

I heard Mike put some rain gear on and then went outside to check. He took Lakota with him. When they returned, Lakota told us that they checked the property but there was no damage. There were no trees down or damage to Mary’s flowers. Even the corn in our garden survived the rain, hail and wind. Mike was making comment about watering the lawn this week. Guess he does not have to do that now after that cloudburst I heard we just had.

The girls never experienced anything like that before and they were sure yapping about it. That made it really hard for me to get my PM nap!

Since the Iditarod picnic was last Saturday, yesterday, many of our friends from outside Alaska were visiting. Our good friend Pat brought two of her friends, George and Mary with her and they, with our Mary, have been doing some sightseeing the last few days. While Pat has been to Alaska several times, George and Mary have not and our Mary has been playing tour guide.

They all went to the picnic but Mike did not. He had to work the Anchorage Saturday Market with his publisher. Mike told me he had a fun time in Anchorage and met a lot of nice people. Several that he meet had purchased our first book and were unaware of the second, or this newsletter, or the web site, or Blog. So they were very happy to find out all of that good info.

Our good friend Sky Queen from GA came a visiting and brought us some treats and Mike some Vidalia onions. I am not too high on onions but these smell super. Mary scrambled some of them into some eggs this morning and they sure smelled great. Nope, we had our pig ears and left the eggs to Mary and Mike.

Several of our friends dropped by our home on Friday PM and Mary fried up some halibut in the garage. Our good friend BEA came by with her friend and co-ITC comms volunteer, Andi. Keith dropped by to give us an update on his quest to run the 2008 Iditarod. Pat, Mary and George also came by. So did June P. and Donna Q.

Donna was very happy because she just closed a deal on some property up north. She gave Mike a book about grilling steak made me drool as Mike read some of the recipes to us. Unfortunately, Mike is not permitted to cook until he retires! I guess that is a deal he has with Mary. I think I heard them talking about Mike brings the bacon home and Mary cooks it! All of our friends spent some time in the garage with us and we had fun partying with them. Even Stormy, who is normally very shy, was letting Donna pet her and took some treats from her.

Speaking of Stormy, she had her own adventure last week. Mike and Mary made
their annual trip to Seward and took Stormy with them. This was first time that Storm ever traveled so far with Mike and Mary. She had a big travel crate and pillow in the back of the truck so she could move around a bit and look out the windows.

Stormy told us that the weather was colder when they stopped for a potty break in Turnagain pass and it was rainy in Seward. Mike walked her up and down the harbor trail by the beach several times and she said there were all kinds of new and interesting smells there. Mike took her to the Japanese friendship pagoda where some of Aunt Sandy’s ashes are spread. Stormy said she felt the peacefulness of the spot. Even the birds sounded different, she said. She told us that there were seagulls screeching all over the place. Seagulls do not come by our home since we are not near the water.

On the way home they all stopped at a place called Portage and got some chow. Mike walked Stormy just around the lodge and ran into some steaming bear scat. That means there was a bear near by. Stormy told us she was a scared, but stayed on alert to warn Mike if she heard or smelled the bear close by. Good girl, doing what a Husky is suppose to do, take care of her musher. While she had a great time, she was glad to get home.

Mike got a chance to check out his new presentation at the Iditarod Teachers Conference last Friday. He has one that he does called “Young Writers Workshop” and another he does about sleds, dogs, mushing and how it is for me to be blind. He normally does that for the schools. Some times I go with him.

The new one is called, “Life with a Blind Dog”. Too bad I cannot see it, but BEA has and she told me that Mike did a good job talking to the teachers about how his life with me has changed not only his life but the lives of a lot of other people also. BEA said that the teachers really enjoyed it. I did not know Mike likes to talk about me. BEA told me that the presentation has a lot of great pictures of me. Hmm, maybe they will invite him back to next year to do the Spring and Summer Iditarod Teacher’s conferences.

