I just returned from a mere 35 minutes of walking the dogs; I had to cut it short because not only was my left Achilles tendon aching – I injured it on New Year’s Eve – but it was starting to rain. I have been trying to let that Achilles Tendon heal over the past six days by cutting all exercise; previously I tried to just ignore the ache and push through it but all that did was make it slowly worse until it really ached and I was limping as a result of the pain. My canine companions have been very good given they went seven days with only indoor exercise but the strain on Qanuk in particular was beginning to show. I had hoped they would play with each other more in the house but that hasn’t happened and in retrospect it’s no surprise.
I knew when I added Qanuk to the pack I was bringing a breed in which is the polar opposite of the Alaskan Malamute; I thought perhaps Anana could moderate some of the German Shepherd Dog’s innate urge to be protective and a super watch dog while Qanuk might teach Anana to be at least a bit more concerned about strangers on her property. While the former did take place, and in retrospect too much so, the latter remains a dream. I also brought Qanuk on as a partner for Anana and a playmate and this hasn’t really happened. In hindsight it’s no surprise given how the two breeds view ‘play’. Mals do not play with ‘things’, they play with other beings. German Shepherds will play that way but far and away they play with toys of which a tennis ball is probably their absolute favorite. While Qanuk and Anana may start to mix it up Anana must continually take the lead if they are to play much at all; as soon as she backs off Qanuk grabs his ball and Anana could care less. This means they then look to me to play and now I have two dogs hungering for play of totally different types. I could get Anana to chase a Frisbee when young but only for a few throws; then she wanted to wrestle or just run. Qanuk will chase either a tennis ball or a Frisbee until he drops.
I feel so badly for both dogs as they’ve been so very good regarding the recent lack of exercise; this drove me to take them out today and I’m paying for it already with a very sore Achilles tendon. They cannot understand that their exercise has been limited because the alpha male is hurting; indeed, I’ve seen Qanuk play on even when he’s scraped a pad raw on concrete back in the lower 48. In that same vein I had to regulate his exposure to the cold ground when it was really cold up here – right now that seems like a dream – because he would remain outside far too long and then suffer with very tender paws for the next few hours. I wish I could just ignore the pain and take them on daily long walks but that’s out of the question based on my experience from January 1st through January 7th. Of course today would’ve been short even if I wasn’t nursing an injured Achilles tendon because of the rain.
It’s just unimaginable that it’s never stayed below freezing four out of the previous five days! Even more unimaginable is the forecast which is calling for lows in the 30’s and highs in the mid to upper 40’s through next week!! For Heaven’s sake; as of this point if I’d remained in SE Michigan this winter I’d have seen as much snow and almost as cold temps!! The lowest temp I’ve seen this winter was -24.2 F yet I know SE Michigan saw -19 F a week back and that’s only five degrees warmer than the coldest its been up here. A major reason why I chose Alaska was to experience some truly cold and snowy winters and to escape the little snow and temps in the middle thirties I’d endured for years in SE Michigan; its like that damn weather followed me up here!
I know this is an anomaly and its virtually assured that I’ll see truly cold and snowy winters upcoming but I’m afraid this one’s a lost cause. Historically December and January are the two coldest months in Talkeetna yet there’s only ten days remaining in January and the forecast for almost all of them is way above normal temps and rain. I cannot imagine all the snow melting from the ground in February but if the warm weather continues this will happen. Good grief; when I flew up here in early April of 2013 to locate my home there was over 30 inches of snow on the ground and I saw temps that regularly dropped into the minus teens and often never made the middle teens during the day. However, what can one do..? Ole Mother Nature will do as she sees fit and we’re just along for the ride…