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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy with a dash of worry

K and I took our short stroll this morning, looking for new ways to make our 200 yard walk interesting. After all, we've been limited to 200 yards for about 10 weeks, and we've covered every square inch within that distance of our house.

If she had control of the keyboard, I think that K would report that I tortured her this morning. Out in our glorious meadow, K drank up the scents of coyotes, bobcats, deer, and elk.
Then, I asked her to balance a piece of kibble on her snout. She seemed dumbfounded at first. How on earth could she focus on a piece of kibble with dangerous predators lurking all around us? I assured her that I'd keep watch, and she eventually managed the stupendous feat of balancing a round piece of food on her nose.
And, her reward for that feat - the piece of kibble! K complained that it was hardly adequate!

We received the final pathology report on K's amputated toe yesterday. The good news was that there was no cancer found anywhere in the toe bones (the previous report was based on a small fraction of the toe). That's worth celebrating! The bad news was that the bacterial infection is a particularly nasty and opportunistic type (serratia). Moreover, we didn't get "clean margins". They always amputate one extra segment above the bone where the infection or cancer is known to be, to provide a "clean buffer" between the bad stuff and the rest of the body. Unfortunately, the pathologist found that the "extra" toe segment that they amputated had already been invaded by the bacteria. Thus, we can't know if the bacteria had already gone even further up her forelimb... I think that I'll be talking with more vets in the coming days to figure out the best next step.

I feel a mixture of emotions. I'm so relieved that there's not a trace of cancer in K's toe but I'm anxious about the infection that is still inside my sweet K. It helps my heart to see that K seems happy and stronger by the day.

After my games with K, R and I headed out for a snow bike ride. Our ride started sunny and warm. The warm air felt like a luxurious treat for this time of year. Soon, however, the clouds poured off the Continental Divide and surrounded us. Snow started pelting out of the sky.
It kept snowing hard for the rest of our ride, tapering off just as we arrived home. After leaving R at home, I pedaled out into the light snow wearing many layers of winter riding gear. That was the signal for Mother Nature to return our world to a warm and sunny place. I roasted in my stiflingly warm clothing but still had a blast out in our world. I feel so lucky to live in a place where nature surrounds me, soothing my soul, even if I do miss having K with me out in the forest.
Yesterday, I posted a photo of some tracks that I'd seen and asked for guesses about what animal it was. The funniest guess was Mango! Alas, the animal who actually laid those tracks weighs at least as much as TWO Mangos. Over the course of a week, I followed his tracks for miles and miles but eventually his huge pawprints disappeared in an area with little snow. Today, I was thrilled to learn of yet another segment of his route, satisfying my endless curiosity about our wildlife. He's a big male black bear, heading for his den for the winter. And, although it's many miles from my home, I have a pretty good idea where his den is.

In today's post, I wanted to show you lots of fun photos from tracking our bear but my internet is so slow that it's took an hour to upload each photo above (yup, that's FOUR hours of uploading for this post). So, my bear stories and photos will have to wait until tomorrow. I learned lots of fun things about a bear's life by following the big guy's tracks around our forest.


  1. K
    Don't let your mom do that too you! That balance and patience act deserves so much more than a kibble. Good news no cancer. Paws crossed the infection subsides. Eesch.

    R- You are so lucky to have snow pelt your face.

  2. Hello there!

    We are happy that K is cleared of the C sickies. We are hoping and praying that the infection is something that will be cured fast so that you and K can enjoy more walkies and have many more happy days ahead.

    Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai & Wai-Max

  3. Gah! I wanted to guess bear tracks, but I thought it was too easy! Foiled again!

    I love those close up shots of K's nose! You had much better weather than we did. We went out on a three hour hike today and got rained on for half of it.

    Four hours?! Oh, I'd be pulling my hair out!

  4. I am so happy it is not cancer. She is going to beat the infection, I just know it!

    I thought it was a bear, too! I can't wait for more tracking photos.

    Your pal, Pip

  5. Hi K! Wow! You are so talented!


  6. Nice balancing act K. I'm glad to hear that no cancer was found. Now you just have to beat that nasty infection! We'll continue to keep you in our thoughts, and hope for good reports as we check back in for updates. Be strong.

    I got it right. A bear. See, I told you I'm learning from you. Now I'm off to check out this Mango character. Have a good night.

  7. Hi KB and K & R! Loved every photo. Snooter closeups...amazing.
    KB, we have a vet here who is on email and has recovered from brain cancer himself. He is someone we always go to for the big and small questions. So, just in case you want another vet opinion....please contact us or Golden Samantha's mom.
    Hugs and lots of love to all of you. And, please blow some snow our way :)

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  8. We're glad K is feeling better and, we hope, not trying to chew on her toe as much as mentioned earlier. Glad there's no cancer. Paws crossed the antibiotic cocktail works. How can they tell if the infection is gone? Blood work? Not a bone biopsy, we hope. You and K remain in our thoughts.

    Jed & Abby

  9. Cool! Bobcats and mule deer and bears - oh my! (My friends in Boulder are eager to have the bears back in the dens so they stop raiding their trash cans...)

