On the 22 June 2003 a very special girl made her entrance into the world. She was the last born in a litter of five girls and was easily identified by a large white diamond down the back of her neck which also encompassed her shoulder blades.
Laska (far right) at 3 weeks with Mum Kreevanka & litter mates
From the time Laska opened her beautiful blue eyes her human family knew something was not quite right. On the 12 September 2003, Craig Irvine (New Zealand eye specialist for dogs) diagnosed Laska as having uveitis. The uveitis involved inflammation in the front part of the eye, causing massive scaring, gradually clouding the eyes. The inflammation caused a restriction to the supply of fluid which maintains the shape of the eye. As Laska rapidly grew the fluid supply could not keep up, causing her lovely lashes to fold in and brush against her eyes.
Laska at 11 weeks
There were two permanent solutions available, euthanasia or eye removal. Temporary solutions gave time for a decision to be made and brief pain relief for her. Eye removal was decided upon, a chance for a life in a form that now, one may at times forget the existence of her disability.
The surgery was performed on 4 November 2003. I have been told it was heartbreaking to see Laska when she arrived back from surgery – blue eyes gone, eyelids stitched, debraided with bloody tears running down her cheeks. Her family’s first thoughts were ‘what have we done’ as their hearts dropped. Laska was warm and cuddly as always and she gave them a kiss as if to say ‘I’m okay’. The start of her new life had begun.
Laska is very close to her sister Quiquern & loves being part of the pack. At present there are 15 sibes in the Iceberg pack, including Laska’s mum, dad, sister and uncle. Two four month old pups have recently joined the pack (same father as Laska) and Laska’s mum gave birth to another litter of five 3 weeks ago.
Double Trouble – Quiquern and Laska
Mum (centre) and her 4 girls
She is a very friendly, laid back girl who does not like being fussed over. Laska has the most amazing dense coat – I can only compare it to the feel of velvet. She gets around so well without her sight, very seldomly bumps into things. Laska heavily relies on her acute hearing, sense of smell and memory. She finds it very disorientating if she is surrounded by noise.
Laska runs in a sled dog team (she was part of a winning four dog team in 2005). When she runs in the team she listens to the commands given to her and is guided by the other members of the team. She has extra commands like ‘narrow’ and ‘bumpy’ and is extremely responsive to them. She takes everything in her long sure footed stride, a very strong and willing worker.
Laska never ceases to amaze me. Her adaptability, self confidence and the trust she has in the people and dogs closest to her is simply amazing. I feel very privileged to have met and spent so much time with Laska, she is without a doubt the most special dog I have ever met.
A truly loving and treasured K9 friend who has no limits