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Thursday, January 12, 2012

The fabric of life with a dog

K is flourishing despite her chemotherapy. None of the side effects have yet hit K. Tomorrow, she gets her white blood cell count measured, checking to be sure that her bone marrow wasn't suppressed too much by her first round of chemo. She didn't care about that today - she wanted to romp!
Despite my attempts to slow her down, K galloped through the snow at every opportunity. She was an unshakably happy dog.
As we hiked, the inevitable wind, that seems to always follow fresh snow, started whooshing past us, sending glittering snowflakes whipping through the air behind K.
In contrast to K, I reality of K's cancer hit me all over again last evening, and the feeling hung over me this morning. For some reason, it was a trivial routine that K and I have shared since she was a small puppy that triggered my sudden plummet into darkness. Our routine is that, just before bedtime, K comes to me and softly nudges me until I brush her teeth. After I brush her teeth, I spend a few minutes teaching her a new trick and showering her in treats. She adores this routine and starts hovering near me when she thinks that "toothbrushing time" is approaching. (R doesn't participate in this routine because he bites the heads off of toothbrushes!).

Yesterday evening, I suddenly realized that a day will come when K won't be so enthusiastic about toothbrushing and training every evening. She might not nudge anymore as bedtime approaches, and eventually, our shared routine will end. It made me realize that it's the small and seemingly inconsequential habits that define a relationship with a dog.
This morning, I did my best to shake off my heartache and stop worrying about the future. No matter what prognosis hangs over K, I wanted to enjoy today with her. She was ready to celebrate life today with no worries about what might happen tomorrow so I tried to mimic her.


  1. Such a disciplined approach, KB - you are amazing to stay in "present" tense and enjoy every moment now with K. Just LOVE that silhouette photo - spectacular, but then every photo of K is beautiful - she is gorgeous. Wonderful to see her so enthused in the snow; on the trails - it's just heartwarming.
    Sammie, Avalon and Mom

  2. I agree, it's those small routines and the minutiae of everyday life that really define us and our lives together. It can be overwhelming, thinking about that "someday" when we aren't together anymore. And then, by contrast, our dogs live entirely in the moment. No worries about what might happen tomorrow trouble their sleep. They just dream of finally catching that rabbit or squirrel who's eluded them and that their humans would always stay home with them.

    I look at today's pictures and I think, K is so very happy right now! Don't let the future cloud the happiness you can be sharing with her right now too much. I know that's much easier said than done! I think K has been very blessed to share her incredible life with you, no matter where it ends.

  3. I know exactly how you feel. When our Rottie was going through chemo there were months when she mostly acted normally and I tried not to think about the eventual outcome and just enjoy every moment she had with us. Stay strong.


  4. Hi K
    We would have those thoughts too- the ones that you are feeling.
    And its hard to force yourself into a different thought process and to just reach out and enjoy each moment.
    We have so much to learn from K.
    And I am trying to learn from her every day.
    The photos again- show how happy and content K is.

  5. It's amazing how woven our dogs become into a lives without us realizing it. How we learn to adapt and move within each others presence almost like instinct. I know how scary it is when you become aware of that and how every moment seems to be a snapshot in time that you try to hold on to forever. And I know how hard it is to stay in the present when it feels there isn't one.

    It is difficult. I also know what how easy it is for our dogs to brings us back and help us live in that time of now and teaching us how to live in the moment.

    I'm so happy K is running along side you. :)

  6. Hi KB, thanks for sharing your thoughts and the beautiful photos of your K. Once again, your K is teaching you great lessons...enjoy EVERY minute with her, You can see her love for YOU in her eyes.

  7. K is a wonderful teacher. Follow her lead.

  8. Try not to think of the future. Focus on today - K is doing that. She isn't worried about what tomorrow will bring for her, because today she is happy - she has you!


