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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Wordless Wednesday - Joy

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Mama moose nurses calf in a pond!

A Mama Moose has been traveling our neck of the woods with her very young calf. They are almost always close together with the calf right on his mom's heels.

The two of them have delighted me with their cute and funny behavior in front of my trail cams. One day recently, they waded into a pond, nibbled on bushes, drank some water, and then the calf started nursing. This was before the calf started nursing.

This will be the first of several videos of them. Enjoy!

Monday, August 10, 2020

The Hachi Chronicle

Happy Hachi! He was even happy this week during a morning photoshoot with me. It is rare that I have time with him alone in the morning - so it usually makes him nervous. He was a lot better this time.

We've also found some time when Hachi could play with his sister during our evening walks. They were overjoyed about it. 

Soon, that long stick broke, and Hachi's big sister got the long end of the stick. Experience prevails over youth!

I (not Hachi) have had a rough week for reasons unrelated to him. It has been fun to realize how much my playtime with Hachi helps *me*. We are both goofy and laughing - and I reach the end of it with a big smile on my face. So, I guess that it's therapy for both of us! 

I am planning to share a video of a play session soon. It will be fun to show you goofy Hachi. 

Have a great week!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Black Dog Sunday

The amazing and incredible Black Dog is completely blind. But, he can still hold a treat on his nose, toss it in the air, and catch it. He almost never says, "I can't". He never gives up, and neither should any of us.

I need his inspiration today, as I just found out that a very well loved wildlife trail (loved by me and the bears) is being turned into a road. In fact, the bulldozers are already at work plowing down bear marking trees. I need our Black Dog's inspiration today to keep my chin up.

I hope that our Black Dog's inspiration can help you to smile today too.

Happy Black Dog Sunday.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Shyla Saturday

Shyla is feeling much better. She's been happy to play with me in the meadow since her emergency vet visit. I think that the bone shards have passed through her, thank goodness.

Look in those eyes. What do you see? 

Happy Shyla Saturday!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Feline Friday - Mountain Lions Tracking Each Other

The mountain lion population wows me with their daytime appearances and fascinating behavior. This was a spot where the "main Tom" had marked about five days later. This thin female sniffed his pee-mail next to a human trail around noon one day.

Then, she opened her mouth wide to better sample the pheromones. This is called the Flehmen response.

A similar series of events led to this female adopting a graceful pose as she sampled air.

Then, she looked toward the camera before departing.

So many people think that mountain lions live someplace far away or really deep in the forest. They don't. Rather, they are right here among us living out their lives. In this time of crowds descending upon previously quiet trail areas, it is important that people think about their actions for the sake of the wildlife. Why not stick with well-established human hiking areas so that the wildlife can continue to eke out their existence in the quieter areas?

Check out the video of these mountain lions who live in our midst. During this pandemic, the pressure by people upon them has escalated dramatically. Let's hope that there's still enough room for them to flourish.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for every moment that I get to spend with this pup. It's not easy to find those moments because we need to stay within his comfort zone. But that zone is getting bigger.
Dream on, Hachi. The sky is the limit.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Wordless Wednesday

Our Tuesday included a trip to the emergency vet for Shyla due to relentless vomiting. We discovered that she ingested some bone shards probably from an old carcass in the forest (she occasionally sneaks off to these for brief chews during our bike rides). The short story is that the vet thinks that they will pass through her. She seems much better now after the vet gave her some meds to calm her tummy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

A bear has fun in the tub!

A bear visited the local bathtub on a hot day.

And he definitely knows how to have fun in the tub! Enjoy the video!

Monday, August 3, 2020

The Hachi Chronicle

Hachi loves to run more than anything. He has the exuberance of the young dog who he is. Combining running with playing with his sister makes him so happy.

I think that our move to a much bigger plot of land will make the most difference to Hachi. We'll be able to take him and Shyla for off-leash walks every day through peaceful meadows and forest. Hachi will be able to run in circles around us as much as he wants to.
I think that being able to play with Shyla outdoors every day will make Hachi an even happier dog. I've come to strongly believe in the power of play for dogs with serious fears. Since we humans started playing with him daily, he has become so much more light-hearted than he ever was before. He wakes up playful, "ambushing" us to ask for play first thing in the morning. Just recently, he's started doing the same thing around mid-afternoon. It's incredible to feel the change in him.

