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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Labrador Dives

While we were up high in the mountains, our Duo had chances to leap into mountain lakes. I absolutely love their utter joy when they get to retrieve things from the water.

R is still the master when it comes to leaping, landing in the water, and getting to the ball very fast.

The leap...

And the landing...
We always have at least two balls with us so that Shyla doesn't get discouraged by not winning many races with R.

Shyla has mastered the leap...

The flight phase...

And the landing...
In fact, I think she can swim as fast as R. However, she tends to defer to R when it's a close race... so her older brother wins more often than she does. That's when the second ball is handy so she can "win" the race to the other ball and keep her confidence high.

As you may remember, before our trip, R had almost died from a toxin. By the third day of our trip, he seemed almost completely normal (for R!). You can see from these photos that he was playing with complete joy and abandon. I'm not sure whether he understands how close he came to losing his life. However, the Runner and I fully understand it, and we smiled endlessly as we watched him have so much fun.

Every day is a gift.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Bad and The Good - Mountain Lion Kittens!

I am trying hard to remember that most of the people in the world are good and to focus on the good and beautiful parts of the world. This tiny wintergreen flower that is now blooming is a minute detail in our forest that awes me.
We returned from a trip to the high Rockies today, and I discovered that a low-life jerk had stolen one of my trail cameras. I had my usual burst of anger and despair. The individual who stole it has shown up on my trail cameras for years. He seems to like to walk where no one else goes. I figured that he was a nature-lover like me and that I didn't need to worry about him stealing anything.

I was wrong. He noticed a trail camera for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Then, he returned with tools for a quick theft. In the midst of my fury, there is good news. He'll never be able to use the camera due to technological innovations that make it only possible for me to use it. Moreover, I have photos of his face which the police plan to use to try to ID him. So, there's a chance that I'll see the camera again.

On the good news front, finding the one camera stolen caused me to ride my bike all over creation checking on my other trail cameras. No others were stolen.

And, one of them had photos on it that made my heart sing!!!! You might remember a recent post about a mountain lion who I thought had kittens stashed in a den near us. She does have little tiny kittens!!!

Here, mom and one tiny kitten appeared in front of my trail camera. That kitten is smaller than a bobcat!!!!
Then, the first kitten continued forward and the second kitten walked into the frame almost below mom.

They didn't linger long. The trio departed quickly.
When mountain lion kittens are this small, they stay in dens almost all the time. The mother periodically moves them from one den to another. I suspect that the mom leading them to a new den in these photos. I wish the photos were in color but I'm not complaining!

Finding these photos on a trail camera on the same day that I discovered that one had been stolen reminded me why I love these trail cameras despite the constant worry about bad people stealing them.

Because I love our wildlife so much, that one series of mountain lion kitten photos was enough to pay for this trail camera. I'd never get to see such a wonderful sight without using trail cameras. Wow!

I'm also reminded that, in some ways, I love animals far more than most people. Animals are pure in spirit. If Shyla looks at me with a playful face like the next one, I know that's how she feels. She doesn't lie.
Life is such a mixture of bad and good. I do my best to focus on the good, like mountain lion kittens and my wonderful pack!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Successful Sunday!

In case you were feeling sorry for Shyla in yesterday's photos - don't worry - she often catches the treat after I balance it on her nose!


But, there are always some funny outtakes, every time we play this game!
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Silly Saturday

I took these photos during our treat balancing games where Shyla balances them on her nose and then is released to launch them into the air, hopefully snarfing them. I love seeing her expressions during these games!


These photos make me laugh every time!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Wildflowers and Bees Galore

We are joining Dory in featuring flowers on Friday!

The bumblebees in our area are flourishing with our incredible wildflower crop.
 They adore the purple Loco Weed.
And I love watching them.
 It looks like Lady Bugs like the Locoweed as well!
Our pollinators have been so plentiful that I sometimes see bugs flying out of the flowers as Shyla runs through them. Shyla isn't allergic to anything that we know of yet. However, Angel K was allergic to a huge array of things. I still haven't learned not to hold my breath in terror when our chocolate lab is near potentially biting bugs!
Shyla doesn't worry about it like I do... and I'm glad for that!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - I love our World

This photo sums up what I love so much about our life. The flowers, the mountains, and our dogs. And I am still thanking our lucky stars for the miracle that R is still with us and flourishing.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mountain Lion Monday

A series of mountain lion sightings has made me think that we have a mother lion with small kittens living in a small area of our neck of the woods.

First, I captured a photo of a young lion, one who I think was just kicked out by his mother. I believe this youngster is the one who we followed throughout the fall and winter.

I think that this is the mother mountain lion, who has been showing up on my cameras all over the area.

Later the same morning...

A week later...

The next day...


The following early morning...

Midafternoon, recently...

I haven't checked my cams in a little while but I'm hoping that she's still around. If she is, I'll be feeling confident that she's raising a litter of kittens deep in a den in our neck of the woods.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Silhouette Sunday

After one of our routine afternoon thunderstorms, the eastern sky was purple at sunset.
Although I don't love the storms, I do love the sky after them!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sunset Saturday

The skies lit up at sunset the other evening.
As dusk approached, the oranges shifted toward pinks.
I love Rocky Mountain sunsets!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fledging Friday

I have loved watching the flycatcher family who had a nest under our deck. The parents would tend the young every day. They watched over the nest.

