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Thursday, July 15, 2010

My small contribution

For my wonderful Acadia, now departed for seven years but never far from my heart. I spotted these flowers on the day of her death and thought that they were heralding her passage into heaven. 'Til we meet again...
Thank goodness, since that sad day, more dogs have filled my heart with love. Our current pack, K and R, make me smile every single day. In the photo below, they did a recall from across our wildflower-packed meadow. K followed so closely on R's heels that they appear to be a black lab with a chocolate tail!
Today has been dubbed a "Be a change for animals" day. I think that my contribution, however small, to this cause is to encourage people to train their dogs, using happy and humane methods, so that their dogs can have full and interesting lives. If dogs are trained, they won't be banished to the back yard or the basement but can be an integral part of their humans' lives. I hope that this notion is apparent in the stories that I tell in this blog.
I know for a fact that many dogs who have "good homes" in fact sit in the yard all day every day and get fed daily. While those dogs don't need to be "rescued" in the traditional sense, I always feel my heart sink when I see them, wishing that someone would coax them to their full potential so that they could have more fun in life. Just like us, they have only one life to live and deserve the chance to live it to the fullest. I think that my regular readership doesn't need to hear this... but maybe someone else will stumble across my blog and be inspired by my stories of adventures with my dogs.

Today, K and I went for a morning mountain bike ride, enjoying blue skies, warm sun, and stunning wildflowers while the runners, including R, had their own adventure. K and I stopped to bask in the glory of summertime!
As I thought about Acadia today, I was struck by how unique each dog is. K is so different from any dog I've ever had in my life. She's easily scared, very sensitive, and needs frequent confidence boosts. I can see these traits in her body language in the photo below. She seems to be asking "What do you want me to do? Just tell me, and I'll gladly comply." I've never before had such a eager-to-please dog as K.
Upon arriving home from our ride, I checked on our flycatcher family under the deck. Last night, the quartet of nestlings snuggled in the cup nest sitting on a tray under our deck. I peeked through the deck boards to capture an instant when a parent arrived with a fly in his/her beak and offered it to the young ones.
Last night, I heard the whir of the nestlings practicing flapping their wings from below the deck boards, and I thought that they'd fly soon, perhaps today. So, this morning, when K and I returned from our mountain bike ride, I initially felt a little sad when I saw the nest itself empty. Then, I realized that the babies had moved to a different section of the tray, where they weren't in the nest itself. Below, a parent perched on the nest and fed the little ones who sat on the bare tray behind the nest.
I think that these youngsters will depart in the next day or two. Every year, I have bittersweet feelings when I see them flutter away. I miss watching the family when they're gone but I know that the fledglings have made a huge step toward surviving to adulthood. In that spirit, I cheer them on!


  1. I'm sure Acadia is quite touched by the tribute!

    Thanks for sharing it!

  2. What a great contribution to "change" day. I am sure Acadia is honored.

    P.S. - It does tickle the hu-dad that someone who handles the labraduo, maintains a spectacular blog, can program unmanned cameras, and ride mountain bikes on rough trails - can't get a printer to work. Chuckling.

  3. The flycatcher photos are awesome, KB! I would love to have nestlings so close. The Fairy Trumpet is a beautify reminder of Acadia. What are those tall pale blue flowers in the aspen grove? They look too tall to be Columbine. I enlarged but still couldn't tell. That grove is a very lovely spot! I agree - a well-trained dog is a pleasure to have as a companion.

  4. The photo of K walking on the path through the aspens and the blue flowers is so special, I love it.

  5. I always get misty when people talk of their departed pets, since I know how much it hurts to lose one so special to you.

    I, too, hope that more people get involved with dog training and give their dogs not only their basic physiological needs, but go beyond that and work them both mentally and physically. Training creates a bond that I believe can be created no other way!

  6. And still they live on in our hearts and come when we call...

  7. Great post! I grew up with animals but never knew the depth of bond possible until Kone came along. It's blogs like yours that have encouraged me (and keep encouraging me) to work with my special pup because I can see how immense are the rewards! I think your contribution to "change day" is perfect!

  8. Kia ora KB,
    I have been awhile with work and unable to access online as I would have liked, so it has been wonderful to sit down with a coffee on Saturday morning and before I head to the markets and catch up with all your wanderings. I am happy to read your holiday was a success, with new vistas and campsites, storms to be caught in, and of course, great companionship.
    I would also like to write that in my opinion it is no small contribution you offer to both our anuimal friends, and to us your readers. It is a big one, and an important one to those of us who love nature and are inspired by your journey. As I head into these last few weeks of being in my 40's I have a few trips of my own planned - a real test for the new hip, but I can't wait. Kia kaha KB.

  9. We didn't know your Acadia, but it is obvious how much she was loved.

    Too bad the little birds have to leave so soon - it is so interesting to watch them grow and learn.

  10. Can you tell i'm randomly making my way through your "summer" posts?

    it's funny that i just read what you wrote: "What do you want me to do? Just tell me, and I'll gladly comply." , because i just left another comment about that very thought prior to reading this! now that i read about K's personality, she sounds so much like Loki without the cracker defense drive he has. in fact that Loki makes that very expression, sort of a dropped head below shoulders, a slightly hunched back... yup, i know it well. and he wants to comply pretty badly too. for the most part, he's pretty well behaved. he still has some snarkiness mainly with, sigh, big dark dogs, such as choco or black labs. sigh. double sigh. don't know why. prolly something long before me. or maybe it's the face that he can't see. he's fine with GSD's oddly. he's not fine with danes, mastifs, etc. then again, he was fine with a white dane. so i can only assume he's color discriminate! anyway, once he knows a dogs, he's fine with them, but he's always a "bark first, make friends second" dork. he'd like K i think!


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