Ten years ago..

Ten years now.. Baby was an amazing husky. Stubborn and very strong minded, and I loved her more than anything else.. So, this is how I started my career with the siberian huskies. Trying to be even more stubborn and even more strong minded. Baby taught me well, you know.. And we had so much fun.

~Always loved, never forgotten~

Me and my My

When you lift your head towards me
I look deep into your brown eyes
You tell me the tale of your life

We share year of birth
Into the sleddog life
You, already prepared and wise
Me, having a lot to learn

You ran so many miles
Your wisdom is far beyond mine
Yet, when I look into your eyes
You beg me only to love you

Your small and vigorous body
The thick fur covering you
Protecting you from all weather
And still you choose to walk by my side
Me, a bare human
who would never survive on her own

I love to feel you body in my arms
The feeling of you, slowly starting to relax
The feeling of your muscles unbending
Your trust on me slowly growing

Will you run for me?
Will you give me the favour
of watching you work?
Watching you small, yet so strong
body striving forward through the snow

I will enjoy every second of it

I will enjoy every second of you

My

 

Nobodys business but your own

Kite spending her summer vacations on digging..

Summer.. This wonderful time of recovery and recreation. It’s soon over..

Normally, this time of the year, I’m hungering for training. The planning of next season is of course already there and I’ve started to prepare the dogs for the swimming periods. This year? This year I haven’t done anything of it.

Competing with dogs, there is a lot of pressure on you. Not only from the surroundings; sponsors, friends and competitors. But also from the dogs, who are highly energic and have their need for regular exercise.

Competing dogs also need their amount of rest in summer. Photo by Jocke Isaksson.

Now honestly, anyone can get burned out from that.

The first signs would be lack of energy, lack of inspiration. Unfortunately, that is rarely an excuse for slowing down. Rather a sign to push yourself even harder.. Now I’m gonna tell you otherwise;

Don’t. Just don’t.

Actually, I’m giving these wise words not only to you, but to myself as well. I’m reminding myself that me, my life and my dogs is my own. The pressure is my own. The path, on which I choose to walk, is my own. And the dogs, with whom I choose to walk, are my closest friends in life.

Packlife is not a part of the competing life. The competing life is part of the packlife.

I need more rest. I’m not prepared to start summer training just yet. Well, we went swimming the other day but only because I really felt like it. And today? Today I feel like escaping under a warm blanket with a good book and a cup of tea. With a dog warming my feet and another one snorling next to me. And therefore, that’s just what me and my competing, hot headed, dogs will do today.

What am I trying to say to myself, really? I pushed myself so hard the past years. Working full time along with training mid-distance dogs – well it was okey the first years. Lack of sleep, food, recovery. But now I realized I really want to live my life with these dogs. My whole life. I want this lifestyle. But on this path, I won’t last long.

Then what is my path? It’s really not easy to answer that. I love training and I love competing. The only thing standing between me and that life, is my lack of routines for recovery. I know for sure: If I don’t find a sollution of that, I won’t last long.

We should learn from our dogs, the secret of finding passion in our everyday life!

When I search deep within myself, I find the answer. I honestly don’t trust my natural drift to strive forward. Somehow, I believe that if I stop pushing myself, I will just lay down in total passivity. I will stop doing things at all. It’s important for me to put words on this. Because actually, I also know that this isn’t true. I know exactly what will happen if I stop pushing myself. I WILL lay down in total passivity. But – I will also soon start to feel inspiration. Drift. Ambition. Passion. Again.

All those feelings that are easily lost when we schedule ourselfes twentyfour-seven.

Come on mama, let’s play!

So, do you have the passion within? Probably! If you let go of all the pressure. Titles. Medals. Schedules. If you hadn’t the passion you wouldn’t be doing this – right? And honestly; if you don’t find the passion? Then stop! Why should you force yourself living a life you don’t wish for?

Now these are the thoughts going through my brain at the moment.. Sitting in front of the fireplace this rainy day. We live a great part of our lifes with the dogs. Yet, we are still humans. We think to much, feel to much, we let our minds control us more than our instincts. Actually, we should learn from our friends, the dogs.

So, will I spend a winter at the fireplace? Probably not. When the heat warmed up my body, I´m recovered and have rested, I will most certainly feel a strong drift to get out there with my best friends. The dogs. And then I will. Because I know that the weakest part in the Yabasta team is me. And if I only mind my own business and make sure I’m in balance, the dogs will always do their best. They will cheer me up. They will run for me. They will give me love, affection, trust.

