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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The bad and the good

One comment yesterday summed up how I really feel deep in my heart. My good friend Stella said "I know its right for her, but I always feel sad for K when its time for her to go home and rest her foot. She wants to be with you! No, not R but her!".

I couldn't agree more. However, I fear that K and I are entering a new era of our life. I fear that our days of mountain biking together are over - without us even knowing at the instant when we set out on our last ride. I could be wrong - but I'm mentally preparing myself for that possibility. Part of that mental preparation is figuring out how I can have happy days without K by my side on the trails. It sounds cold-hearted but it's part of what I need to do.

Just after K hurt her paw and stopped joining me on the trails, some Grateful Dead lyrics spiraled and echoed in my mind.

Well the first days are the hardest days
don't you worry any more.
'cause when life looks like easy street,
there is danger at your door.

It's true - tough days seem to hit "when life looks like easy street". It's also true the first days of any huge change are the hardest days. My heart cries for K every single day because she probably has no idea what precipitated this earth-shattering change in our life. Moreover, at the very same time as K was condemned to a cast and complete rest, R started needing intensive attention to deal with his obsessive-compulsive disorder. For R, the only alternatives were drugging him or sending him to live with a behaviorist for a while so that she could work on curbing his dangerously obsessive drinking. I didn't like those options so I embarked on a re-training program with him.

But, the bottom line is that, from K's viewpoint, she's been dumped, and R has taken her place. She has no idea why her rest and his attention both changed at the same time. But, maybe she understands more than I think...
I rarely let my mind go down that entire road of thinking because it's too heartbreaking. I'm trying very hard to find the good in each day and not fall into a black hole of sadness. I do what I can to show K that she's still my special girl, and no one can take her place. We play sedentary games, like me asking K to pick out her octopus toy from the pile of dog toys. And, we snuggle. And, I fill kongs with treats and freeze them for K to work on during the day.
Today, R and I took a short ride together. My bike-riding time with R has been a wonderful gift from the Runner who has been limiting R's running time to make room for my short rides with R. Although I miss K, R can cheer me up. His energy is contagious.
And his training is improving by leaps and bounds. A side note - his excessive water drinking that started after a stressful dog visit last Friday night finally abated yesterday. Whew.
In the photo below, he was ahead of me on the trail, and I asked him to "wait", mainly because I wanted to take a photo. He literally skidded to a halt on the carpet of aspen leaves.
After I left R at home, I went to the land where the wildlife rules. I love riding these isolated trails and exploring for new trails and signs of wildlife.
I passed my favorite tree, an aspen that has been clawed and climbed by black bears for generations. The black claw marks are old ones while the fresh reddish scars are from this year or last.
Then, as I rode up this stupendously gorgeous trail, I happened to look down. Voila, fresh bear scat.
It was the first sign of bear activity that I've seen in my neck of the woods in weeks. The scat was filled with kinnikinnick berries, from a ground-hugging shrub that dominates sections of our forest floor. The berries looked barely digested.
At least some of these berries stay on the shrub for almost a year. My K loves nibbling on them when we hike.
As I finished my ride, I noticed how much red suffuses the leaves of smaller bushes. While the treetops glow with gold, the ground emanates red. This leaf is from a wild geranium plant and will be completely rouge soon!
Yes, I found beautiful and good things in my day but, believe me, I never forgot K resting and healing at home.


  1. Not forever...
    Just for now...

    Her will to go along with you will help her healing - and you'll just know to temper things a bit going forward...

    Thanks for sharing the great pics and observations as well!

  2. Your comments about the look on K's face reminds me of Dakota when I stopped taking her for long walks. She would get to go first with me alone, and then I would take the other two for a longer walk. She seemed to know that she really couldn't make that longer walk, but the look on her face was pitiful.

    We all know the power of the paw, and so maybe with all of our pups' paws crossing, we can work a miracle for K to completely recover and be good as she ever was or better.


  3. Do you see the flower in that photo of K's eye ?

  4. Yes, I see the flower in K's eye, how beautiful!

    We love K, and know that when an active dog gets sick or laid up, they get depressed not because of pain but that they just don't know where the magic has gone. Its easy to see you are doing everything you can to help her, and like OP Mom, I am all for some Power of the Paw for her! We have no wish to make you feel worse about this, but we feel bad too and just needed to express our feelings.

    All things better soon!

    Stella and Jo

  5. My Calhoun can't hike anymore. He's only 4.5 yrs old. I ocassionally take him on the neighborhood walk but he can barely make it home. My heart hurts for him also. He feels left out. He gets excited when he sees the leashes come out. I've decided that the best thing I can do for him is provide other special things and one on one time. I totally understand your heartbreak.

