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Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Duo Plays

The Duo have been playing together, with K remaining lying down and R dancing around her. They usually don't frolic indoors very much so it's wonderful to see.
After playing, they snuggled together. Throughout each day, R regularly checks on K, sniffing her head and then her bad leg. Purple Octopus always oversees their play and naps.
Meanwhile, I've spent time with each of the Duo separately. K and I take short walks. Now, as we go to the door, she lifts her paw and waits for me to put on her cast protector. The vet will change her cast tomorrow so it looks a little frayed now.
I love my morning strolls with K the most. The forest is peaceful and dappled in sunshine.
 The sun lays so low in the sky that K's head makes a shadow on her own body if she turns it just right.
When she hears an alien sound in the forest, her tail goes straight up and she assumes her stiff, "I'm the boss", posture. It's a posture that always seems out of place for gentle K. We've noticed that this posture is one of her main tools around the house in getting R or other dogs to do as she wishes. When her tail goes straight up, they follow her orders.
I have continued my intensive training with R, both for the sake of the better behavior that comes out of it, and because his obsessive-compulsive tendencies diminished almost immediately after I started the program. His water drinking has decreased dramatically, a huge relief for us. One of the games that we're playing is that we hide a toy at sometime in the day when he's not looking. Then, when he starts a water-drinking binge, we ask him to find the toy. With a little prodding, he'll stop drinking and start searching. The hope is that, after many repetitions, he'll respond to the urge to binge drink by finding a toy instead. For now, we have to prompt that behavior.

As part of his training, I'm giving him more mental challenges such as learning some agility. I started with the teeter-totter propped on wood blocks so that it was almost level. Now, I've decreased the blocks to about 9" thickness, and he's still very comfortable with teetering! Here, he started across our home-made teeter-totter.
And, after successfully crossing it, he decided to sit for the photo! That's fine with me for now. I'm having a blast teaching such an eager pupil!
We've also been practicing recalls and other basic training in all sorts of settings but the forest is my favorite training ground.
My mountain bike rides have mostly been solitary and contemplative affairs. I've been seeking the deep forest, where I mingle with the animals but don't see other people. I'm suffering from withdrawal - I truly miss my mountain biking with K. During my solitary rides, my mind wrestles with worries about whether she'll ever be able to return to it. Hopefully, I'll eventually reach peace with the notion of no more mountain biking with K - and be pleasantly surprised if she can run with me.

This is the kind of trail that I've been frequenting. Many more bobcats, lions, and bears travel this trail than people.
Despite my tinge of melancholy on my bike rides, I still get shocked into a happier frame of mind when I emerge from the forest depths to the fleeting brilliance of autumn.
Life is such a mix of happiness and sadness simultaneously. With age, I'm learning that's the way life is, and I can't change it. My dogs remind me to enjoy the good in each moment. Indeed, in that first photo of K, she's playing like a puppy despite her bad paw. Carpe Diem!


  1. Carpe Dieme it is!

    Carrie The Pibble on Khyra's blog today is proof of that!

    I love the Labraduo on the bed together!

    Glad to see the games are helping with R's water drinking!

  2. I love R going for the smack down in the first picture.

    Whenever Kona has been too sick to get out to the trails, I end up running in the neighborhood. It just feels weird to go without her, so I applaud you for getting outside without your biking partner. That's got to be hard.

    I hope your forest continues to shock in the happiness.

  3. We are always amazed at how the dogs can recognize when another is in need of special attention.

    We surely hope that K will heal well and be able to resume her place at your side on the trail.

  4. I love that first picture of the duo! R looks like he's thinking about laying the smack down and then thinking better of it. They're always so cute sleeping together.

    That is so interesting that R is turning around so fast with the training. How do you know how much water to let him have versus when he's drinking obsessively? I'd think that would be really hard because, well, they have to drink some, but I'd have no idea how much they need to have as opposed to how much is too much.

  5. I love the way you express your feelings. I too have a strong need for solitude and the forest. I love what you are doing with R and all the agility training and that he is so eager. How great that his water obession curbing with the extra training. Dogs are notorious healers, they know what both of you need and will selflessly comply. I'm so glad K is able to take walks so soon, that is wonderful.

  6. In the third photo down, it shows (a great face pic of K for one thing) her foot sticking out of the end of the cast. I thought the foot was totally covered with the cast. I will be anxious to hear what your vet finds tomorrow.
    Maybe if she can go back on the trail with you, she can wear bootees like the sled dogs do to protect their feety feets.

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and Stella

  7. Hi there! Catching up here.... Hoping that the missing doggies were found. A bit scary!
    Big hugs to resting/recovering K! Such a sweetie pie. Wonderful that R is taking so well to agility!! Thinking of starting SR on some fun agaility courses. Need to stay inspired :)
    Beautiful fall colors, can imagine the amazing trails this time of year!

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  8. such wonderful pics of R and K playing! seems like K is settling in to her cast routine....and R seems to really like all the extra time and training you are spending with him!
    such gorgeous autumn pictures...soon there will be snow and K will be out of her cast, and able to run again....

  9. Smiling at K and R's play.

    Glad you're getting out into the forest. It is such a beautiful place.

    Looks like R IS a very willing and able pupil! What fun :)

    Waggin at ya,

  10. you gave me some great ideas for my pups too... Loki's bored out of his skull. i need to do some agility with them. after our final shipment comes on monday, i will get down to business and build up a fancy course like you!

    hope K gets better. she's so thoughtful.

  11. Indeed! Hopefully everything works out for dear Miss K so that she can run with you asap.

    R is very smart! I would be bored of training by now...


  12. Your statement that life is a mix of happiness and sadness simultaneously struck a chord with me. It's kind of frustrating that when some wonderful things are happening and I'm having so much fun, there still seems to be a tinge of sadness that I just can't shake.


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