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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Following K's Lead

It's ironic - K has cancer but some days I'm the one slowing us down. She was ready to romp this morning! She especially loves our hikes these days because they're the only times when she can take off the "cone of shame". I can imagine that she might like to hike continuously all day to avoid having to wear the cone. I wish that I had the spirit of K!
Getting out into the sunrise light is a motivator for me, and we briefly saw the sun shine this morning.
K explored and reveled in the morning as I plodded along behind her. You can almost see in this photo that her radiation burn on her left forelimb is healing thanks to the medicines and the cone to protect it.
For a long time, K has acted as an unofficial "service dog" for me. I've had unrelenting spine problems for as long as I can remember. After one of my spine surgeries, I trained K to help me with some everyday tasks. For example, I was unable to reach the ground for months after the surgery, which led to some difficult situations when I dropped things. I trained K to respond to "Oops!" as a cue to pick up whatever I'd dropped and give it to me.

As we hiked today, I dropped my hat by accident. K was ready to help!
She seemed to say "Come on, take it!" as I took her photo. As she held my hat and looked at me imploringly, the thought flashed through my mind that I have no idea how I'm going to find my way without K's amazing spirit to lead me, when that dark time comes.
I actually was grateful for her help with the hat. I had procedure on my back yesterday that left me sore and tired. K could reach the ground far more easily than I could this morning! My back is now happier... I rode my snow bike on trails today which always eases the back spasms and pains.

K and I checked a couple of trail cameras during our hike and discovered some activity. A group of six mule deer does passed one camera where the snow had melted, leaving easy terrain for walking.
A bobcat hunted under our bear-proof birdfeeding station.
And, a coyote made a fearsome face while approaching our birdfeeding station. I'm guessing that another coyote was just outside the camera's view wilting under the ferocious stare of this coyote.
I believe that the female wild canines are currently in heat... probably leading to higher tensions among their ranks and the snarling face in the photo. I'm basing this on the observation that a female coyote urinated in front of our "birdfeeder trail camera" the other night. The urine spot was dark crimson with blood. The next morning, the spot drew R like a magnet, and he rolled in it.
I looked back through my journal and saw that the coyotes were leaving bloody urine at about this time last year. Their gestation period is 9 weeks so pups would be born in early April, just in time for the start of warmer weather.

Yes, signs of springtime, including coyotes being in heat, have abounded for the past few days. Now, a snowstorm is moving in, and the woodpeckers will stop drumming, the chickadees will stop singing spring songs, and the robins will retreat to lower elevations. The Labraduo will have a blast romping in the snow.
I'll try my best not to be overprotective of my K in the snow. It's time for her to live joyfully and for me to follow her lead.


  1. K looks so good! It's wonderful that she is doing so well. The up close picture of her with the hat is really cute. :-)

  2. Wish we could reach out and pet K. We love her!
    Nina, Myshka, Sasha, Betsy, Lucy, Phoebe and Lily

  3. I know it's hard, but don't think ahead to that dark time. K is doing remarkably well and you have lots of reason to believe that you'll have a lot more hikes together.

    Her love for you really shines through in that close-up pic of her holding your hat. She really adores you, KB.

  4. Just love the hat photo and the last one. MOM tries to live for today. She seldom looks back and tries not to dewell on the future for it holds what it will, joy and yes even dark times. But today, today is where we live and for my MOM that's where she lives. Don't know if that makes sence or not.

  5. It's easy to see how happy K is out enjoying her world!
    What a good little helper she is!
    We are going to keep on pushing any dark clouds away! That is what we will do!
    K is looking so great- and wonderful her radiation burn is getting better.
    Enjoy those snow flakes when they start to fall tomorrow!
    We always keep you all in our hearts- and ask for healing for both of you.

  6. Try not to think ahead too much! Enjoy how K is now, beautiful and happy
    Dachshund Nola

  7. The dark time is not now. Do not waste precious blessed lightness of being by tying yourself to the heaviness of some uncertain future. Dance and send your soul soaring with K's.

    We are glad being in your heavenly environment with your girl hiking and riding your bike made you both feel better.

  8. Great shot of K with your hat.

    Also, nice photos! The bobcats you guys get out there just stagger me!

    Also, great life history observations on the bloody urine!

    I've seen them running in pairs on some of my cameras in NC within the last two weeks as well...

  9. Dogs sure know that life is for living . Those other things can be worried about later . Much later .

  10. Nice readig about your hiking. Very interesting to read about the wild animals that passes the wild cameras.
    The last picture is great !!
    We have also a snowstorm coming into the south of Sweden. Lots of warnings and its not so good to be out driving.

  11. It's wonderful to see K doing and feeling so well - including the joy she gets from taking care of you. And we know that's the way she sees it, because that's the way we see it with our mama. Sorry about your back acting up again, but glad the bike rides still help. As to how you'll cope in the future: cross that bridge when you get to it.

    So glad you're close enough that R can play with the Guppies! It's been a rough few months for them, too.

    Jed & Abby

  12. What a wonderful helper you are, K! My mom says Ooops a lot when she's in the kitchen. It means that she's dropped something yummy and she needs me to clean it up for her.

    Love ya lots,

  13. So much proof how dogs live in the moment -

    And strive to teach us that!

    Great pics and commentary!

  14. I wanna be like K when I grows up...and has mum follow my lead. Okays, so dat may not be a good thing.
    I think, because I be so smart, animals always live in da present.


  15. yup... and this is why we pay the price of them having too short a time with us. they give so much... it's our burden to bear for them.

  16. If only I could train my human assistant to pick up my stuff (or give me a treat) when I say oops! Just kidding, that's pretty remarkable that K responds to that word!

    Actually, I think you are right about the coyotes. I read something recently that little dog and cat owners should be especially careful in February because coyotes are out and about and very active this month.

    Your pal, Pip

  17. Hi Y'all,

    My Human read some weather info about why the southeast has been so mild so far. Part of the answer was that your weather is coming straight across to the southeast. I'll be watching to see if we get any of that snow. I know once before this winter we got a fair amount after y'all.

    So happy both you and K are doing well. Hope today is going great for you both also.

    Following Lillies' problems. So glad she is where they can catch problems quickly. So scary for her and her humans.

    Paws crossed and Humans' prayers for all y'all.
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  18. It's amazing the energy that K has! The picture of her with your hat is priceless! Great wildlife shots too. I sure hope you all have fun romping in the snow you get! :)

  19. The morning light on K is glorious. These are times to cherish and remember. I've been seeing blood-tinged coyote urine, too - I never even made the connection about the females in heat!

  20. a real lesson for us to live each day to the fullest
    Benny & Lily

  21. Even when the dark day comes, K's spirit will never leave you. She will always be by your side and will come to you with a thought.

    Mom has had a super busy month at work and is behind in blogging, but has thought of you constantly. You, your husband, and K are in our prayers.


  22. You are doing for her what all loved ones of cancer patients do - they follow their lead. Please know that there is someone in the tip of the Mitten State who is holding you and K close in prayer as she 'fights the good fight'.

  23. K is such a good doggie and so smart to pick things up for you. She looked like she was having a great time in the snow.

  24. I came back because I wanted to see the bobcat and coyote again and to also- leave more love for all of you

  25. K looks like she is fully loving life right now, which is wonderful.


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