Thanks to all who have suggested various solutions to my one-legged predicament. I sincerely appreciate the thoughts and suggestions. I now see that many of you have experienced some of the same dilemmas as I am now. I have a few new transportation “options” and will start to use them as soon as the Doctor “okays” them. Right now I am supposed to ice and elevate for a while longer. To those of you who just laughed… I appreciate that too. Heck, if I can’t laugh as well, then it’s gonna be a long 6 weeks. Right?!?

But… my ‘dog entertainment’ has continued.

As well as the Alaskan Husky population here at SP Kennel, we also have one “odd dog”, Tig. She is a Lab. We got her almost 8 years ago when we were “in between” retired sled dogs. I thought it would be fun to get involved with retriever training. For the first few years Tig and I did quite a bit of training and even competed in some Hunt Test and Field Trials. She is a pretty talented dog and I am a reasonable dog trainer. Tig absolutely loved the events and we actually traveled to quite a few competitions in and around Alaska. But, I started to get rather competitive… can you imagine that?!?! And it was apparent that I was going to spend a significant bit of time, money and effort on training, hunt tests and trials. I was getting up at 5AM to train Tig in our field before driving and hour for a Hunt Test that started early in the morning and lasted all day long.

It occurred to me that I already had one waaaaayyyyyy over the top dog related addiction that consumed every minute of my life from September through early May… did I really need a second one to take up the remainder of the year? Yeah… probably not, right?

So, Tig and I backed away from the competitive aspect of retriever life. We still have fun with training and retrieving. She carries stuff around the kennel and brings notes to Allen in the garage or me in the office upstairs. She’ll carry harnesses to the harness rack, leashes to the truck or lug around basically anything she can fit in her mouth. She doesn’t tear things up and even carries my phone upstairs at night. Having a retriever around is actually extremely useful!

When I was teaching Tig to fetch, Sam decided he wanted to learn; Tig and Rambler.

Tig still gets to be a “real retriever” every Fall. She’s gone on some kind of hunting adventure since she was a yearling. The first few years we went to Nome when Bridgett and Scotty still lived there. The last few years, Scotty and Tig have flown to Saskatchewan, Canada with to hunt one of the most productive waterfowl flyways in the world.
Setting up before dawn (Excited Tig eyes!); Scotty and Tig after the day’s hunt.

22 Responses

  • Aliy, Tig is awesome! Would you like to train our five year old GSP? She is a good girl, too, but would bolt after the birds in a heartbeat and come home when she is ready. Good luck catching her! Take care of that foot>

    Maryalice Adams

  • Boy am I jealous! I could have used a Tig when I had my knee replacement surgery a couple years ago!! Meredith's retired sled do just sat & watched from the couch as I struggled!! Keep up the good wor, keep up the ice & elevation & you'll be back on both feet in not time!

  • There are no bad dogs only bad people who do not do right by them. I love a Lab in the Huskies. Bless Tig for being special!! I saw on FB where Jodi Bailey has a new pup that has to be part if not all Australian Cattle Dog or Blue Heeler, a great breed close to my heart! Dogs are really God's gift to us.

    And Aliy, enjoy the down time if you can–I know it is hard as I had a broken ankle in 1999 when I was still very active and it drove me nuts but I made it and you will too. Sending hugs and "patience" vibes from New Mexico!!

  • Now that's the BEST solution. Sounded like you were hopping not crutching -careful! And yes Ice elevate, Ice elevate….monica

  • LOL! Absolutely precious!!! what a good girl Tig!
    Aliy hopping on one foot, has a hand available for the camera.

    Keep up the great healing Aliy and Tig.

  • That's awesome! I don't know if I dare show my 14 year old daughter. She'll want to come and live at your house. She told me when she grows up, she is going to have two black labs and a 4 door pickup. We are also going to go mushing for a day in northern MN next season. Part of that was a bucket list item. The other part is sort of your fault. I had a great time following SP kennels on the Iditarod. I think I'm addicted to following dog mushing now. Now I have to give it a try. The closest I've been is helping two mushers untangle their teams.