Now, while writing this post, the fire in the stove went out. The sun is slowly breaking through the thick rainy clouds. And my body’s starting to be restless. Inspiration is back. It’s time to go out and spend time with the furred ones! ❤

Yabasta besöker Hundtränarpodden

För några veckor sedan startade två av mina förebilder; Helene Lindström och Maria Brandel, en podd om hundträning. Båda tjejerna är riktiga nördar som tävlar lydnad framgångsrikt och med stor passion för sina hundar. I tredje avsnittet av podden har de bjudit in mig för att snacka om drag, energiska hundar, träningsupplägg, mentorer och mycket annat!

Här kan du lyssna på avsnittet! 

Du som har frågor efter programmet är välkommen att maila mig på marlene@yabasta.se

The paws of a predator

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I was out with my camera the other day when Kite found her favourite toy. I got a few pictures before sunset and bedtime. Watching them now, afterwards, I find myself really amazed by her paws. Not only are they big, but they also seem to be fully controlled. Every toe is carefully placed in the right spot to keep the toy locked in its place. Then it hits me. I live with a full blooded predator.

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Most people probably never realizes that we live amongst predators. The pet dog is so adaptable it will be happy with life even if treated like a human being. How many of us really cares about the dog – seen as a dog? We have expectations that we often demands them to live up to. Dogs are filling our empty spaces in relations, giving us self-confidence, safety and competition. They are truly amazing, these creatures..

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself..

So, imagine your dog has spent his/hers whole life trying to understand you and your expectations. Then let us take a moment and try to understand your dog!

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Although the dog once survived from hunting, many of our dogs have learned not to. We limit their instincts to running after balls and chase each other while playing. Most dogs accept this substitute of hunting. Their wish to live next to us actually makes them forsake one of their strongest instincts – just to be loved by us. Now the siberian husky won’t do this. When opportunity is given, she will hunt. Can I blame her? Can I blame her for having a survival instinct stronger than her love for me? My answer is no.

But since I chose to live with her, it’s my responsibility to make sure she can satisfy those instincts in a way that is accepted in the human society. Running after balls, of course. But she would probably prefer running in harness. Or lure on birds and mice during rest days. Or dig, jump, climb. The nature is the best playground for the siberian husky.

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I guess most people don’t like dogs growling and/or showing teeth. Me neither. But still, how else would they show their disapproval? Has a dog even got the right to be averse to other dogs – or even to humans? I have been thinking a lot about this. How much is fair to demand from our furred friends? We ask them to live in our human world. They learn to understand our human language better than we understand it ourselves. They learn to live by our human rules. They do it even though these rules actually asks them to set aside their own instincts, languages and natural traits. It is our choice – and our responsibility – to make sure the dog can actually be herself from time to time.

The growling is one of the few very distinct ways for a dog to show disapproval. She asks us to keep our distance, to stay away. She asks other dogs to leave her alone. She even asks people around us to keep out of our properties. The growling can come in handy in our human world. But do we let them use it? This language of theirs? Do we let them communicate their disapproval? Do we let them show their genuine feelings about things?

I probably wouldn’t recommend a relation free from demands. Actually, when I watch my dogs in their relations to each other, I can see how they too have expectations and demands. Some like to be alone. Some wants to play. Other care most for their toys. Their own and precious. They have all different interests and different personalities. My main approach is to let them be individuals, as long as they are polite and don’t harm each other. Just like kids, I guess. And as far as possible, I try to respect a growl.

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I feel like I got a little carried away from the topic I started out with. Sometimes my mind can be like that. It flies away, takes new directions. I really enjoy imagining how life looks like through the eyes of dogs. Actually, I believe this to be one of the keys to success with dogs. My ability as a human, to understand the dog and give her the best opportunity to be herself in our human world – without endangering the safety of other citizens. Both humans and furry ones.

That is not a small assignment. Nor easy. But it is probably one of my most important tasks as a dog owner. To keep the balance, the thin line between the dog as a pet and the dog as a predator. I was the one who decided that Kite and her friends will live with me in the human world. Therefor, it has become my responsibility to figure this out.

Aren’t they amazing, these paws? The paws of a predator..

…and there was nothing.

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Me & Dora

I guess life with dogs is predicted to have ups and downs. There was a time when I let the setbacks affect me really hard. Well, honestly there are still those times. Just not as often. And just not as hard. I don’t know whether my heart hardened or I just learned to live with those kind of feelings. Disappointment, sorrow, broken dreams. Maybe the answer is both. And yet, I still cannot help myself building those dreams again. Over and over. I just can’t let the setbacks stop me. I’m too devoted to hopes and dreams. Still.

