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 Their e-mail address is 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 for more information about this great DVD. And while you are at it, how about checking out Karen’s web site at

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

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