Mike and I had a chance to talk about this and I was dumfounded that my story has helped so many people. I guess many people have told Mike that and he decided my story would make a great presentation that could help others. Gee, kind of humbling for a simple tail waggin’ country dog. Mike also mentioned that he was going to use one of the photos on the cover of Book 2 once we do a reprint. It seems that the covers of Book 1 and 2 are too similar and people don’t realize there are two different books. Another photo of me will be used on Book 3, which Mike hopes to finish and have out by August 2008. Yes, he realizes that it will be nearly 5 years between Book 2 and 3 but his work scheduled changed and he does not travel as much anymore, so he has little free time to write. Mike told me a little bit about what he has in mind for Book 3 and, well I guess you are going to have to wait for it just like me.

Wow did I bark a lot in this one! All of this barking makes me tired so once I eat some chow, it is naptime. Yes, the life of a retired racing sled dog, Eat, sleep bark and collect ear rubs!

Take care

Rivers


PS. Lakota says hi and is doing very well. He thanks all of your for the prayers and good wishes you sent his was after his operation and his bout with kidney cancer!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Rivers News 3-14-2006

Hi Gang, Rivers Here,

We want to thank all of our friends that came by and gave us or sent us treats. A special thank to some of our Indianan friends, Jet, Roshi and Brew. Thanks gang!

Well as many of you know, Abraham the blind senior Husky in Indiana actually was an Abbey and Northern Lights Sled Dog Rescue took her for fostering into a home after her medical checkup. It looks like she may need to have the same operation I had to become Pain free. However, let us hope that Abbey is her way to a happy ending. Abbey’s picture is up at
http://search.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=5906765

Mike has contacted Northern Lights to obtain information about donations specifically for Abbey by other than PayPal. If you are interested in this information, please e-mail us privately.

The open house was super. I lost count of how many people stopped by. I had “ERO” (Ear Rub Overload) which probably accounts for why I lost track of who showed up.

Pennsylvania Pat and her crew stopped by with some Pet Angel tags for our collars. I hope the picture Mike took shows up well. Stormy says the dog image on the tag look a bit her Aunt Sandy.

Another friend has a great gizmo that Mike took a picture of.
It is an eyeglass holder. Mike said it was pretty cool. Here is a picture of that plus some words from Karen. “Each Pin "LOCKS" the reading glasses or sunglasses in place when not in use so one never has to ask, "Now WHAT did I do with my glasses???". They all are guaranteed against breakage; which means, if the circle or portion that pins to the garment breaks or if any portion of the Pin itself breaks, the customer returns the main portion of the design to the company for a free replacement. It is inexpensive and has multiple uses, besides keeping track of glasses.” Contact Karen at salchlorhi@juno.com.

Here are some pictures of the cake that Mary purchased for the Open House. Lakota told me all about it and it made me drool.

At the get together, our friend Keith announced that he was considering running the 2008 Iditarod. He said that He would be working with Lynda Plettner. Way to go Keith.



Barking of running the Iditarod, I hope Keith reads Paul Ellering’s “Wrestling the Iditarod.” Mike told me that it is excellent book of one man’s insight as to how to make it to Nome behind a 16-dog team. Mike said he highly recommends the book for anyone looking for a good fast informative and entertaining read about what it takes to run this race. Mike does not read any other books except computer technical stuff while working on our books (yes he is working on Rivers Book 3). Therefore, for Mike to break his routine means that Paul’s book is something special. Check out Paul’s site at http://www.paulellering.com/ .

Sky Queen from GA came up for a full week and spent time with us. She always brings us treats and stuffed toys for Tundra and tennis balls for the rest of us. Icy (Christmas in our books) told me that Sky Queen gave Mary a nice a gardener’s bag and Mike the first 3 season of “Due South.” We started to what the show in the garage and they are cool. Well I did not watch but Stormy was doing great job of telling me what was on the TV.

There were so many visitors that I really lost count. I know they really enjoyed themselves as we did. Well, Lakota and I did, the girls stayed outside and barked at everyone. Too bad they have not learned not to bark at our friends. They sure missed a lot of great treats and ear rubs.