Dora was supposed to have pups. She grew just fine until a few weeks ago. I could really see her waist widen, her udders grow. I waited a lot for this week, the seventh week, when I would finally start to see a new shape of the belly. The week passed just fine! Only… The belly didn´t grow.

Sweet Dora

I had no plans for an ultrasound. The visit at the veterinary wouldn’t change the number of puppies anyway. But now, entering the eight week with no obvious signs of pregnancy, I felt like I had to make a decision. A small, hidden, litter could mean trouble when it’s time for giving birth. I needed to be prepared. So we got a time at the vet today.

I had this really strong sense of Dora being pregnant. I don’t know why. I just felt it deep within me. Her chubby way of moving and her tense udders, along with her very worthy and calm manner, must have tricked me. Because there was nothing. Nothing in her belly.

No sign of pups..

The x-ray showed just a normal body of a strong female. Veterinary’s advice was to also make an ultrasound. So we did. Dora’s ovaries were so small, we could hardly distinguish them. Small, thin threads leaping along her back. As soon as the vet pressed her tool towards the belly to see them better, they would conceal themselves among the other contents of Dora’s body. There were a few small signs of something else – two bubbles sized 0,6 cm. Far too small to be puppies in the eighth week.

Somewhere along the way, nature changed its mind.

Sergio spent a long time examining Nitros heart this winter..

I got the question a few weeks ago. Why don´t I breed my own females? Well, the answer is not that simple. I tried to build my kennel for several years. But there was always something. As soon as I considered a female for breeding, adversity would appear. Mostly eye diseases, five times actually, then a suspected deformation of skeleton and now, the last one, a heart murmur.

It’s Nitro.

At Vildmarksracet the specialised sleddog veterinary Sergio Maffi could hear something, a mild anomalous murmur, from Nitros heart. She was approved for running but he recommended me to follow up the murmur with an ultrasound at an experienced veterinary station. And today was the day to do this.

Nitro needs to run..

This left me with a feeling of unease for a very long time. Nitro is a very valuable dog for me, both as my daily input of joy and energy, as well as hard working team member in harness. What can I say.. DynaMitro. Nitro-glycerine. She is not that kind of dog you can leave at home, in the kennel, during training..

The consequences of a heart disease in this kind of dog – well, I’d rather not think about it. There is nothing I want more than to spend my life with my dogs! But not at all costs. I know the passion of each and every dog of mine. Folke needs attention. Turbo needs to be creative. Those kind of fundamental passions that you know your dog needs in order to be happy. And Nitro? Nitro needs to run.

Nitro, my daily source of pure energy..

Besides the worries for the results, I was also concerned about the fact that Nitro often has a hard time being still. Well, a few seconds is sometimes possible. But for this kind of examination, she would need to lay still for almost half an hour. But this ticking bomb of a dog – suddenly she seemed to understand what to do. Maybe she felt the gravity of the situation, my concern and my focus on the black and white screen in front of us. Because except from hiding her small face in my bosom a few times, she was really well behaved.

The examination went on in silence. It felt like my heart beat as fast and hard as I could hear Nitros heartbeats from the monitor. My precious Nitro. We switched sides and the examination continued. The veterinary printed a number of screens from the monitor, measured, listened and counted. I wanted to ask her about everything, wanted her to invite me into the advanced world of heart ultrasound. But I kept my mouth shut, afraid that my questions would interfere with the examination and affect the results. Nitro’s life might depend on them..

Regardless of the amount of time for the examination, I was surprised when the veterinary suddenly broke the silence. “There is no murmur. As you can see here on the screen, there is a small turbulence on the right side, making the sound of a murmur. But this will not affect her as a sleddog.”.

My instant reaction was with humorous relief. Of course. Of course Nitro’s heart would have turbulence. Everything with Nitro is turbulence. I couldn’t help but give up a laughter. Why was I even surprised.. This girl, whos paws spend more time in the air than on the earth. This girl, who could never control her enthusiasm about just everything that is happening around her.

Of course there would be turbulence.

Nitro with her best friend Karma

In the darkest times of setbacks, I asked myself if I would ever be able to have hope again. But those darkest times actually taught me just that. There will always be setbacks. So I might just enjoy every step forward that we get to take. Every small step of ease. So we took this huge step back today. There will be no Yabasta pups this year. Either. But I get to keep Nitro. She will stay here, like the daily source of pure energy that she always is. And I’m truly grateful for that.