Photos and text copyright Romping and Rolling in the Rockies 2009-2017.

All photographs and text within this blog are copyrighted.

You may not copy or repost any photos or text without specific permission from the author of this blog. When in doubt, please ask.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A murky day

Somehow, I've slept so soundly for the past few nights that, according to my husband, I didn't even jolt awake when the dogs exploded into barking at the local coyote pack's howling concert. But, last night, the sound of K licking her lips and standing up snapped me out of a deep sleep. It happened twice, followed by gagging both times. Uh oh, I thought - that's what you get for being so happy yesterday.

I talked with my vet this morning who prescribed new meds for acid reflux and nausea (for K, not me!). Both of these problems tend to accompany pancreatitis. She was only mildly alarmed - but asked that we watch K closely today for a potential relapse. She also gave me a concrete list of signs that it's time to take K to the emergency vet. I like having such clear-cut directions. I also feel great that we now have an emergency vet who I truly trust.

So far, K seems mellow and comfortable today. She's ravenous and hasn't been sick again. She stares longingly out the windows, probably wondering why she isn't going on any adventurous bike rides or hikes these days. Oh how I wish that I could explain it to her.
I'm sure that it was excruciating for K when I took our young black lab, R, for a bike ride today. Our usual routine is that my husband takes R running and I take K mountain biking. But, our schedule was a mess so I rode with R. I froze some oatmeal in a kong to distract K while R and I departed but I'm not sure that it worked.

R was a magnificent companion on the trails. What zest that rambunctious youngster possesses! R showed me that his training is progressing fantastically. We saw two deer who ran a few steps away, stopped, pronked high in the air a couple of times, stopped... and continued to tempt poor R for about 100 yards. At first, R stood mesmerized by them, not chasing, but also not hearing me call him. Then, he snapped out of it and zipped over to me, skidding into a sit to receive his treats. My heart soared - he's truly become a responsible off-leash dog. That's why we've taken him to training classes since he was an itsy bitsy puppy - and it's working!

This photo shows how intensely he sprints to us when called.
Clouds rendered the trails ghost-like today and rain occasionally splattered us. The autumn aspens glowed in the darkened forest as R galloped ahead of me.From a high point, the Divide hid behind clouds but the forested low mountains to the east looked spooky.
I dropped R off at home after a short ride together and rolled out on my own. I saw a lot of locals out on the trails, rejoicing that we have them to ourselves again! A pair of hikers warned me that there'd been two credible mountain lion sightings a few days ago on the ridge that I was climbing. But, I decided to ride the ridge anyway. My reasoning was that I rode through that locale unscathed two days ago which was after the sightings. As I rolled along the spine of the ridge, I scanned for animals, scat, and tracks. I saw no lion signs but lots of other animals had been wandering along that ridge!

It was worth climbing the ridge because the view of cloudy eastern hills awed me. Usually, I gaze at the high rocky mountains to our west - my favorites. But, they were invisible, shuttered by clouds. The forested smaller mountains (9,000' or so) to the southeast looked surreal.
The floating clouds accentuated the layers of peaks, starting with nearby rounded mountains and ending with the cliffs that plummet to the plains. Beyond that, the world is almost perfectly flat, all the way to Kansas.
As I rode, I mulled over K's health situation. I realized how much I wanted K's health to be an open and shut case, not a murky morass like the forest was today. I want the vet to be able to tell me exactly what will happen and when, and then, in a short time, I want the drama to be finished. However, from kind emails, my research, and my vet's words, I'm learning that pancreatitis, especially when complicated by seemingly out-of-control hypothyroidism, is hard to control or predict.

I need to learn to roll with the punches and not sweat every setback. Unfortunately, that laid-back attitude doesn't suit my personality when it comes to my dogs' health. It's especially difficult to adopt that attitude because because our dog, S, died so recently. Presently, I see death around every corner, leading me to react strongly to signs of health problems.

Perhaps I'll learn a whole new lesson from K as we navigate this illness. My incredible dog trainer, Gigi Moss, likes to say that each dog enters our lives for a reason - for some new nugget of wisdom that they'll give us. K has already taught me about how to be patient and not pushy when she goes through a fearful phase - and through that lesson, I've also learned to be kinder to myself when I'm afraid of something. Perhaps I'll now learn how to be patient in the face of illness. It's a long shot but maybe...