Take care

Rivers

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Rivers News 2-18-06

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

Well yesterday, Friday, had a cool adventure for me. One of my eye sockets was tearing a lot lately and Mike decided that I should go see Dr. Jim. So, Mike took what he calls a “Comfort Day” off from work and made an appointment for me to go yesterday. However, Mike was called for job interview yesterday so what should have been a fast run into town to see Dr. Jim, turned out to be an all-day event. Now, I really did not mind because I get to ride in the back of the truck in a nice comfortable travel crate, with a padded floor. Now, that is a lot better than riding in a dog truck to mushing sites.

Moreover, I am going to visit Dr. Jim. Since no one told the rest of the dogs what was happening, Lakota and girls were curious as to where I was going when we left.

It was a nice day to be outside, so I did not feel bad that my buddies were going to be in the kennel all day. Now, Sky and Stormy are having a bit of a problem. I am not too sure what is causing the problem, but Sky has been picking on Stormy. Stormy is smaller than Sky so she does not fare too well. Stormy may be causing some of it because she likes to play jump at us and sometimes that does not go over well. Therefore, since I was going to be gone all day, Mike put Stormy into my kennel, which I share with her anyway. The other dogs were in the bigger kennel

Well it turns out that I have a small ulcer in my eye cavity that was causing all of the tearing. So, Dr. Jim gave me a local anesthetic and cleaned up the eye cavity. He also gave Mike and Mary some medication for them to put onto the artificial eye to help heal. Now, if you have been keeping track of my adventures, you will know that after I had my eye surgery I gave Mike and Mary a lot of trouble when they try to get my eye medication in. Well, at that time I was in a strange place which people I did not know. I really was not sure what they were doing. But now, after living with them for nearly 5 years, I know that they are only trying to help me heal. When Mike told me to sit, I sat so he could open my eyelids very gently so Mary could squirt the medication in it. I did not fight with them. In fact, the medicine felt pretty darn good. You know, sometimes these humans are really good at taking great care of us pooches.

I hope you like the pictures. Mike told me there are pictures of us
in the clinic and others taken outside by the trees. Well the tree shows had to wait until after the trees and I became “good friends.” Dr. Jane joined us and I believe that there is a picture of her with Dr. Jim and me.

After the picture session and when Dr. Jim finished with my eye cavity, Mike might put me back into the truck and I head him and Mary talk about going to McDonald's for lunch. That made me very excited because I know that when they go to McDonald's I get freedom fries (Mike refuses to call them French fries!). There is only one thing I like better than McDonald's fries. Do you know what that is? Hamburgers! Now I would bet you thought frankfurters or hot dogs. Well at one-time you would be right, but my tastes have “grown up” and I love hamburgers. So, when Mary said she was going to throw in a hamburger with my fries because I was really good at Dr. Jim's clinic, I got really excited.

Unfortunately, it was not in the cards for me to have fries and a hamburger. It seems that the McDonald's that Mike and Mary always went to when they lived in Anchorage was closed for remodeling. Bummer!!

Mike and Mary had one more stop to make before we headed back to our home. They made that and before long, we were back on the road. Unless there are other dogs traveling with me, I tend is take naps when I travel in the back of trucks. I mean I cannot look out the window, can I? Therefore, there is really nothing to interest me. If Lakota was with me, we would talk and trade trails stories. However, he was back in the kennel, loafing in his is big doghouse, watching the world go by.

When we got home, the girls were all questions about where I went, what I did and what I ate. I smiled and told them nothing! It was my day with Mike and Mary. I visited my good friend Dr. Jim and met his associate Dr. Jane. For your information, Dr. Jim, is the doctor that made be pain-free, the same Dr. Jim that makes cameo appearances in our books and Christmas stories.

Well, that is about it for my adventure yesterday. As for Mike's interview, he said he felt he did well. He gave it his best shot so only time will tell. He told me it is a job that he would really like to and felt he could do well. He also would be able to help many people. All that is good for all those people who would benefit from them hire Mike. What interested me was that he told me he would be 6 miles and 20 minutes closer to home. You know what that means? We would get 20 extra minutes of the ear rubs each day!