  9. K is a fulltime resident of The Now. Thats what she knows, and what a blessing it is. We should be so lucky!


    Stella who also lives there, Jo who doesn't and Zkhat who is questionable!

  10. I admire you so much for the way you've handled this hardship. Stay strong, and know we all have paws crossed.
    Dachshund Nola
    P.S that second to last photo is stunning

  11. What everyone else said, and what you so clearly know - carpe diem.

    Still keeping our paws crossed.

    Jed & Abby

  12. As you stay in the now, it will change, and you'll stay with that now. Our dogs keep us in the present. Beautiful photos again!!

  13. I'm so glad K is doing so well with the chemo. It's true that the little things are so important and easy to forget. I've certainly learned to appreciate them more since Zephyr got sick.

  14. Kia Kaha, stay strong, as we say in NZ. Blogger had problems all day, so no comment until now. K knows how much you love her, and this shows in her eyes, and in the times you are together.Superb photos. Celebrate every day together. Fondness from Jean in NZ

  15. Take your lead from K! Live each day to the full and enjoy and cherish every moment with her. The future can wait!
    Our paws are crossed and sending oodles of pawsative thoughts for you both!
    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx

  16. K looks very good. Enjoy every day you can. Put the energy on doing good activities together than worrying. Your pictures are lovely of K.

  17. When I first started reading and saw the pictures of K tonight it made me laugh. How amazing that she can still frolic and play with no worries at the moment. They do live for the moment and it's a lesson we can all learn. Being human though means we do think ahead. Being strong for K is what matters and you have shown such strength, but every now again you will have your "human" moments. Your bedtime routine is such a great memory in the making. What a wonderful girl!

  18. K blows my mind how her seems to be unaffected by what is goin' on inside hers. It's obvious her has every will to gets through dis. Just look to her furs da strength you need.
    If hoomns acted like dogs it would be such a better place.

    Ms. KB...we are all still heres fur you.


  19. When my husband was dying with cancer he found this quote.

    "Yesterday is the past,

    tomorrow is the future,

    but today is a gift, and that's

    why it's the present."

    These thoughts were a big help to us each day.

  20. If only we could just live in the present like our dogs do. Humans can't help but think about and worry about the future. But you're doing a remarkable job concentrating on the moment and I'm sure K helps keep you grounded in that way.

    Such beautiful, happy pictures of a beautiful, happy dog. What a wonderful life you've given her!


  21. Glad to hear that the side affects have stayed away

    Stop on by for a visit

  22. Happy to hear K is doing so well...

    Tank's Asst.

  23. Hi Y'all,

    What a wonderful, beautiful determined to enjoy everything life has to offer her and share precious memories with her human.

    Human or animal, in the end, all we have and all we are is a memory. Never stop enjoying the making of them.

    BrownDog's Human

  24. K looks wonderful. I really would have never guessed that she just went through a round of treatment.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that it is the small moments that add up and define our relationship with our pets. There are things that Marge does that other people might find silly or not worth mentioning, or those things that some people wouldn't even notice, but it is her little habits that I love most.

    Try hard to not dwell on the future - especially since you have no idea when that time will come that K's enthusiasm will wane - and enjoy her vibrant spirit here and today. From the looks of the first two pictures, she's practically begging you to!

  25. keep following K's lead....she won't lead you astray...

  26. It is those small and inconsequential things that define a life and that burn themselves into your soul to be recalled forever and reconnect you. Dive into the every day routine with gusto, like K does, and fill your heart with each moment.

  27. Sophie plays out her routine of "Return from the Beach Walk" with a scamper around the backyard and re-entry into the house to have a carrot sitting on her bed waiting to be devoured....everyday! Then, of course, there is the ear cleaning routine which she finally accepted but doesn't really want to do it...she does though!

  28. I've often thought you have miraculous strength and optimistic attitude, and now I see K has it, too. Maybe because of you!

    I couldn't help but crack up upon learning R bites the heads off toothbrushes...


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