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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sunrise ride and dog training class

At dawn, I launched myself out the door on my bike, with a headlamp leading the way. The sun still hovered below the eastern horizon.
Gradually, the sky turned pink, reflecting off the snow. For a brief instant, every tree, boulder, snowflake, and hill turned pink.
Clouds floated above and among the high mountains to the west, embued with a golden hue from the rising sun.
After the sky grew bright blue, I climbed up a packed trail. To my surprise, I found a spine lying on the snow. It was fairly fresh, with nerve fibers still coursing through its canal and out the holes in the sides of the vertebrae. Finding a backbone felt ironic given my rapidly approaching spine surgery.
A large quadruped had carried the backbone to the trail but wind had obscured the details of the tracks so I couldn't figure out whether it was a dog or a wild animal. The tracks leading to the spine marched purposefully across the windpacked snow.
As I arrived home at the end of the ride, I noticed that a bobcat had strutted across our land.
The bobcat stayed on the fringes, away from our wildlife camera. Near the corner of our property, he carefully constructed a small pile of snow. I could visualize his motions, walking in circles and kicking the snow, based on the tracks surround the pile. In the middle of the snowy hillock, he left his scent marking, a 3" long scat.
I wish he'd posed for our wildlife camera like he did previously. I'll watch to see if he uses this route regularly and perhaps put a camera next to the scent post.

After my ride, the whole pack went to dog training school. Usually, I work with K but, today, I worked with R for most of the class. It felt odd because I've had K as my dance partner in class for 6 years. I even called R by K's name repeatedly.

R is such a sweet soul. He desperately wants to make us humans happy but can barely control his exuberance for life. Even an errant feather fluttering past us prompted a leap. But, then he remembered that he was supposed to be heeling, and did a beautiful job of refocusing his attention. What a sweetheart.I worked with R partly to prepare for the post-surgery time when I might need R to heel nicely on a leash for me. I think that he's ready for that job!

Below, R approached the other dog in class very diplomatically, turning his lowered head and making his body into a "C" pointed away from the white fluffy dog.The young fluffy dog jumped all over K after a brief play session. K doesn't look too happy, does she?
Despite her look of stoic forbearance, K bounced back rapidly, looking relaxed again in the blink of an eye. That's a great sign that she not in a very fearful period.

Finally, after a long day in the city, I drove up the mountain to my peaceful home. What a wonderful feeling to have the forest surrounding me rather than concrete. I wouldn't have it any other way!


  1. Hi KB, What a beautiful pink sunrise you witnessed! I can almost feel the cold, thought the sky looks warm and inviting. That spinal column is certainly a sign of some sort - it gave me a tingle, too! K looks very forbearing as she's getting the big hug from the other dog. What a good girl! I'm thinking of you, KB. Still in Denver where it's cold - I read most of the day and then forced myself out for a few mile walk.

  2. Saw you this AM right after you took the second hoto. Big blue truck. Saw you a couple of tmes last week. Little red car.
    Its nice to see you.
    I have been working in the cold weather since the layoff and noticed as you and Meriwether did, that for some reason it seems warmer. I guess that climitisation of some sort, but it seems to happen suddenly. I've also noticed that on days when its too cold or uncomfortable for work, its just fine for play, skiing, snow biking.
    Have been doing some dog training too, with Johnny. He's really bright, listens and responds well, wants to please. There are so many thing I need to learn to make his experience solid. I have been teaching myself to pay better attention to his cues, it works so well, especially when we are BOTH trying.
    I hope 2010 brings you all the good, the peace, sureness, love and care.

  3. What are they telling you about post operation? I'm hoping I'll see a woman in church next Sunday who's been out for awhile and then returned in a neck brace. It sounds like she has the same degenerative problem you have and has also has a similar sequence of surgeries and she appears to be around your age. If I can find out anything reassuring or helpful, I'll let you know.

    Your description of R's behavior reminds me of Java. I really need to find a class where I can work on her issues with distractions and the tendency to leap in the air when excited. It's cute when I'm not attached to her but if I am...

    And if I was K and that dog was hanging on me like that, I don't think I'd be as well behaved.

    Oh, and one more thing. Thanks for the tip about the national parks. I've actually never been to one so I didn't know. I'll be looking for something more off the beaten path.

  4. Hello,
    Heard about you from Stella and stopped by to say hello.
    What beautiful pictures!
    What beautiful dogs!

  5. What message did the spinal column you found bring today??? My mother loved to "read" things that she found like that, however, I have never had any talent for it. Aren't we lucky!

    Jo and Stella, the award giver!

  6. I love the sign of the spine!

    Such great karma IMHO!

    More great pics too!

    I smiled at the 'small polar bear' wrestling R&K!

    Happy ALMOST 2010!

  7. That is one gorgeous sunrise!

    I suppose the intact spine is a sign! (I'm a poet and didn't know it!)

    K looks like she's being mauled by a bear, poor girl!

  8. i would say finding that spine is very ironic....
    very cool picture, and so fresh...wish i could see the animal actually eating it...
    K seems to be saying...can we get the heck out of here and go home to our serenity in the forest!? and R looks so anxious to please.....
    yes, you are very lucky to live in the forest...peace to you, and happy 2010....(i know it is brings a new surgery....but keep your eye on the mountain....)

  9. What a lovely description of 'R''s exuberance for life.

  10. Beautiful shots! Wow, the spine find! Loved all the photos from your ride!

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  11. I love R's face in the picture of him sitting down at class. What a cutie. He really does look like a field lab, you're right. Bears some semblance to the obedience champion I spoke about in my last post, with those long legs and sweet face.

    Have a Happy New Year, and here's looking toward getting past that surgery and on to more adventures!

  12. The irony of finding a spine is wonderful. Love the way you write your blog.


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