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Monday, January 17, 2011

A sunset hike

Yesterday evening, the Duo and I took a snowy hike in the hours before sunset. We wandered through the windblown snow, and the Duo held impromptu races. Sometimes, they were neck-and-neck, 120 lbs of Labrador hurtling toward me at warp speed.
Sometimes, R leaped into the lead, kicking snow in K's face as he accelerated.
Sometimes K took the long way around while R flew over shrubs.
But, K is amazingly fast for how much she's been through. In the photo below, you can see how she's adapted her gait to cope with having only three toes on her left front paw. She lands on her large triangular heel pad instead of flatly on her whole paw. You can see her preparing to put her left front paw on the ground and her toes pointed upward. The vets told me that dogs who "successfully" adapt to the amputation of a weight-bearing toe use this strategy. It was cool to see it in a photo!
After all that action, R shook, and snow crystals flew through the air.
As he finished his shake, he turned toward me. What a hysterical look!
You might be able to see in the previous photos that R looks very thin. We weighed him, and he hasn't lost a pound. So, why does he "suddenly" look much thinner than before? The next photo might give you a clue.
This one shows the same thing.
R's legs have suddenly grown! Our friend noticed it first because she hadn't seen him in a while. Then, I started looking at current photos of him and K side-by-side and comparing them to older photos. Our 3 year old Lab has sprouted longer legs.

I'm completely surprised. I thought that dogs his age were finished growing. None of my Labs have ever had growth spurts so late in life. Indeed, xrays taken when K was between 1 and 2 years old showed that her growth plates had closed. I guess that R's haven't! Have any of you experienced a late growth spurt in your dogs?

We finished our hike as the setting sun painted streaks of clouds golden in the sky.
As the moon became brighter in the sky, we heard our coyote pack raise their heads to howl and yip. What a chorus!
During many nights, part of the coyote pack visits our clearing. They're welcome guests, that is, except when they decide to have a chorus at 3 AM and R decides to sing harmony.


  1. Okay every buddy we are jealous of your hikes!!
    Benny & Lily

  2. Fortunately, The Herd has become bored with the pack of coyotes on our ridge, so they never join in the chorus any more. 3 a.m. singing is not welcome.

    Love the pictures of the labraduo running.

  3. It must be similar to watching Dexter and Mango race ;-)

    Of course, I love all the pics - with the coyote visitors amongst my favourite!

  4. Great pictures, as usual. I did love the idea of the 3 am coyote sing-a-long with R joining in. Doesn't K bother herself with this, or just not a singer?


    Stella, Jo, and Zkhat

  5. We love the first pictures! How magnificent they look running together again!


  6. OMD - we've been so MIA! So sorries - we're about to make another post about our cat, who has occupied more of our time than the blogging. But oh how cool it is to have "landed" here - how much better K IS!!! Fascinating how she's learned to land while running! And also amazing that R is still growing! (Often wonder if Avalon's growth plates have closed yet - sure not, but she's pretty little!) - also - the coyotes look fairly "fat" (or is it lotsa fur?) for this time of year - am amazed! We've seen some coyotes around here that are literally scrawny! Hope you had a great weekend! Beautiful sunset!
    Sammie, Avalon and Ozzie

  7. I love the peektures of them running! & I love your guests!


  8. I love watching them run together! I've seen a few Greyhounds adapt that same toe up technique for running after an amputation. K sure isn't wasting any time in her recovery!

    Hubby's sister has a black lab who kept growing and growing and growing until she was past three years old. I don't remember if she went through a plateau and then started growing again, but she's easily the tallest lab I've ever seen! She dwarfs the other two labs in our extended family and Morgan.

    Yes, Morgan is exactly like the duo! When we are stuck inside, she goes on constant patrol and will check up on me, nose in face, about every thirty seconds to see if I've fixed the weather yet. Then she goes to hubby to work on him. It can go on all night, but we usually try to find something for her to do besides agitate the Greyhounds! :P

  9. Great pics as usual. Fascinated by K's adaptation. Dogs truly are inspiring. R's flying dog pics made me laugh - he runs no holds barred.
    LOVE, LOVE,LOVE the coyote pic - they are so adaptable and their songs hauntingly beautiful.

