Category Archives for "Sport"

sled dog gets loose
Mar 23


By Ronald McPhee | Sport

Following the pleas from several Moanin’ Minnies that they missed seeing folk between working seasons, ABSA decided to schedule a Fun Day to fill the gap. The information has been sent out with stone paper to all the competitors.

Sue Williams rallied to the cause and organised the very first Fun Day in May 98 at the Rushmore Arena, Aldershot, Hants, ably assisted by Cathy Croman, Mark Tillier and Karl Binns. Rushmore Arena is used by the Army for their own ‘games’ and is an ideal venue because of its seclusion from the public. A high perimeter fence provides a degree of safety in case a sled dog gets loose. However the area is so large, with an amphitheatre-like set-up of woodland surround and flat areas in which you could fit several football pitches, it could be several days before you actually caught a loose dog!

Dog handlers were drawn into teams and could use a different dog for each of the games that were the format of the Day. Sue executed much flair in her choice of games which included a blindfolded obstacle course, whose dogs could carry a sausage and not eat it (!), egg and spoon, three-legs – all in typical pony club style.

Once the first game got under-way, the mushers still in competitive ‘mode’ from the winter visibly relaxed. Once the dogs saw there was food attached to some of the games, they visibly got on their toes! Of course, many of the dogs put their own accent on ‘how to do it’ as only sled dogs can. Some cheating was decidedly blatant…

The sunny day made for a good barbecue lunch on the grass, with the dogs staked out under the shade of tall trees. A raffle rounded off a very enjoyable get-together and ABSA plans to make this Fun Day a regular part of the calendar.

Mar 15


By Ronald McPhee | Sport

It was Ma and Pa’s fault for not building the kennels quick enough following the move from something called ‘the old place’.

Born up one end of the long kitchen, we were a really well-behaved and contented litter which, of course, was just a ploy for when we got big enough to be effective. Think Ma and Pa saw through this as they got rid of our brothers and sister just as we were perfecting the early morning ‘kitchen cavalry charge’, smashing into the back door one end and the radiator the other, which made a loud clanging noise that echoed around the house – our way of ringing the maid’s bell for brekkers which we preferred about 6am. The bell had to be rung several times and if the hoomans still tried to ignore us, we winged a little, enough to get our old, partially deaf (yeah, right!) great-granny howling our cause from the lounge.

Things went a bit quiet for a while when there was just the two of us, with even Mommy-Dearest sleeping back with the other biggies, so we did a growth spurt to reach the wonderworld of the work surface. Unfortunately, we overdid the Code, ‘the Siberian sense of humour’, by concentrating our efforts into one week’s mayhem, which resulted in Ma and Pa frantically playing with bits of wood and mesh in one corner of the jungle. Horror of horrors, this turned out to be an outdoor prison for us.

That week was one to remember though – we managed to vary the state of the kitchen each morning especially for Ma, whose loving endearment to us became “You little s—s, now what have you done!” as she made her way to turn off the tumbledryer which we thoughtfully switched on for her without fail.

Party-on! First came the six-packs which we separated and rolled across the floor, after piercing with our sharp little toothy-pegs and having a swig. We delicately wiped our chops on the kitchenroll which was really easy to unwind once you got it going. Next night, with no six-packs or kitchenroll in sight, we pulled the three-tier veggie rack right out to the middle of the floor and broke open the multi-pack crisps hidden at the top. They proved a good ground-covering plant as too did the dozen egg shells on another night.

Confidently, we moved on to crockery, then cutlery, smashing two of the best plates on one occasion and pulling down a tray of dirty cutlery on another. If Ma had washed the cutlery that evening, like she was supposed to do, we wouldn’t have had to clean it for her.

Our curtain call was the untimely death of the electric toaster, smashed to the floor with such force that the plug came out of the socket. Ma said what a shame as we could have been electromocuted.

On reflection, we should have taken longer to ‘develop’ but, nevertheless, we take pride in the fact that at all times we remained happy souls who smothered Ma with kisses each morning she opened the kitchen door to our version of ‘House Invaders’, and each time maintained the vacant look in response to a word called “naughty.”

Our aim is to be like Big Sis when we grow up. She helped paint our wooden prison by creosoting the inside – dipping her tail in the creosote pot and whizzing around for pebble-dash effect (which included Ma). Don’t know why there was such a panic to get them in the shower, especially as Booz was to help paint our platforms blue a couple days later…

Presently we have joined the pack in excavation works by the patio. A foot down, we are unearthing what looks something like hard plastic which is either a crashed UFO or a dead body.

“Arnie”, packed up and ready to go to his new home in Liverpool, where he furthered the Siberian Code and played the sob-story well enough to get to sleep on the bed.