  • Tig is a real beauty and talented too. Glad she's being a help. I'm sure it's an interesting contrast having different breeds with different skill sets. She probably thinks the huskies are crazy to pull you down the trail in a snow storm and, as you and Allen have both mentioned, the huskies sure aren't very excited to leap into water! I'm just shocked that you mentioned you were feeling competitive when it came to her field trials – you competitive???? Who'd have guessed??? Thanks for the profile of Tig, as a long time fan I'm pretty familiar with her already, but I love hearing about all the SPK dogs, whether they are your superstar sled dogs or your ever helpful shiny black gorgeous lab. All the best for your continued healing.

  • Woof woof Tig well done I am a 2 and half year old Golden Retriever and l love fetching things for My human mum and dad but l don't think l get the things they always want ! l am still working that one out.
    Like l don't understand when l take the socks and underwear of the drying rack and parade around with it why they then put back in the wash basket …l have heard them mumble something about dog slobber on clean socks and underpants. You know what else Tig l love it when Mum leaves her gardening boots at the door because l get to put them away ……but l just haven't figured where that is yet …..obviously not in the drive ,especially when it's raining.
    Ah well l am a work in progress . Anyway l think following SP Kennels l am , a possible sled dog , because Mum says some times l get so excited about going for a walk or "down the trail" l pull like a sled dog. Keep up the good work Tig and l hope Aliy doesn't wear you out that competive side may come out ant she may start timing you on you ice bucket run …..
    Woof woof from Denali 🐾🐾 and Joanne , Melbourne , Australia 🇦🇺

  • What a great video and what a great dog! Now, about that hopping and elevation…..remember the rules….NO hopping and toes above the nose for elevation. Yes, seriously! Know that we are wishing you a successful recovery and are enjoying your healing adventures in the meantime.

    Charlene & LIsa

  • Well, this is a completely different adventure for you, but love how the Aliy humor is showing up. Thanks for taking us along!

  • One of my favorite things about this video and so many others is the exuberant tail wags. They are so happy to just be with you. And getting praise, well, that really is the best.

  • It was exciting meet Tig and learn how helpful she's been to you. I had no idea that she was a member of the SP Kennel family! Guess I've been focusing on the sled dogs to the exclusion of all else. Isn't it amazing how different breeds contribute in their own ways to our well being and to enriching our lives? (I won't even tell you and your fans what kind of dog I have! Let's just say, he's a "lap dog!")

    Happy to hear you're doing well after your surgery. I know you're glad it's behind you, Continue to heal, Aliy.
    Keep your posts coming. I love to hear about the dogs and kennel happenings even during your off-season! Hope all the 4-legged members of the Red and Blue Teams are doing well! Take care!

  • O.K. ALIY!!!

    Love the video of the "fetch" site – and very impressed Tig knew what to bring down!!! With Tig this is not a game, it is the work she was born to do!!!

    Tomorrow might be week #two over???

  • I loved the Tig story. I wondered why she was in the mix and now we all know. I'm sure she is enjoying helping you and feeling special. She is a beautiful dog. I've noticed that one of her other talents is exercising the puppies.

    Best wishes on your recovery.


  • Tig… are awesome girl!!! What a helpful retriever….I am extremely impressed!!! I love when dogs are taught to do what they were bred to do! That is one well trained dog….and its SO cool she gets to go "real" hunting each fall…while also helping out at the Kennel with her special skills! I have German Shepherd Dogs…I have not taught them to protect…its kind of built in….but I have taught them to harness up and be Sled Dogs, and I really enjoy the "cross breed training". BUT, no matter what I do, they wont hunt! Id love me a Tig to hunt with!!

  • Tig could be the answer to the feeding problem. Put the food in containers that won't leak and then put them in the tote bag and Tig can carry it from station to station. Then you just empty the containers in the bowls.

  • Ok I like the video of Tig, but the photo at the beginning and end bring back so many memories of my oh so perfect (for me that is) black lab that stole my heart way back in 1997, gone 8 years now. Thank you for the memories.
    And good luck with the toe adventure, my brother who is a very active mountain biker, broke both ankles last fall and spent the winter scooting on his butt or in an office chair around the house. He is up and going now, working on that biking. So I know you will be back at it soon.

  • What a great dog! Reminds me of the two black Labs we used to have, Chipper and TJ.

    Now we're on to yellow Labs.

    Steve Laine

  • Tig, how fantastic for you to be helping out this way at home. Gosh I love hearing more about you and seeing the awesome skills you have!


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