Happy Hachi Day.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Black Dog Sunday

Our Black Dog is always up for a micro-adventure. One morning this week, I invited him outside in the morning - before my bike ride with Shyla. R was thrilled to do it although Shyla almost had apoplexy over her time being pushed later.

The flowers in the meadow have faded but some in the shade near our house are still going wild. R and I checked them out, and he seemed utterly content to relax next to them.
CBD oil is continuing to work its magic. I think that the reduction in pain has brought a lightness to R that hasn't been there in a while.

Even though his eye cannot see, it can still sparkle with happiness. I most often see that sparkle when I get home after being out. He perks up, "looks" right at me, and then we talk about how our days are going. His days seem joyful. He's naturally such a happy guy.

Happy Black Dog Sunday!

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Shyla Saturday

I've known Shyla for almost eight years now. We've been through so much together. Her fearfulness has taught me to be more empathetic about fears that I don't understand and prepared me for the Hachi tsunami. I've learned to look at situations from her viewpoint so that I can gain a glimmer of insight into her fears.

She started on an anti-anxiety med last January. With the vet's help, we very gradually increased her dose. By April, the dose was reasonably high, and we were not sure whether it was making a meaningful difference. We took a break from giving it to her (with our vet's guidance because it's not okay to stop a med like this cold turkey).

Well, the verdict is that it was making a big difference. When she came off of it, it was obvious to me that her fear of strangers and separation anxiety escalated. So, she has restarted the med, and she is happier.

I'm so glad that we can help her with her persistent worries. I actually wish that we'd tried a med like this for her eight years ago. It's been quite a journey teaching her to live in this crazy world.
The journey that we've traveled together has made our bond even stronger. It hasn't always been easy but I've always known that it was worth it.

Happy Shyla Saturday!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Feline Friday - Mountain Lions in Closeup

Thanks so much for all of your kind comments yesterday. It's scary to make a leap like this one but I think that it will be a good choice. As you know, I am very attached to the wildlife who I follow. I will keep following the ones who I know so well, and I feel confident that I'll get to know new animals at our new place. It's actually better wildlife habitat than here but it will take time for me to learn where the animals reside.

Our mountain lions are awing me. For reasons that aren't clear to me, they are coming closer and closer to my trail cams to mark. Then, other lions want to sniff their markings so they come close too.

I usually set up my cams 15-20' from where I expect that the animals will appear. They are marking within a few feet of the cams (or 1' in one case).

It is really fun to see them so closeup. I think that this is one of our Toms.

He was close enough that we can see his drool!

Check out the video if you have time. It's the only time that you ever want to see mountain lions so close!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Thankful Thursday - The Next Grand Adventure

The pandemic has accelerated change in so many aspects of life - including in the forest near our house. It is hard to find times of day when it's okay to have dogs off-leash because there are people everywhere on the land. Because I'm out early with Shyla and she's such a meek being, she has the best chance of off-leash time.

While nature itself hasn't changed here, the impact of humans on our world has escalated dramatically. Twenty years ago, this spot was paradise. We could wander out into the nearby meadow and peacefully hike without running into anyone except perhaps an elk. Road noise was minimal - we never noticed it on our dusty dirt road. People who chose to live here did so for quiet and nature.  So much has changed.

So, we had a talk back in May on our wedding anniversary, and we decided that we wanted to spend the rest of our marriage someplace quieter and closer to nature. Amazingly, we found the right place in an online listing the very next day - making me feel as if it was destiny. We are "under contract" for a large plot of land (and a house) about 40 minutes to the north of here - and I'm starting to believe that the purchase is actually going to close (it's taking forever!). It is a place where even Hachi can have off-leash time every single day.
I never thought that we would leave this spot that we've loved so much. A piece of me is very sad about it - and especially about the friends who will no longer live within walking distance. However, the place has changed around us (and against our will) while we've tried to ignore the noise and "crowds". Inertia isn't a good enough reason to stay. So we are embarking on our next grand adventure.

And, our new home will be close enough that I can continue to keep tabs on the animals who I know so well. That's very important to me.

I am thankful that we've found the courage to do this. Of course, the deal still has to close, and something could go wrong. But, no matter what, it's time for a new adventure.