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...