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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Puppy breath

We went trick-or-treating with our favorite astronauts in the big city last night. The dogs escorted us and weren't even slightly freaked out by the hordes of children in crazy costumes. When K was young, she showed myriad signs of being a fearful puppy so we'd dress up in crazy outfits, with ski helmets, crazy hats, ski goggles, umbrellas, backpacks... you name it, and we probably did it to prevent her from developing life-long fears. So, I was secretly very pleased that she was unflappable around the Halloween craziness last night.
Later in the night, as we slumbered, a coyote visited our clearing for the first time since the snow piled so deep, profoundly hindering backcountry travel. I bet that life's been tough for him over the past few days. I wonder where the rest of his pack was? I also wonder what they did while the loose and powdery snow almost completely halted travel.I woke up early this morning, determined to avoid a mudfest bike ride like yesterday's. I saw almost every runner and mountain biker from our neighborhood, all out on the road in a race against the sun. Every single one of us had the same story from yesterday, and we were determined not to repeat it!

I rode up to a locale where hunters swarmed yesterday but today I saw none. About ten trucks parked next to this sign yesterday. The bullet holes in the sign tell the story.I noticed that less snow fell up higher, the opposite of our usual trend. Due to the shallower snow, the monster trucks had driven back into the forest. I was dying to ride my bike in their tracks but I had neither my blaze orange jacket (to alert hunters to my presence) nor my snow bike with super wide tires. Maybe tomorrow... it's worth another visit to explore how far those truck tracks might take me.Without the preoccupation of guns hanging out of truck windows, I relaxed and enjoyed the mountains shimmering in the sun.
I saw the huge two-toed tracks of our elk herd, following a gulch where willows flourish. The elk had voraciously eaten willow branches and aspen bark. In places, they'd also dug down to grass with their sharp hooves and grazed. I hope that the herd stays on private property to keep them safe from those roving trucks.

After a hammer-fest hard ride, I returned home and took K for a sojourn in the forest. Her enthusiasm permeated the air! She ran so hard that she churned tiny snow balls upward, and the sun made them glow.We tromped a trail up to Hug Hill, our favorite local look-out. As we approached the summit, K's body language broadcasted that someone else was on the peak.
In fact, I met a couple of neighbors who had three dogs with them, one of whom was a 10 week old preciously cute Border Collie, Lupa. K seems to 'shrink' around puppies, making herself seem small and non-threatening. The puppy responded to K's gentleness by sticking to her like glue. Lupa inquisitively checked me out and then climbed into my arms. When she showered me with kisses, I discovered that she had puppy breath! Real, honest-to-goodness sweet puppy breath. I held her and drank up that treasured scent.

Does anyone know what causes puppy breath? Even vets acknowledge its existence. When K was a tiny puppy, every single vet in our practice popped into our exam room with happy greetings of "Puppy Breath!". They wanted to hold her and drink up the scent.

After the puppy and her family descended, K and I gazed at our mountains, enjoying the awe-inspiring view.A slight breeze blew off the Divide but the sun's rays soaked us in warmth. We sat together, treasuring the quiet. Although puppy breath is unbelievably sweet, the deep bond that a girl and her dog build over years together is even sweeter.
We descended toward home, having enjoyed another rich day in our forest and mountains.


  1. Oh my!

    I love the sproinky flying K pikh!


    PeeEssWoo: Ah yes: Puppy Breath! Mom got THREE doses of it earlier today!

  2. there is something to be said about puppy breath...i too love puppy kisses, and don't mind my dogs breath either!
    looked like a magical day in the forest....
    i always feel bad for wild animals...(and some domestic ones for that matter) during severe weather...hoping they are safe and not too hungry....
    animals are amazing creatures with a will to survive unlike any other...

  3. Puppy breath is the most amazing smell and is so incredibly awesome. Apparently domesticated dogs took on "cute" looks to be sure to be adopted into the early nomadic humans, so maybe puppy breath is the accompanying perfume to assure that the offspring would be included.

  4. Good job, K and R, for being so good on Halloween! It's definitely one of the harder days for some dogs to get through.

    I admit, I don't think I've ever smelled puppy breath. I think I want to, though.. just no puppies around!

  5. It is so wonderful to see K running with such enthusiasm and vigor. Loved the churning snow photograph. And all the others, of course.

  6. Thanks KB for a lovely full post again today! - puppy breath, halloween, coyotes, biking in the hill, doggie enthusiasm and relationships. You have it all, and its all beautiful!

  7. I'm going to spend the rest of this Monday gazing at that last pic. Winter rides are great - and so few partake...

  8. Beautiful pictures of K and your snowy peaks KB! We left Breck yesterday to spend this week in Denver so my husband can road bike. Most snow is melted on the bike path - I ran 8 miles this AM, something no longer possible in the Mts. (Unless I use snowshoes!)

  9. Nothing in the world quite like the exhilaration of puppy breath - we hope to experience one of these days if we can get the humans to help.

    What a great ride you had, love the photos, especially the one of K with the snow flying all around.

    That last photo is breathtaking.

    woos, the OP Pack


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