Outside of yesterday's adventure, it has been somewhat quiet around here at the Howlin’ Rivers Home. The temperatures are in the high 30s which means that there is no more snow or very little of it. It is still a bit icy on the trails. If there is no ice then there is mud, rocks and dirt, which means poor trail conditions. As of right now, nobody knows where the Iditarod will restart. From what Lakota told me, Wasilla looks like “break up.” If that is true and we do not get a lot of snow shortly, the restart may be in Willow.

We have not heard much from Lt. Tony and his team in Iraq. I know he is very busy and I do hope that you will continue to send all those in the war zone your prayers and best wishes. Please do not forget the cards and notes. They do wonders for our military personnel who are a way from home.

Something smells very good. Wait a minute, it is time for chow. Smells like Mary is cooking up something special for us tonight. Now I know you would not what me to miss my chow time, would ya?

Take care
Rivers

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Rivers News 1-29-06

Hi gang, Rivers here,

Well it has been bitter cold here at the Howlin’ Rivers home for the last week is so. Friday, we had another dusting of snow. However, it was that very fine stuff which blows away quickly.

Lakota is doing fine. Mike says he looks like he is gaining weight. He is actually getting some tummy fur back from what I understand. Mike and Mary do not keep him out too long because the bitter cold temperatures can give Lakota frostbite very quickly. He does not have enough tummy fur to protect him.

We received new collars this week and I here is a picture of Icy and one of me wearing them. The collars are blue with reflective material on them. Very classy from what I am told and very high quality. Mike ordered the collars from Howling Dog Alaska (Howling Dog Enterprises LLC). They web site is located at
www.howlingdogalaska.com. Their e-mail address is jinolke@gci.net Jim and Ivana will be more than happy to answer your questions regarding their very nice merchandise.


The first thing I wish to “bark” at you about is an outstanding DVD about Karen Ramstead. As many of you know, Karen is a very seasoned musher and Iditarod veteran, who runs beautiful but very race competitive Siberian Huskies. I think Mike is including a picture of one of the Huskies named Grover who is featured on the DVD jacket. The DVD was produced by our good friend Donna Q who is a three-time Emmy winner for her camera work on various primetime TV shows. Of course, being blind, I do not get a chance to watch much TV. However, Lakota and the girls do and they tell me what is going on. From what Icy says, and she is our resident movie critic, this is one good DVD and if you are a collector of Iditarod goodies, you really need to add this to your collection. Please contact Donna at
www.huskyproductions.net for more information about this great DVD. And while you are at it, how about checking out Karen’s web site at www.northwapiti.com.

A while back, I mentioned that Mike gave Mary a unique Christmas gift and that it is in the garage. Unfortunately, none of you who submitted guesses guessed correctly. It was brought to my attention that I never told you what the gift was. Mary spends a lot of time in the garage working on how various projects. She asked Mike for a TV for the garage so she could listen to the news and favorite shows while she works on her projects.

So Mike brought her a TV set, complete with a DVD player and VHS tape player. Now this is very cool because we spend time in the garage keeping Lakota’s company while he gets better from his surgery and run-in with cancer. And, since Mary likes our company, we get to watch TV with her! Well, I get to listen and the girls and Lakota get to watch, but they tell me everything.

You may all think that all of this TV watching and loafing in the garage is making us couch potato dogs and you are probably right. Lakota and I are retired, Icy does not mush at all, and her girls do not know what they want to be, even though they are inclined to be rabbit chasers for some reason. Well, Sky and Stormy are the rabbit chasers, Tundra prefers chasing tennis balls. However, to make sure that we will stay on track with our good husky heritage, Mary plays “Snow Dogs” quite often.

