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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fabulous dog day!

I woke up this morning and shared a good long snuggle with our lovable K. I bet that non-dog people can't imagine this - but I absolutely love how K smells. Probably her sweet scent comes from the pine tar in her fur after many rolls under pine trees. But, I hugged her and sniffed her. I reveled in every little nuance that makes her our sweet K. I also relaxed into the knowledge that she seems to be getting better. She's eating with gusto and trying to convince me to let her run off-leash using cute play bows and other puppy-like antics. What a relief.

Through research, I'm learning about why my vets were so alarmed by her pancreatitis. It kills dogs, and there's strong evidence that it's a chronic condition in K that was exacerbated by eating a few mildly toxic mushrooms. Moreover, dogs with thyroid disorders like K's hard-to-control hypothyroidism have a much rockier road with pancreatitis than normal dogs. That information explains why my vet is taking K's pancreatitis extremely seriously even though some dogs can sail through it with few complications.

In K's case, the episode has left her exhausted. She slept more today than ever before. The most interesting photo of her was of her sleeping. You can see her ribs. She hasn't eaten much in days and won't be able to eat normal quantities for another few days.
This morning, with K by my side, I looked forward to a nice ordinary day with no frantic drives to vet clinics or anxious hours waiting for news from vets. My great hope was simply a normal day.

A good indicator of how frazzled we've been is that the only other shoe-wearing member of our family (no names!) went to work wearing non-matching shoes yesterday. And, I got a photo! Hopefully, he won't read this post...
The hope of an ordinary day disappeared during breakfast. My husband and R headed out for a run while I drank coffee on the deck. A very short time later, I heard them returning. I peered over the deck, and I saw a German Short Haired Pointer with them. He'd been curled up into a tight ball hidden under the low boughs of a pine tree in the National Forest behind our house. Our dog, R, found him, circled, nudged my husband, and then stood stock still and pointed at the dog. Yes, I know that Labs are not supposed to point - but pointing at a Pointer seems appropriate to me! Only then did my husband see the exhausted and sore canine. His tags said "Kelso" and listed an address in Denver.
My husband walked Kelso home and phoned the number on the tag. The owner reacted with utter disbelief and elation. He said that Kelso had been missing since Monday, and their hope of finding him had begun to dwindle. But, he asked, "Did you find Molly with Kelso?". He explained that Molly was their other GSP and had been with Kelso when they disappeared. My husband's heart sank. Suddenly, the elation was gone. He hadn't seen Molly.

The family headed straight up to our house but, while they drove, I headed out on my bike with R as my search dog. We circled and recircled the area where Kelso had hidden, calling Molly's name. R's body language screamed that he smelled something of interest in that area (I used to be trained in canine search and rescue so I'm very attuned to a dog's small body language clues). However, I couldn't see Molly, and she didn't answer my calls.
When the family arrived, I led them to where Kelso had been hidden. They called Molly's name a million times while we all tried to use xray vision to pick out a hidden brown and white dog from the forest. Finally, we were on the verge of returning home when a passing jogger mentioned hearing some yipping from a nearby dark gulch. So, as our last try, we hiked down the gulch. My heart accelerated with fear of what we'd find. A couple of years ago, we found the remains of a neighborhood dog killed by a lion in the very same gulch.

As the hiking got rougher and steeper, I suggested that we should turn around. Just as we started to turn, I saw a light-colored animal streak across the trail in front of us. Based on my glimpse, it could have been a coyote or even a lion but it also could have been a dog. We all ran ahead to see around a rocky outcropping, and erupted in excitement when we saw Molly. However, after days on the run, Molly was skittish and looked ready to flee. So everyone but Molly's mom hid behind a boulder while she gently cajoled Molly to come to her. When Molly finally arrived in her arms, everyone cried, even me. What a wonderful feeling!
Kelso and Molly went straight to the vet who pronounced them hungry and tired but not hurt or sick. That's amazing given the night-time low temperatures in the 30s and the overnight rains that we've had. So, those two adventurers are at home with their family soaking up a ton of love.

I felt today that I repaid a debt. Earlier this week, I feared for K's life. But, thanks to the dedication of vets and techs, she's mending at home. It felt like perfect symmetry that I helped another person save their dogs today!

What a glorious day!


  1. Great dog stories and happy endings, KB! Molly is really thin. I think K just looks "sleek." Good news all around. I had to laugh about your husband's shoes - that's something I might have done! I've been known to wear 2 different earrings - not to be fashionable!

  2. OMD!

    Mom is leaking as we paw this one...

    YES, a fabulous dog day!

    As we strongly believe, things happen fur reasons...your husband went out at THAT moment and found Kelso...

    From there, it was meant to be!


  3. You have run the gamut of emotions in the past couple of days, haven't you? How wonderful to have a happy ending to what could have been so tragic. You and your husband are truly good neighbors to help search for the lost dog. I'm sure the owners will never forget what you have done for them. Thanks for sharing this heart-warming story. And glad to hear K is continuing to improve.

