Monday, August 20, 2007

The Bully and the Acid Queen

I have found Surprise.
Without getting too wordy here, I need to tell the story of Ruffles and Surprise. Ruffles is my 14-year-old dog. Back in the day, she was a winning lead dog in sprint races. She was purchased for a pretty penny by Ken and Gwen. On their first training run with new, expensive Ruffles, Ruffles blew her knee out never to run again. They kept her as a loose dog and bred her once. In that litter she had Raven, Strider, Turtle and Feather. They sold Feather to a musher down south. Now, usually dogs, especially Alaska huskies, wean their young and then, that's it. They are pretty much forgotten. Not Ruffles. Ruffles didn't care much for the boys or for Feather, but she and Raven were tight. They would sleep in the same house, Ruffles would wander around finding bones and bring them to her Raven. It was adorable and a bit of a mystery. Fast forward a couple years and here I am. I got Raven and Strider last spring. Raven became sick and I thought maybe it would help if I went and got old Ruffles to cheer up Raven. It worked. Even though Raven, who had a weird spinal issue, and Ruffles would never run again, they were now part of my kennel. I enjoyed having them around and they enjoyed each other. A few months ago, Raven died. Her body was full of cancer. Ruffles, who is now 14, did not take it well. She is still distraught some days even though she has a good life as a house dog. Strider is still here, but Ruffles pretty much ignores him.
I knew of another offspring that Ruffles had had a year or so after she had the Raven/Strider litter. It was a little girl that Ken and Gwen called 'Surprise' because she was in fact a surprise. One pup, that was it and they didn't even realize that Ruffles was pregnant. They found a recreational musher to take Surprise and Ruffles was destroyed. Legend has it that it was that turn of events that made Ruffles into the weirdo she is today. (Sam calls her the Acid Queen for a reason.) A few nights ago, I was at a party out in Cripple Creek (not a 'woot woot' party, more like a bunch of ABR nerds sipping G and T's and talking about birds) and a man named Steve showed up. We started talking and he informed me that he has some dogs from an Iditarod musher. I asked him who. He said Ken. I asked him which dogs he had as I had worked for Ken for several years and know all of his dogs well. When he said 'Surprise,' my eyes welled up and my jaw hit the ground. I immediately asked him if I could have her. He said maybe but later said no because his kids were just too attached. We agreed that I could bring Ruffles out to his place for a reunion and that I could take Surprise out running with my team any time I wanted. I haven't taken Ruffles out there yet, but man, what a story! I mean, this should be a reality TV show, no?
Anyway, this is wordy so I'll stop now. Except that Theresa said a few months back that I should write a children's book about Ruffles' life and now, this has added a new and exciting chapter. She has had a crazy life. (I won't even get in to the time she took Raven, Strider, Turtle and Feather out into the woods when they were tiny pups and was out there for a couple weeks before some hikers found her and returned the family to Ken and Gwen. She had made a den for them and was foraging for food.)
Anyway, I can't wait to reintroduce Ruffles and Surprise. I’ll let you know what happens.

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