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