I really need to get a better picture of these three together...
I got back from Iqaluit yesterday, and today I went to pick up Sophie. So here I am, again, in Qikiqtarjuaq with my three dogs. This short trip made me realize so much about my ‘life in the doghouse’.
Scarlett and Gryphon are now amazing at travel. First off, though they don’t like the sweaters I make them wear when we fly around the Arctic Circle, I know it’s in their best interest. However, to be fair, I don’t really like having to deal with checking in and customer service…I guess we’re even.
For anyone who moves north with a small dog (or a cat for that matter), a simple sweater or blanket is essential for not only the jaunt from the airport to the plane, but also while you’re in flight. The planes heading to the small communities beyond Iqaluit don’t seem to have any heating to speak of. Fortunately, with both Canadian North and First Air, very generous measurements are allowed for the in-cabin pet carrier.
In addition, accomodations were far less stressful this time around; I’ve been lucky enough to get the little ones settled down and bark only if someone knocks on the hotel room door! Total turn-around. I think it’s just that they’re becoming more comfortable with the uncertainty that a new environment presents. They are there together and they know the won’t be forgotten.
For anyone stuck in the Iqaluit area, my vote for a pet-friendly hotel is Capital Suites. They charge a weekly fee of $50 for animals; whether you have 1 or 5…there is no difference (other than your level of sanity). The Nova and The Navigator also accept pets, but you pay a nightly fee per animal. The former asks for a considerable damage deposit. However, since the Navigator – it doesn’t even have a website – is in such nasty shape to begin with, you might be more comfortable there if you’re worried about possible dog-damage. When I was stuck in Iqaluit with all three dogs last August, I preferred it for just this reason.
I wish I had had this sort of information on my first jaunt through the capital.
Anyway, that’s information on travel with the small dogs. I won’t be travelling out of the community with Sophie until my contract is up…it’s just too much trouble and worry. I’m usually on my own and, with a carry-on, 2 suitcases, a soft-sided pet carrier with 2 dogs, and a dog crate that reaches chest level when it’s on wheels, it’s not the most pleasant experience. Go figure, right?
So what’s it like to return to such a large creature? Returning means that you have, at some point, left and experienced new things which probably provide you with a new perspective. For a week I didn’t have to worry about pee runs, long walks, slobber, and hair on everything (ok, Scarlett and Gryphon lose hair like mad but, since it’s black, you can’t see it on my clothes). Doing without that headache was nice…very nice.
When I went to get her this morning she was jumping around like crazy and raring to go. Was she happy to see me? I’m not sure. However, she was estatic when I let her loose for her ‘free-run’ in the back field. That’s something that can only be done on the weekends since everyone has a work schedule keeps their weekdays occupied until long after darkness descends. By 5pm (when I finish for the day), all that’s left is a deep twilight.
Observing the improved behaviour of the little dogs this week and comparing it to the spastic quality Sophie generally exhibits is a huge eye-opener. She is moving into her adolescent phase of maturity (6 months), and apparently she’ll be like this until she’s around 2. Just like in a video game, I have challenges to fight through to make sure her adult life is one in which she learns certain skills before moving to the next level. Today, while wiping the globs of spit off my forearm, I figured that biting is the one I should focus on since potty training was established when she was merely 2 months old.
I’ll let you know how the dog training progresses but, for those dog owners moving north with larger breeds, be prepared for the differences in the quality of care and attendance to behaviour that you might be used to in the local dogpark.