Mar 01

…AND MALS DO IT TOO! …Jan Sapsford (2001)

By Ronald McPhee | Sport

I have fed my Siberian Huskies raw on the BARF diet for 3 years or more. I was having many skin problems and the answer was to FEED RAW. I, or should I say my dogs, have not looked back since.

My first malamute is now three and a half years old and when I got her as a nine-week-old pup she was fed on dry food. As I had no experience of feeding a Mal on raw I decided to keep her for the time being on ‘complete’ feed, with occasional raw meat and meaty bones. I was unaware at that time what their growth rate is. In addition, did not know of anyone that I could contact who already fed raw to a Mal. By the time she was nine months old I had completely changed her to the BARF diet.

In January this year she gave birth to 10 very health pups with an average weight of 1lb 6ozs. Although I had not set out to find her a mate fed on raw the pups father had been fed this way since joining his human family as a puppy. What a wonderful start for my pups.

Now came the hard bit, How do I feed these pups raw? I read Dr Billinghurst’s book ‘GROW YOUR PUPS WITH BONES’.

At three weeks old their teeth were through and with ten pups mum was in pain when feeding them. She looked in agony when feeding. You could see in her face “Oh, those teeth.” Therefore, I started to wean them. After telephoning Lynn Harrison to check what she started her pups on, I then took the bull by the horns.

My butcher provides me with whole chicken minced to a pulp including the bones. Each pup was given a teaspoonful, raw, which disappeared in one second. The next meal I increased this to two spoonfuls and so on. By three and a half weeks old they were getting a third of a pound of this meat mince each, and at four weeks I tried them on chicken wings. Well!! At Lynn’s suggestion I cut the wings into thirds and gave each pup it’s own bowl (each pup had its own bowl throughout weaning) with one wing. “Watch that keeps them happy chewing” Lynn said. I should have known this was a Malamute not a nice table-mannered Siberian – the wing pieces did not touch the sides of their mouths! At this point I thought I had killed my pups. I waited twenty-four hours to see if they had any bad reaction and watched the rear ends. Nothing happened of course so I then gave them a whole wing each. This did take them a bit longer and for the first time warning growls could be heard. Off in different directions they all went to find their spot for a peaceful chew.

I was now introducing a variety of meats. Hearts, beef, lamb, pork, and pork rib bones, chicken mince, wings, and fruit & veg. Liver was a bit strong for them so I gave them just very small amounts until they went to their new owners. By twelve weeks they could handle this one. Their titbits were apple, banana, or pear. Blended vegetables were added to one of the daily meals three times a week. The fruit they had daily. They were all gaining weight at a nice steady rate and not once did I get loose stools.

By four and a half weeks the chicken wings were being swallowed whole, so I then gave them whole chicken quarters – one each, for one of their meals. I also fed pilchards, mackerel and sardines. Their breakfast would consist of porridge and one of the three mentioned fish; lunch breast of lamb on the bone, cut like a rib, or chicken wing/portion; evening meal minced or diced meat as above, with vegetables as mentioned; fruit in the afternoon.

Mum, at the height of lactation, was on four pounds of meat a day with blended vegetables in one of the meals, also meaty bones or chicken carcass. A lot of chicken was fed to her for protein, and lunch consisted of two bananas, two pears, one apple, and orange. She enjoyed this meal best of all. She also stole a melon one afternoon when I was not quick enough to get her fruit bowl ready.

I made one mistake when feeding her after she had the pups. In the book I have mentioned it stated to give the bitch a lactation diet mix which I did. This caused her to have terrible loose stools. I knew I must be doing something wrong because she was not ill and the pups were fine. I got the book out and read it in the small hours of the morning to see if I could establish what I was doing wrong. The last sentence of the chapter told me – Do not feed ARTIC BREEDS in this manner! However, what do I do? The book did not say.

Lynn got an early morning call from one worried owner – ME. “What do I do? How will I know she will get enough goodness without this mix?” “Don’t worry” was her reply. “Feed as you have done the last weeks of her pregnancy and if the pups are growing okay then she is getting enough. She will tell you when she wants more. Just watch the pups, if they are growing okay then mum is fine.” Apart from her being a normally greedy Malamute who will do most things for food, Lynn was right. I just continued to feed her normally, but lots more of it. Immediately after the pups she had a figure any woman would kill for. By the time the pups were ten weeks old she ASKED me to put her in harness with my boys. She went a short run the first time much to her disgust. The next week we were up to a five mile run and since then much more.

At the time of writing, the pups are now four months old. All those that I have seen which are fed on the BARF diet are growing at a nice steady rate, photographs of the others show the same. Well muscled and not fat but just right. Mum is getting her coat back, her figure and muscle are excellent. She has been back on her normal BARF diet for several weeks now and enjoys playing with her pup all day long. Mother and daughter are doing fine.

Never again would I feed my dogs on a complete food only. If anyone would like to speak to me about feeding raw please feel free to contact me.