Plans to breed Havoc, my Malinois, and Fysti, my Sheltie, have been in the works for months.
We missed Fysti's last heat because Cypher, father to be, was at Nationals and concentrating; and Havoc was just out of heat when we tried to breed her to Gryff, her special friend from northern B.C..
So I was all geared up to make sure we got breedings this time around. Of course they both came into heat within a day of each other, so that made things easier. Havoc is very obvious with her heats, but Fysti less showy, so after I had been watching the heats for about a week and a half, I knew that Havoc would not be breedable yet, but wasn't sure where Fysti was, and it was Friday, so I took Fysti to the vet to have her progesterone tested. Sure enough, she was not "ready" yet, but they suggested to come back on Monday.
On Monday I took both Havoc and Fysti in, to see where we were. They took blood from both, and I ran them over to the lab, and went home to wait for a phone call. At 2:00 the call came. Fysti had just ovulated, so she would need to be bred on Tuesday and Thursday. Havoc had ovulated THREE DAYS AGO! and so needed to be bred that day to even hope to conceive. CRAP! Had to be bred that day... The male was in 100 Mile House... 9 hours away, and it was already 2:00 in the afternoon.
Not one to be detered by logistics I grabbed a bag, some socks and wallet, and headed for the van. I figured it was kismit that I had finally gotten around to reinitialized my old cell phone after my new one disappeared. So when I was on my way to I actually had a phne and so was able to call Holly, owner of the male, to at least make sure she would be home if I made the 9 hour drive!
Holly was awesome, and even agreed to get Gryff in the truck and drive to meet me a couple of hours closer so we could try to catch Havoc before she was completely out. So we agreed to meet in Valemont, and arranged a specific gas station there, in case one or both cell phones didn't work in the mountains.
I made really good time ( 😉 ) on the good roads around Edmonton, but as I got closer to Valemont the roads and weather started making driving more and more trecherous. Swirling snow, slippery roads, and dusk combined to make things pretty difficult. I hate to drive in winter, and I hate to drive in the dark, so the combination of winter and dark makes me super uncomfortable. So I was SO happy to make it to Valemont before it got dark. It made the somewhat intense driving up to then all worth while... I was here! ... but Holly wasn't?
So then I just had to wait for Holly to arrive. No cell phone service, so no way to know where she was, but the gas station we had agreed to meet at was right on the main highway, so she couldn't miss it. So I waited, and waited, and waited... all the while imagining the few remaining eggs in Havoc's overies starting to wither up and die. I was getting stressed!
I tried calling from a pay phone to her house, no answer. Made sense she was on her way. Waited another 1/2 hour. Tried calling again, her hubby answered this time. He wasn't sure what was going on. She was on her way. No wait... she said weather and roads had gotten too bad to drive, and so she was holing up in Blue River. Crap! That was 50 km further down the road.
Decision time again. Okay, I had come this far ... how bad could it possibly be, it was just 50 km. So off we went again. Not sure where in Blue River we were going, but Blue River was a little place, and she had a white truck, so no problem. Well, that was the worse 50 km I have ever encountered, and I have driven through the Rockies in the winter many, many times, and had one trip to Brandon where I had to drive with the door open so I could see the yellow centre line.
But this was white knuckle driving the whole way. It was blowing snow, there were drifts both on the sides and the middle of the road, it was dark, and the plows had not been through; so the highway, with its myriad of logging and oil trucks, was only 1 1/2 lanes wide. So I found a truck and tried to stay behind him. Follow the lights, just follow the lights. Every time a truck came at us of course I slowed down to almost a standstill, so the big truck could pass, and I would be left with the truck's taillights that I was trying to follow trailing away in the distance. So down on the gas pedal, clutch the steering wheel a little tighter, and try to reel my leading truck back in, all the while hoping another truck would not come at me and put me back into standing still - hoping the truck would pass by without taking off my mirror - mode.
FINALLY, after what seemed like hours, but was really only about an hour, I made it the 50 km to Blue River. Alive!
Sure enough, it wasn't too difficult to find Holly's truck in a hotel parking lot. I wasn't sure how difficult it would be to find her room, but as I came into the lobby the front desk guy said "Hey, are you here with the dog?" So I guess she had told the story already.
We called up to her room and Holly came down and got Gryff out of her vehicle. I cautioned her that Havoc was probably out already, but we might as well give it a try... got Havoc out and let her and Gryff frolic a little in the parking lot. Zapo. Tie. 15 minutes. What a good Gryff. Put them away and went for food. A couple of hours later we brought them out again and Gryff again did the job right away. The fact that Havoc stood twice gave me a wee bit of hope, as the last time, when she was out of heat, she also stood, and they also tied, but when he tried to play the game again she said no. So maybe standing twice is a little more reason for optimism.
So it was a rough trip, and a longer trip home (going the speed limit adds a wee bit of time) but we made it. Now we wait and see if we made it in time.