  4. Tears here too. What a happy ending to a scary, scary ordeal (for everyone).

    And, yes, both K and Molly look quite rib-y. :o(

  5. I forgot to say that R gets three cheers from us for finding Kelso. Good boy, R. Good boy!

  6. What a beautiful story. That picture left me choked up! What a week it has been for you.

    Thanks so much for the comment on my blog, KB. I've read a little about K's fear issues in the time I've been reading your blog. It must be so hard to see her fluctuate depending on her thyroid levels. But she is such a gorgeous dog, and she's very lucky to have you (and vice versa!)

    Yes, almost every day Marge faces some hurdle in her life. She was in the best shape of her life psychologically back in March/April, when she passed the CGC, but some things have definitely gotten more complex, especially these past few months. But I'm lucky to have her, and although the lows are stressful and painful, the high points when we make a breakthrough are just indescribable.

  7. wow, what an unbelievable story!!! with a very happy ending...the pic of the owners with Molly brought tears to my far is denver from where the dogs were found? this is a story for a magazine or some other dog related venue!!! wow, i'm going back to read it again...:)
    so glad K is doing better! i see many animals with pancreatitis, and you are right, it sounds benign, but is very serious....many don't leave the hospital...
    i understand the dog smell! i remember when i took my first dog Beau's body to the crematorium, i opened the box he was in and planted my face in is neck...just for one last smell....(now i'm crying) arg...
    hope your day is less eventful than previous ones!
    hugs to K too!

  8. Hi KB

    that really is a wonderful story. I am convinced you are a dog whisperer...

    Happy days

  9. Awesome awesome awesome! I got goosebumps reading about the rescue of Kelso and Molly - I can't imagine what a flood of emotions that must have been for all involved.

    And I got a good laugh about your husband's shoes. (But not too much of a laugh, because it will probably happen to me someday!)

  10. Lord KB ! Please forgive me? I've been so busy this week I haven't been getting around the blog world and I've missed so much! Poor K, I'm THRILLED she is better and has started eating!Bless her heart and yours too!
    The story of Molly and Kelso is incrediable! I hope everything goes well from here on out!
    You know I too change Vets after having Curly put to sleep. I just didn't think they showed any compassion. I was very careful choosing Pediatric doctors for my children so I'm careful with Vets for my dog children too!! I love the new Vet, he is Hubby's cow Vet also. xoxo give K & R hugs!

  11. Why'd you make me cry on a Friday?!!

  12. I was checking up on K and see that you have more awesome news and most awesome news. PERFECT!!!

  13. Several people have asked me if the lost dogs traveled all the way from Denver, a very dangerous proposition due to many busy roads. They didn't. They were hiking with their humans in the mountains a fair distance from here. Next to a loud creek, they wandered too far. Their humans think that the creek drowned out their calls.

    Based on where their humans last saw them, it seems that they probably traveled almost entirely in the forest, through creeks, and up and down incredibly steep and rocky slopes to get here.

    They weren't dehydrated so they must have stayed near creeks for water most of the time. Smart.

    It was incredible to find them, and to discover that they have really responsible and loving humans. It wasn't due to neglect that they got lost.

    I must say that I was glad that someone (KKS) understood the 'loving your dog's scent' thing.

    I'm glad that people got some snickers out of the two different shoes event!

    Most of all, it was incredibly rewarding to find those lost dogs. I'm glad that the story touched other people as much as the event touched me!

  14. HaRooooo! We were sent over by Khyra to your blog.
    Maw's eyes are furry leaky right now.
    Such happy tears fur your happy ending.
    Sending sibe vibes fur K to feel better.

    Husky kisses,

  15. What a beautiful story! Thank goodness Molly and Kelso made it home to their humans safely. There must be angels in Colorado because they were certainly watching over those two puppies!

  16. What a great ending to what must of been a nerve-wracking experience for that family! And I totally get the hugging, dog sniffing thing. Sometimes Java's feet smell like corn chips but with the wet grass, they now smell like...well, wet grass. Her hair (when she hasn't just rolled in manure) smells like fresh air, with a tinge of orange if she's been shampooed recently. And she has fresh doggy breath. She carries the places she's visited on her and I find that comforting for some reason. Don't even get me going on horsy smells...

  17. Glorious is the perfect way to describe it!! Those are the kinds of days that give us hope and heal hearts. Unforgettable to say the least.

    As for K's pancreatitis....Denali had it too with a pancreatic abscess that had the vet extremely concerned. A week without eatng but thankfully he kept drinking and came through just fine. It's scary, scary stuff. Hope the worst is over.

    Summi's Mom

  18. Woos & a-roos to yous!!! What a wonderful outcome! Our biped is leaking & laughing at the same time. We'll keep all paws crossed for your dear K's recovery.

    Woos & a-roos,
    Star & Jack a-aroo

  19. I am just catching up on blogs after getting way behind, but what a wonderful story. I love happy endings!


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