    Glad K seems to be successfully battling the infection. Hope things keep looking up this Thanksgiving week!

  10. I am very happy for you and K to not have to deal with Cancer. It sounds as if she is getting along fine with whatever meds she is getting now and feeling better. Thats a good sign and we will just plan for a complete recovery!

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and Stella, who both guessed the black bear!

  11. I'm so very glad it's not the treacherous Cancer! Keeping my paws crossed for the nasty infection to back off, I'm sure K will be able to beat it (with you by her side, anything is possible, I'm sure!)

    I absolutely love your wildlife stories and pictures by the way!


  12. Congratulations K on being cancer free! That is totally pawsome! Good luck with the bacteria issue. I am sure your Vet will know the best way to cure you. I am keeping my paws crossed and my human, K, and I are praying for you to heal and be back to your normal, healthy, beautiful, loving self soon!

    R, what a pawsome pose! Such a pretty pup!

    K - great balancing act!


  13. Man, it seems like K can't catch a break with that toe. So glad it isn't cancer, so sorry the infection is still raging. Where's that bobcat when you need him.

    Praying for a simple, easy solution for you. Glad you were able to get out on your bike. I understand all too well how that makes you feel better.

    Thinking of you and K

  14. That is a funny guess!

    Poor K, so tortured by you. I'll bet she understands more than we think.

    That R is practicing his boulder moments though! Very handsome!

  15. Great news about the cancer. As for the rest your title sums it up perfectly ' Happy with a dash of worry'.

  16. We are anxious to hear how K fares when you discuss this issue with other Vets - but as always we enjoyed your beautiful pictures.

    Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Ruairi

  17. so glad it isn't cancer, but am not familiar with the culture glad you are in very close contact with your Vets. Is the amputation site healing? I hope this infection stops here and no other complications arise...! i think you are doing everything you can and asking all the right questions, just keep on it constantly....if IV antibiotics are needed, you could hang out with K at the hospital during her infusions, and keep the IV cath in, you could keep it patent at home and keep K from chewing it out...just a thought...i don't know the logistics of the scene there....have you talked with anyone at CSU? or have your Vets consulted with them? I am sending positive thoughts, i just worry about the infection getting out of control without anyone's knowledge...are they doing bloodwork regularly....i know you are very knowledgeable in this area and you are on top of things, and it sounds like K is responding to the treatment....
    can't wait to hear about the bear..

  18. We too, are so glad to hear that the cancer's gone, but paws crossed that K's nasty ooky infection will heal up soon soon soon! Awful that it took 4 HOURS to upload your pix - so sorries, but they are certainly incredible as always - thank you for your patience - they bring great pleasure to so many of us! K: you are indeed patient for such a weenie treat heheh! Love those games Mom plays with both of you!

    Big Hugs xoxoxo
    Sammie and Avalon

  19. Dear K - I am very much sorry abouts being tortured as such with that piece of kibble on your nose. I mean, maybe if she'd given you a steak, that would've been worth it. But one measly little piece of kibble. Very sad.

    Dear K-Mom - I am Most Happy that there's no cancer in K. But I know that it must be skeery to know that she still has that infection. We wished upon the moon last night for her and for you!

    Wiggles & Wags

    PeeS. Are you in the part of Collie-rado that's suppoesed to get lotsa snow today? If you are, I hopes you all stay warm and cozy!

  20. Only one kibble for K? Now that's quite a ripoff don't you think? :)
    We hope the bacteria didn't spread further in K. Hope that she will heal soon.

  21. I am so relieved about the pathology report - now at least you know and can rule out some uglies. I spoke to the vet I work for and she was intrigued - mentioned something about vets at Colorodo State being especially good...I will pick her brain some more. She's an excellent doctor and I trust her abilities. Clean margins or not, she's a fighter! And her spirits seem high too!

  22. I do hope the worst of K's medical problems are behind her. Special thoughts are sent your way!

  23. Yea!! No cancer!! We wished on the moon for you all last night :-)

  24. We hope K's paw is better, we will kieep our paws crossed. The snow is going to start piling up now, so keep warm and keep close to the trails.

    Mogley G. Retriever

  25. Well, there is reason to rejoice to learn there is no cancer - that is a tough battle to wage. Let's remain hopeful that the world of medicine will be able to conquer that bacteria and let K run and roam once again. Our thoughts continue to be with you.

  26. Exciting about the bear, but my heart sank when I read about the lab reports. I, too, am so thankful it's not cancer, but I'll continue to worry now. However, I know you and K are in very good hands.

  27. One thing for certain, K isn't going to get fat on such paltry treats! Are you ready for tomorrow's big snow? I'm really surprised that those tracks weren't from Big Foot - maybe we could just name the bear that?

  28. We will take good news one step at a time, so glad to get the confirmation that no cancer exists. Good thoughts that the infection was caught and can be controlled.

  29. With the circle of paws around you and K,,,, and the knowlege the doctors have,,, well,,
    we are expecting a miracle

  30. Great news for a beautiful Girl! Fink positive and let's fight this fing... toof and nail! And I just know Sweet K will overcome!

    wif love from the Luke


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