A warm and foggy winter, and a litter of rescue puppies

It’s been more than 5 weeks since I last posted – time flies when you’re having fun πŸ™‚ Here’s a bit of a catch-up on what’s going on. Mostly, that’s another litter of rescue puppies that we’re fostering.

I haven’t seen confirmation by the weather office, but I expect that we’re having the warmest winter in Yukon history. The snow in Whitehorse has pretty much all melted away. Although we’re colder than the city and haven’t had above-freezing temperatures nearly as often, there’s only about 4 inches of snow on the ground. While we used to have clear skies and cold temperatures, the warm air has resulted in a fog or low cloud that blankets the valley day after day.

One of the places where the fog has been a problem is the airport, where a few flights have been cancelled. The Royal Canadian Air Force Canadair CC-144C Challenger (CL-604) in the first photo brought Governor General Julie Payette in on her first visit to the Yukon, on November 29.

The Royal Canadian Air Force Canadair CC-144C Challenger (CL-604)
The fog is quite localized, and the Fish Lake Road is a good place to go for a drive to see the sun. The next photo looks back down towards Whitehorse.

Climbing out of the Whitehorse fog on the Fish Lake Road
Fog and sunshine can produce some wonderful effects, like these crepuscular rays (a.k.a god beams).

Crepuscular rays (a.k.a god beams) at Whitehorse, Yukon
The ice on Fish Lake doesn’t seem to be very thick yet, but walking on the shore ice in the sunshine with the dogs was wonderful.

Winter sun at Fish Lake, Yukon
The sun dropped behind the mountains at 3:55. Today, we’re 7 days from the shortest day, and the official sunset is at 3:47.

Winter sunset at Fish Lake, Yukon

I’ve been mentally ready to foster another litter of rescued puppies for a few weeks, and when I saw that YARN (the Yukon Animal Rescue Network) had a litter needing a Whitehorse foster, I offered. I’ve had a new puppy facility in my head for a while, and quickly built it. A roll of 4-foot-high-wire, a sheet of plywood, and a few 2x4s were turned into 80 square feet of indoor space (in my double garage) leading through a door to 100 square feet of outdoor run, and a doghouse with a heated floor. The total cost was about $300.

On December 3rd, 5 puppies arrived – the Fabric litter consisted of Lace, Vinyl, Textile, Rayon, and Suede. Lace had already been adopted and I would just have her until after I took them to the vet for a checkup a couple of days later. In the next photo, Textile is in the back – we thought at first that he might be sick, but he turned out to just be painfully shy.

The Fabric litter of rescue puppies from YARN
Bella has a strong maternal instinct but is even more so a rule-enforcer and a herder. She was happy to meet them with a fence between them πŸ™‚

The Fabric litter of rescue puppies from YARN
Here’s a look at the indoor part of the facility. The doghouse has an electric heating pad in a space below the floor, keeping it cozy.

The Fabric litter of rescue puppies from YARN
I see my job as foster dad to keep the puppies healthy and safe, to socialize them and make them adaptable, and to teach them about love and security. We have several friends who are happy to help with the socializing and love parts. Cathy, in the background, is on crutches for a month due to a knee operation (that went very well).

The Fabric litter of rescue puppies from YARN
Setting boundaries: “Don’t even think about it you little bastard, or I’ll rip your eyes out and eat them!” Oh Molly! She has always had a love/hate relationship with puppies. The puppy is Lace, by far the most adventurous of the litter.

Cat and puppy - who is in charge?
This is Rayon (“Ray”), a very terrier-looking boy. Mom is a Lab cross, but there’s quite a mixture in the puppies. Ray is the puppy whose character developed the quickest.

Rayon, from the Fabric litter of rescue puppies from YARN
Played out πŸ™‚ From left to right, Vinyl, Textile, Rayon, and Suede.

The Fabric litter of rescue puppies from YARN
I have a particular soft spot for puppies who need extra help, and Textile (“Tex”) responded wonderfully to extra time and separate feeding.

Murray with Tex, from the Fabric litter of rescue puppies from YARN
The next two photos were shot during a very busy day! Bella had her paws full trying to herd puppies and teach them the rules, but she sure had fun πŸ™‚ Bella is a rescue herself, saved by Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue in Canmore, Alberta.