  1. what do you mean by "pronk"?

  2. Dear Anonymous: A 'pronk' is a gait used by deer where they jump into the air with all four hooves leaving the ground at the same time. Then, they land on all four hooves simultaneously, and repeat the process for a bunch of strides. I've only seen deer do it, not other animals.

  3. I love the mountains when the clouds hang low. I know you must feel so sorry for K who cannot understand why she is left behind.

    I'm surprised that your veterinarian hasn't recommended a prescription diet for the interim while you wait for a consult with the canine nutritionist. I know that both Hill's and Iams produce special low fat diets for dogs with pancreatitis. That oatmeal is going to get boring pretty quickly. Hope she can increase her diet soon.

  4. Not listening to woo khall him?

    He doesn't look like a Siberian ;-)

    ANYWAY, Mom and I know how diffikhult it must be but all woo khan do fur now is keep doing all woo are doing...we khan't khontrol evFURRYthing!

    My mom is a Virgo and that is hard khoncept fur her to grasp!

    The scenery was beaWOOtiful again! Tank woo fur sharing!


  5. NCMountainWoman: Thanks for the mention of the Science diet Rx food for pancreatitis. My vet has discussed it with me. The problem is that K appeared to be allergic to corn when she was young. We're hesitant to subject her GI tract to possible irritant right now. But, we may have no choice but to try it for the short term.

    Khyra: I think that I'm learning your language! I know I can't control every furry thing, but I sure wish that I could! Tanks for your furry advice.

  6. Poor K....she is already sick physically and now sick at heart about being left behind! :(
    Beautiful ride you had!

  7. Great Blog. I am sorry to hear about K's condition though. Some low fat cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, shredded chicken or boiled hamburger is a good addition to the oatmeal. You can also consider sweet potatoes as a good healthy carbohydrate to replace rice. Here is a link that might provide some good information for you about ongoing feeding and supplements for pancreatitis

    I would also recommend consulting a homeopathic vet. I was very skeptical of that as well but the success of a friends dog got me to try with my old yellow girl and the difference has been quite impressive. She has a chronic liver problem and some possible kidney issues that have greatly improved.

    Good luck for continued good health for K.

  8. Boy, do I know that lip-smacking sound! I'm sorry she is still up and down with how her tummy feels.

    I'm still confident that she is on the mend, though. It'll just take time.

  9. i now how you feel...when it is your own precious loved one, it can be very frightening....the thought of losing them can be overwhelming...hang in there, take some deep breaths, long bike rides, and love her up as much as you can, and think positive....hope all is back to "normal" soon.....

  10. Pancreatitis took my Starr from me at the tender age of three. It was an acute onset - I lost her in less than 24 hours. My heart is with you and your dear dog as you fight this rotten disease.

  11. Thanks to everyone for your supportive comments. This event has been nerve-racking!

    Scout'n Freyja: I am so sorry to hear about Starr. I could tell that my vet was very worried at first. She's still worried, but about the long-term rather than the short-term (at least that's my impression).

    Also, Teri, thanks for the website suggestion. K's grain allergies (except oats) are making figuring out a diet much more difficult. I'm heading to your link right now!

    Carol and Roxanne: I always appreciate your input and support!

  12. That first photo sure does capture the "longing" look.

    Finding the right diet is tough. I remember the struggle I had with feeding Willow with her kidney problems. She didn't like the prescription food so I made my own low protein food with rice, veggies, oil, and a little meat for taste. I know you'll get it figured out, since you have a lot of experience with making your own dog food.

    And I also believe that each dog comes into our lives for a reason. Java brings energy and fun into my life at a time when I really need the comic relief.

    What a blessing they are!

  13. I love that first zany picture of K! It's so hard when an active dog needs rest - sad but necessary to leave them behind. Patience - good for all of us to practice.


If you are a Blogger registered user, you can skip the step asking you to verify that you are not a spammer. For posts older than 5 days, I have comment moderation turned on.

Thanks for your comments!!!!!