  10. I love that "pussy willow" cloud photo! I can't believe you have so little snowpack -it's been snowing and blowing hard here all day and continues tonight. K is really feeling good - she's running and leaping with abandon! Good for her!

  11. My mom loves seeing the pictures and hearing the stories of the coyotes. Since learning that are thousands living in the city (and seeing one for herself), she is fascinated by them and wants to learn more.

    Your pal, Pip

  12. Our hearts sing to see K and R so healthy, happy, and filled with abandon racing through your beautiful landscape!

  13. Guess those two great pictures of them side by side are going in the family album.

  14. Yea for K! Back to biking. We used to exercise the Danes on our bikes, although never on snow.

    Dogs are amazingly resilient. We're glad the vet helped you find the fundamental question.

    Had not heard of dogs "resting" in between growth spirts once they reached 2 years. Danes usually grow up for 2 to 2-1/2 years, then grow out for another year before they have their mature size. Interesting. May need to up his rations to support his new size.

    Jed & Abby

  15. K and R remind me of my grandchildren running freely through the woods with not a care in the world.

  16. We keep wondering if Ciara will have another growth spurt. Her weight hasn't change since she was about 8 months old and she is now 13 months. She seems to be a small sibe, but we guess anything can happen.

    We don't worry too much here about 3:00 a.m. coyote singing, but we do get nervous about that 4:00 a.m. outing in the dark with skunkville all abuzz.

  17. Yeeeee Haw! Look at the two of them go! That's fascinating, how K has adapted to her missing toe. Isn't this world full of amazing creatures?

  18. Hey there KB...
    Beautiful photos once again. And Yes, K is brimming with life and's so wonderful to see. WEll done on all your hard work with her.
    I too have never heard of such a growth spurt. Either way, they are both looking wonderful!
    Sending lotsaluv

  19. Everytime I see K running again I break out in a big grin. I suppose the coyote choruse at 3 AM is not so great, but boy do I miss hearing it. Strangely, neither of the dogs I've had responded to the coyotes calls.

  20. The boys always have to join when we're having a coyote-fest. Ruby doesn't quite get it yet.

    Bart is the tallest rottie that I've ever seen -- he has very long legs as well, though I think he stopped growing at about age 3.

    Allie, though never as athletic as K (rottie motto: why hurry unless there is food or something in the yard that doesn't belong) but her recovery from amputation was pretty speedy. Her paw always looked like she was doing a Girl Scout salute. Wish I had a picture to send you.

    Love that life is getting back to normal, with the added appreciation to detail. A wonderful gift from out dogs :-)

  21. I had to grin when you mentioned 120 pounds of Lab hurtling at you--I've had that with the Goldens and make sure my feet are FIRMLY planted when I see them charging at me, because I know they're not watching where they are running--Or they just expect me to move! :-)

    Hope you're enjoying your day!!

  22. Hi Y'all!

    What fun! Wow, I'd love to run with those two! Sigh!

    Hawk aka BrownDog

  23. What a fun time everybuddy had! I wish I coulda been there to run around with K and R. And I can't believe that R has suddenly got taller. Does this mean I might end up being tall, too?

    Wiggles & Wags,

  24. Oh, my goodness!!! The growth spurt, the foot pad adaptation, and all those coyotes in one shot!!! You've given me visual overload!!! (And I like it!)

  25. Look at them go! It's great to see K zooming around. :)

  26. He really is taller than K. Isn't that intriguing? I love the funny-faced photo of him at the end of his shake!

  27. That is wild that R had a growth spur. I don't think I've heard of such a thing. Silly boy!

    Love that you caught a photo of how K has adapted to her new foot configuration. Super smart girl, she is.

  28. Nothing makes us happier than to see the dual running and happy.
    And nothing makes us happier than you sharing your world through your photos and words with us.


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