My sheltie-cross Bella with rescue puppies

My sheltie-cross Bella
My friend and pet photographer Gerry Steers came over for some play and portrait time, and captured some wonderful images, including this one of Tex and I.

Murray and rescue puppy Tex. Photo by Gerry Steers
Another evening, friends brought their 3 dogs over – all rescues, 2 from YARN, and one a previous foster of ours – and built pizzas to get the party started!

Home=-made pizza
Rosie was a YARN rescue, and now has the life she deserves. She is such a love!

Rosie was a YARN rescue puppy
What a wonderful night, with 9 dogs (all rescues, 7 of them from YARN) playing in the house. Rosie had her first experience with puppies, and was amazing – you’d think she was born to the business of taking care of them.

9 dogs (all rescues, 7 of them from YARN) playing in the house

9 dogs (all rescues, 7 of them from YARN) playing in the house

The puppies were all adopted quickly, and went to their new homes on Friday night and Saturday morning. On Sunday night, though, I got a call that one of the adoptions hadn’t worked out – would I take Rayon (“Ray”) back for a while? Of course I would.

On Monday morning, right after Ray’s return, I took Cathy into Whitehorse for an appointment and did some shooting around the SS Klondike while I was waiting.

Sternwheeler S.S. Klondike on a December morning

Sternwheeler S.S. Klondike on a December morning
Being the only puppy with a couple of adult dogs now, Ray is learning lots of important skills for being part of a strong pack.

Being the only puppy with a couple of adult dogs now, Ray is learning lots of important skills for being part of a strong pack
I got a call on Tuesday asking if I could babysit another former foster dog for 3 days. Heck yes! Klee, mother of my Berry litter of rescue puppies from two years ago, fits right into our family, and is always a pleasure to have here. She immediately took on the job of puppy-protector, spending much of her time at Ray’s kennel door. Ray is a house dog now, learning a new skill-set to help him move on. Ray was housebroken incredibly quickly – he’s one of if not the easiest puppy I’ve had.

Klee guarding rescue puppy Ray
I never tire of watching the interaction, and the rapid development of puppies. Klee plays rough, and I’ve heard a couple of yelps from Ray, but Bella and I keep an eye on them as much as possible (and both of us intervene when needed), and it’s all part of the learning process.

And there we go, all caught up. Well, sort of – there has been a lot more than this going on. I post frequently on my Facebook page – the smaller things that don’t call for a blog post but are important in my life.


A warm and foggy winter, and a litter of rescue puppies — 4 Comments

  1. Murray:
    So pleased to hear Cathy’s surgery went well and hope to notice her increased participation on your blog in the future. Merry Christmas to both of you.

  2. I also was glad to see Cathy’s knee surgery went well. There is nothing as tough as limping around on a bum knee, especially when you are trying to get out and about in your RV. Pretty much everything about that involves climbing up and down, and walking and hiking!

    You and your photo intense blog have very much inspired me photography wise and I am just in the process of camera shopping. Ready to move on from my entry level Canon. Wavering between the new t7i (much improved from my old t3i) vs the 77d. Or the 80d which I believe is the newer model of yours. But apparently it too is now dated with an older digit 6 processor. I think they are expecting the new 90d release next year so should maybe just wait…

    Am very much looking forward to reading about and seeing your adventures in 2019!

    I am hoping to retire next year and hopefully hubby and I will head back up the Alaska Hwy to the Yukon and to see some of Alaska if all goes well in 2019. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to explore some of the areas you have written about.

    Merry Christmas and All the best to you and yours in 2019!

    • Thanks, Yvonne. This is a very tardy response – it’s been a crazy month!

      I’m really happy with my Canon EOS 7D and haven’t kept up with new models at all so can’t make any comments or suggestions there.

      My plans for 2019 have me very excited, and include canoeing to Dawson again, spending 4-5 weeks on the Dempster Highway, and riding to Yellowknife with my son on our motorcycles. I must remember to take my camera πŸ™‚

      I hope that you have a wonderful year as well.