Needless to say, we are having a lot of fun with this and I am sure that once the warm weather comes and we go outside, our TV days will be suspended until next winter. Icy told me she has found a new calling in life. She wants to be a film critic. Icy asked me if she could do a move review about a movie she just watched with Mary. Sounds good to me but I must warn you that you will probably read reviews on "chick flicks


Okay Icy, it is all yours.

Hi. Mary received a great flick called "Must Love Dogs" as a Christmas present. It is a cute story about two middle-aged divorcees who are looking for new companions in life. There are several very good dog charactes that really make this flick a winner. Now I do not know anything about the dating game, you know we dogs do not date, but this film was very funny. There are a lot of ups and downs in it so it does not get boring. A good family story because it shows how family stick together. I give it a three paw rating. Take care to next time, Icy.

Rivers here again. Well there you go, you have Icy’s review of that movie. I guess I better warn you that when Caitlyn comes over Caitlyn selects movies for her and the dogs to watch in the garage also. So do not be surprised if Icy does a review of "Steward Little”

Please do not forget that if you are going to be in the area for the Iditarod, which starts in Anchorage on March 4, we are having an open house on Sunday, March 5 from 11 to 6 p.m. We asked that if you are going to visit us to please let us know so that we can send you directions and get an idea how many biscuits we need to get for our visitors and guests.

There has not been much news from Lt. Tony and his team in Iraq. As soon as we hear something, we will pass it on to you. Please keep your cards and notes going to those military personnel serving in the war zones. Your kindness means a lot to them.

Take care
Rivers

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Rivers News 01-01-2006

Hi Gang, Rivers here,

First of all, the gang and I want to wish you a very Happy New Year and sincerely hope that 2006 brings you all of the joy, love, prosperity, and happiness you truly deserve.

We celebrated a very quite New Year’s Eve watching “Northern Exposure” episodes with Mike and Mary, while begging for some of the pop corn they ate.

Mike and I traveled to ITC HQ to meet Tammy and her daughter Ally yesterday afternoon. We signed copies of our books for them and I “walked” Ally all over the parking lot. I heard her giggle so I guess she did not mind playing “lead dog”.

The Lakota update. Lakota asked me to thank you for all of the cards and e-mail he received wishing him a speedy recovery.

Mike told us that the lab result came back last Friday and the tumor was malignant. However, Lakota’s vet said that the lab result indicated it to be a very low grade cancer. He also said that the position of the tumor, as it was attached to the kidney, might have reduced the chance of it spreading. The chest x-ray was clear and the vet said he did not notice any other tumors in Lakota when they did the surgery. The vet wants Lakota to regain some of the weight he lost, then take a wait, and see attitude. He did mention that this type of cancer does not respond well to chemotherapy. Lakota weighted 87 pounds last March and was 72 when Mike took him in for surgery the Wednesday before Christmas. The tumor was 3 to 4 pounds. So Lakota probable weighed 68 pounds after surgery. Our goal is to get him to 75 -80 pounds.

Now Mike and Lakota talked about this, but I was not privilege to their conversation. What I do know is that Lakota has a great attitude, eating very well and is very active for a dog that just underwent kidney surgery 11 days ago. He is very playful and dances around the garage waiting for chow when he knows Mary is getting ready to feed us.

Lakota and I have not talked about this. I do know that those of you who have met him consider him a shy dog. However, I know he is a fighter and he told me he would overcome this challenge. I believe him. From what Lakota told me, he will have his stitches removed Tuesday Jan 3 and get a weight check. His normal yearly check up is in March so he will get another weight check then. Hopefully, there will be a weight gain. His fur should all be grown back in by August.

Moving on. Mike received an e-mail from Lt. Tony in Iraq. He asked Mike to pass on his heartfelt thanks to all of you. Lt Tony told Mike he received a package from the Comms Company that was filled with calling cards. There were so many that Lt Tony was able to give some to other needy soldiers that he knows but are not in his group. Lt Tony thinks that one of you, in the Rivers Group, arranged this. Well, who ever you are, you made a lot of soldiers’ tour of duty a bit easier. Thank you.

Time to go.

Take care