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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sunrise and K's paw lump

Yesterday evening, K started licking at her amputation site fiendishly. I looked and saw a very new lump up high on her paw where the metacarpal bone was surgically severed.
The sight of that lump made me feel instantly nauseous out of fear of a resurgent infection. K is still taking a potent antibiotic cocktail but an infection didn't seem out of the question.

Because I knew that today's schedule was going to be determined by the packed appointment books of vets, K and I headed out for our morning hike at first light. The lump on her paw didn't seem to hurt her during walking - so I decided that we should seize the day.

As we headed out, the rising sun set the treetops ablaze while the lower branches remained dark, waiting for their turns to shine.
We hiked straight up to the top of our little world, Hug Hill. K hasn't set paw there in close to 3 months, since the day that she suddenly developed a heinous limp. Today, she tugged at the leash, eager to reclaim our little summit.

As we arrived, the eastern horizon dawned into a streaked canvas of oranges and reds overlaid on the dark clouds high above the earth.
We sat and watched as the sun inched higher in the sky until its warm rays caressed our faces. The rising sun highlighted the ephemeral rusty hue of K's chocolate fur. At that instant, I was happy that we'd taken the advice of a friend and seized this day - the only one that really matters.
After basking in the sunrise, we headed downhill toward home. The forest was quiet with only the sounds of my boots crunching on refrozen snow reverberating among the trees. Then, as we walked, I heard a crackling sound from overhead, like a gentle fire burning a pile of kindling. As I scanned for the source, I realized that the Douglas Fir Tree that we stood next to had at least a hundred Red Crossbills furiously extracting seeds from the cones.

As I angled for a photo with my weak lens, many of the orange-red males and yellow females flew to higher branches. One handsome gentleman stayed still, allowing me a quick photo.
We see these birds sporadically, usually in the winter. They follow the cone crop so they'll descend on our forest for a brief period and then disappear for a year.

It turned out that due to K's vet appointment, I didn't have much time to ride my mountain bike. However, in the brief loop that I pedaled, I ran across another segment of the mountain lion's travels. He'd taken a big loop to the east between where I first spotted his tracks on Sunday and then saw them again on Monday.

The first set that I saw was melted out and looked huge compared to the ones that I saw on previous days. At first, I wondered if yet another lion had recently passed through our neighborhood.
However, when I found one that was not in the sun, I realized that it was indeed the same mountain lion.
In the section of his path that I followed today, he sneaked almost underneath someone's deck! As I skirted the private property boundary, I heard dogs barking and then saw them in a small fenced yard next to where the lion had walked. Oh my, I thought - I wonder if the owners know what danger those dogs might have been in.

I've now seen about 5 miles of the arduous route taken by the lion. I've never followed the tracks of a mountain lion so far, and it gives me a sense of amazement to know how hard a lion works to find his prey. He takes many steps with his huge paws in between meals. He also passes up easy targets in the human neighborhoods and relentlessly searches for deer or elk instead.

At the end of my short ride, I hurried home to take K to the vet. We learned that the lump is either the bone infection rearing its ugly head again or a bruise. We're going to watch the lump for a few days to see if it shrinks as rapidly as a bruise should. If it doesn't improve quickly, we'll start heading down a diagnostic and treatment road that I'd rather not contemplate. For now, I'm trying to assume that it's a bruise!


  1. Oh, how horrible! Will be keeping my paws crossed that it's a bruise, and nothing else!


  2. Great shots and tales of THE tail -

    BUT more importantly, paws and fingers crossed it is a bruise -

    Given her extra 'freedom' recently, the bruise is surely a good theory -

  3. Such beautiful photos. Hope babys foot is okay.
    Benny & Lily

  4. oh gosh! Mom & I will be crossing fingers and paws that its just a silly bruise!!

    wags, wiggles & slobbers

  5. Stella and I have decided it will be a bruise too. Then we will have K continue in her recovery! The way its gotta be!

    Stella and Mom

  6. We are sure hoping that K Lump is just a Bruise! Keeping all paws crossed here in NH for her. Love all the pictures, very pretty.

  7. All fingers and paws are crossed here that it's just a bruise. xoxo

  8. Oh dear, not what we wanted to see. We are just going to declare it to be a bruise - just HAS to be. Meanwhile we will use our powers of the paws once again to hope for the very best for K and you.

    Lots of hugs coming your way.

  9. I've been worrying about you and K since I saw your comment on the blog this morning! I have my fingers tightly crossed that it's just a bruise. It does seem possible that she could have overdone something.

    I'll be watching to hear more news!

  10. My paws is crossed fur K and more puppy prayers is heading her way too.

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  11. I'm glad you were able to get out and "seize the day". It can be tough at times. I'm pulling for both of you.

  12. In your case "seize the day may be better stated as "seize the trail".

    Paws and eyes crossed for K.

    Mogley G. Retriever

  13. The pictures of the trees are beautiful! I had to sit here and stare at them for a few moments:)

    I am keeping K in my thoughts and hoping hard that it is also just a bruise.

  14. It MUST be a bruise!

    Emma Rose

  15. I am MOST CERTAIN it is just a bruise.

    Your pal, Pip

  16. Regardless of what it is, you and K seized the day. And K apparently had a good time. That's what matters and counts.

    Nevertheless, I've still got the two of you in my prayers...

  17. we have our paws crossed too,, that it is only a bruise..
    thank you for taking us into your world....
    i know that sometimes you must have so much on your mind,,,
    and maybe you do not feel like posting,,,
    like when worry creeps in,,,
    we appreciate you and your world so much

  18. It's so great that given what you knew you had ahead of you today -- going to the vet and attendant anxiety -- you set that aside his morning and were just present!

    Oh, and beautiful photos. That sunrise on he tree tops is amazing :-)

  19. Oh, K, we're so sorry this has happened. We also hope it is just a bruise. Sadly, K may need to rest a little more than she likes to give it a chance to heal. Perhaps the pressure of the bleeding that goes with brusing is what made the site so itchy? Did she lick and chew at the original infection? Would an ice pack help? We're sure your vet already said all of this. We're just fruitlessly casting for some way to be of help, when we know that isn't possible. So once again, we wait with you.

    Jed & Abby

  20. I too hope for the best. what a year '10 has been for you. Fingers crossed. Love EM

  21. Paws crossed here...and Human prayers...Oh we do so understand about seizing the moment and the day and how precious each one is.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  22. Paws and fingers crossed that it is just a bruise.

    Mango Momma

  23. gorgeous photos!
    i've got my paws crossed that this is not another bump in K's recovery.....maybe it is scar tissue....

  24. Absolutely, pawsitively a bruise! I was totally going to say that yesterday. Just a bruise!


  25. We are crossing all 16 paws that it is just a bruise. Hang in there!

  26. We've got paws and fingers crossed here in Oregon for you....

  27. I hope that K just has a bruise... fingers crossed!

  28. We're hoping it's just a bruise here. Sending healing mojo right to that bump this very second.

  29. Again... such gorgeous photos... but so sorry about K's toe lump/bruise. We're following your lead and thinking pawsitively that it's a bruise - golden vibes sent...
    Sammie and Avalon

  30. We are fury so sorry to hear sweet K has anudder boo boo n her paw!!!

    It looks like a bruise to us so we're sure that's what it is!

    Play bows and woofs

  31. Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.

    - Daniel


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