And they caught flies to feed to the babies.
After about four and a half weeks of tending their nest, the Cordilleran Flycatcher babies in a nest under our deck took their maiden flights.

I happened to go outside midafternoon, and I saw two of the babies sitting on the edge of the nest tray. Another two babies can't be seen. They were in the nest behind these to forerunners.
One of the parents was waiting on the ground, knowing that the chicks would try to fly soon. In past years, the chicks have sometimes landed on the ground near where this parent was waiting.
It turned out that the first two babies didn't land on the ground. They went directly from their nest tray to some nearby pine trees. I spotted one of them.
Then, some ravens came into the area, and I went inside so I wouldn't possibly lead the ravens toward the baby. Ravens might kill and eat a baby bird if given the chance.

My impression was that all four baby flycatchers made it into the branches near our house. Some years, the family comes back to the nesting area once or twice during the summer. Other years, I've never seen them again. I hope that they all make it, and that perhaps one of the babies comes back to nest under our deck someday!

I love summertime!
I don't have many photos of R outside and playing but, rest assured, he's doing great!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Joy

We have the great news that R is showing NO signs of liver or kidney damage. Our vet has "cleared" him to go back to everyday life!!!! Shyla loves her brother so she was leaping with joy!
As we often do after rough times, we're going to take at least a partial internet break. We want to take the time to enjoy having all four of us alive and well in this beautiful summertime.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Still Waiting...

R had his blood tests this morning but we don't have results yet. He seems less sleepy today so I am hopeful that the results will be good.

I visited the local emergency vet today to pick up R's leash, that got left behind during the crisis. The receptionist told me that she thought that R was at death's door when the technicians carried him out to the ambulance. She was astounded to hear how well he's doing now.

The wild mushrooms, a likely culprit, are going crazy near us. They are growing bigger than I've ever seen before. This is an upside down mushroom next to my foot for scale.
Today I saw an even bigger one but thunderclaps prevented me from stopping to take a photo. For now, R is wearing a muzzle whenever he's outdoors to prevent him from ingesting anything dangerous. He hates it but we don't feel that we have a choice. Excess rain is still fueling the mushroom growth so there's no end in sight.

This was the Divide before the storms hit this morning.
I didn't write about Shyla's astoundingly relaxed behavior throughout R's whole crisis. Because we didn't know how long we'd be away from home, we took her everywhere with us.

She easily handled many situations that would have scared her halfway to death a year go. She wanted to make friends with every single person we met. She handled going "into the back" in the first emergency vet place, despite all sorts of looming equipment, lots of people, her brother being deathly ill, and me quietly crying.

Then, after R was transferred to Colorado State, things got even weirder. We were in a huge empty lobby, except for the cleaning crews. They had vacuums, mops, and even a "zamboni" machine for cleaning the huge tile floor. None of it scared Shyla. To our surprise, she wagged and tried to make eye contact with everyone, even the people using scary equipment.

I'm starting to think that I should call her a "formerly fearful" dog or a "sensitive" dog. Visible fear is a rarity in her now.
Indeed, the morning after the crisis, we met a friend on the trails. He's a big guy who rides a mountain bike. He straddled his bike as he chatted with me. Although she's seen him many times in the past, Shyla never had the courage to approach him before that morning. On that morning, she sidled up behind him and nuzzled his hand as we chatted. It took her three years to find the courage to do that - but she did it!!!!

At the beginning, I honestly never thought that Shyla would gain as much confidence as she has now. I've learned an important lesson about resilience!

I'll keep you updated on R. I wish we had those blood test results. R has just a little bit of GI distress, which makes me worry about his liver. The phone is next to me, and I am willing it to ring!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Some much needed silly time

I felt the need for some silliness today after the rough few days we've had. So, Shyla and I played a a very silly game.

First, she balanced a whole bunch of treats on her nose and forehead. She had to focus intently to balance that many treats but she became very good at it!
Then, I released her to launch the treats.
She sometimes caught one or two in her mouth and then I picked up the rest to feed to her. I laughed a lot during this game which made her zoom in happy circles around me. I think it was just what we needed!

R still seems zonked, and my head still hasn't completely escaped the migraine. I discussed R's condition with our vet this morning, and we agreed that we would wait until tomorrow morning for his blood test. Hopefully, that delay will help both of us recover with more rest time instead of driving time. The one downside to living in the mountains is that nothing is nearby, not even our vet.

We know the acute signs of liver and kidney problems, and we aren't seeing any of them in R. That makes us hopeful that his blood values will be normal too.

Meanwhile, he continues to sleep a lot. I didn't awaken him for a photo today. The boy needs his sleep!

Here's one more smile photo from Shyla's silly game today. If you look closely, you can see one treat that landed in her mouth!
Smiles to all of you!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Black and White Sunday - Our Black Dog

R has been sleeping deeply almost continuously since he came home. I came over to him with my camera, and he continued to slumber, not even acknowledging my presence. Then, I opened the treat jar, and this was the sparkly eyed, albeit tired, look he gave me.
So far, I think he's simply tired from the battle his body waged. We see the vet again tomorrow.

Thank you for the amazing support.