  6. Oh KB...
    These are such hard times for you!
    It's impossible to know or to explain it all...sometimes we just have to 'be' the moment.
    Angus has given a hint to a possible way forward...not to analyse too much, not to think too much, but just to experience and appreciate the tiniest things that offer us joy. When I was at my worst, it was Max's fur....look at the beauty in K's fur!
    Behind the lens of a camera is the best place because we automatically seek out that which is good, beautiful and wonderful and we focus on it!
    Sending lotsaluv

  7. I'm sure I'd offer the same bittersweet sentiment were I in your shoes...

  8. I love that photo of K's eye. Beautiful.

    I'm sure K can read your heart better than you think. Plus, she is super smart. I'd bet she had combined the cast with the change in running habits.

    And, if you think it would help, just talk to her and tell her what's going on and how you feel and that you know she must be sad, etc.

  9. My instincts tell me that K's days of accompanying you on the trails are not over, just on hiatus. After a good winter's rest, I'm betting she'll be able to go for a while longer. Her drive to be with you is strong enough that I'm betting she will will herself to be better. And even if she can't run with you while you ride, I'm sure she'll still be able to go walking and hiking with you. I think it will all work out okay in the end for both of you!

  10. Alright, this may be selfish, but I'm not ready for K to not run with you. Your days of romping aren't over yet.

    You're both strong. You and your dogs together have shown the ability of the body to heal. Our paws are crossed until K is out there again.

  11. I ached right along with you reading this. I hate it when our 4-legged friends hurt and life changes for them. It's so hard because we don't have the power of language to say "this is only temporary" or "you're still my #1." but I'd say you're doing a darn good job and I'm sure she knows it.

    I love that e-photo of K. It's gorgeous. art worthy i think.

  12. Kia ora KB,
    My thoughts are with you both. Gather strength.
    "Stephen may prosper in his time
    Well he may and he may decline
    Dit it matter? Does it now?
    Stephen would answer if he only knew how". St. Stephen - Grateful Dead
    Kia kaha KB.

  13. The operative word is that K is in repairing her must believe that without question. We came by to add our woofs of encouragement and healing strength to the Circle who is focusing all its energy on K. Believe in the Power of the Paw and trust that K is a fighter. You know her soul, believe in her.

  14. The Woo's asked us over and we want you to know that we are praying with the power of the paw that K recovers completely!

    It isn't over yet, and don't give up hope. If you want to feel sad for you, do, but don't let K know you're sad. Walks will return - maybe not runs, but walks for sure!

    I want to share with you Sweetie's blog. If this dog can recover fully, K can, I just know it.

    Positive thoughts!!

    Barbara, Trixie and Minnie

  15. My woofie friends the woos sent out a message that you need the power of the paws. You got my purs comming your way. The power of the paws is a very awesome thing. I love your blog and will be back to see how the lovely woofie goes on. I think the will to be out there with you will help so much.. Hugs GJ and Carol x

  16. Hi K, We totally understand how difficult it is for you. But like the OP Pack says, we have faith in the power of the paw...We wish n pray with all our hearts that you will recover fully and be free again to run in your lovely countryside.
    Wags n Hugs n licks,
    Buddy n Ginger

  17. Time and the Power of the Paw are both magical things.

  18. I hope that K will be able to rejoin you but understand the need to prepare for other outcomes. I'm hoping this is just a time for you to get to know both of your dogs at a different level. They are both beautiful and wonderful dogs. I know you'll work this out and so will K. She's a wise one.

  19. Hi there! I'm new to your blog - sent over by the OP Pack - and was so moved that I nearly cried. First, you are living where I only dream to be. Your pics are breathtaking (even the one of the bear scat - I, too, get excited when I come across recognizable coyote scat. Nobody in my family understands ...). I know this is a hard time for you both, but I alsoknow that K understands deep down that it's a waiting game. The canine body has a way of repairing itself that's truly miraculous. I see it every day - I'm a vet tech. Your bond together is clearly powerful and together you'll get through this. While I truly believe her non-hiking time is temporary, I also believe that whatever results, you'll love each other enough to redefine your relationship if need be.
    Kudos also on your beautiful black Lab - obsessive behavior is a tough challenge and your success should be encouraging!!
    I'm very touched by your love and commitment to your babies and I'll definitely enjoy hearing about their progress. The OP Pack was right - a gem of a blog! I'll be a daily follower!

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