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Tuesday, May 29, 2012


On the first day of our trip, we drove only as far as the Colorado-Utah border, stopping to camp next to a dry creek bed near the Colorado River canyon. As we stepped out of the Labmobile into the inky darkness of night, we heard the sound of a bird singing his heart out. That bird continued to sing all night long. We think that he was a male Northern Mockingbird, a species known for night singing. It was a beautiful musical backdrop to our first night of camping.
I was glad to be in familiar terrain because I truly was nervous about K. We had a huge array of veterinary supplies with us and a list of every vet in the areas that we might visit. Yet, I felt queasy with worry, mainly because our vet had a kind talk with me about how the "end" occurs in osteosarcoma cases like K's. It can be quite sudden, requiring a rapid trip to the vet to avoid suffering. The visions of it scared me... especially away from home. However, K was so happy to be on vacation that her mood was contagious!

K and I took a short mountain bike ride together on our first morning of our trip. Lush green aligned the Colorado River.
Later, when I was mountain biking alone, I met the coolest dude. He preened for me.
This Collared Lizard seemed to want me to take his photo! He let me creep very close for a portrait.
Fortunately, over the course of our 2 weeks away from home, my queasy feeling of fear rapidly disappeared, and I started enjoying myself. K loves camping and we had a chance to take her once more. What a gift.

We watched each sunset together, and I admired K's gorgeous chocolate fur and her badge of courage - her gray-furred leg that had radiation 5 months ago.
Then, we sat in the cool night air as the stars appeared, one-by-one.
Sometimes it takes courage to truly live. I'm glad that we found ours so that we could spend these days having fun with K rather than worrying at home. I think that K is the best teacher of how to be courageous. I have come to believe that K knows that her days on Earth are dwindling, and she's teaching us how to live those days with grace and joy.

I hope that it's a lesson that I never forget.


  1. so glad you're back.....such courage....
    LOVE the lizard!

  2. Beautiful words...and that lizard is just too cool :)

  3. You have been in my thoughts very much for the last few days! I am glad you all had a good time together, and a good trip home!

    Mr. Lizard is certainly a colorful gent!

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  4. I was so glad to see you back when I checked last nite; even though you said you would be away I still checked each day! What was the best news though was that K was still here and you sounded better! Sounds like you all had a great vacation and added many more pictures to cherish! And yes, that lizard is too awesome,what gorgeous colors!
    Take care and know that you all are in my thoughts & prayers,
    Lucy (silent MOD,Troy, Ohio)

  5. They teach us so much. That lizard is gorgeous! So glad he posed for you so you could share him with us.


  6. That was beautiful! What a cool lizard

  7. You and K are teaching many of us lessons in how to live.

    Thank you. :)

  8. Ann..from THE OUTER BANKS OF NC..said... the picture of K just captured my heart and so beautiful to see her me the singing bird was just a reminder,that only the heart knows what is precious..and to let you know.. to stay on that inspired path > for you are doing a wonderful thing.. Every morning when I step outside my door > I hear them singing and their melody touches feelings that words cannot

  9. Oh I missed your photos. It is so good to have you back and to be able to share in the beauties you, K, R, and Runner were able to enjoy.

    what a great lizard, and how cool of the little guy to let you get such amazing photos.

    we can't wait to read more about the perfect adventure....

  10. Beautiful photos and words... as always. K reminds me a lion in that photo. Perfect photo for your courage words.

  11. That is probably the best medicine K could ever ask for and great memories for you. What a beautiful trip.

    Anne and Sasha

  12. You know, that lesson was one that I took away from our experience with Treat, too! I am glad you're living life to the fullest now -- and making this time with K not just sweet, but memorable!

  13. K is the most beautiful choc lab I have ever seen.

    Live in the present moment. It is all that counts.

  14. Absolutely gorgeous. K looks great
    Benny & Lily

  15. Thank you for sharing your camping experience with us.
    The lizzard is total amazing.
    And the bird that sang at night- how special.
    I am imagining in my head what it was like to see the stars begin to light up.
    Thank you for painting such a beautuful picture for us to feel and see what you did.
    Your words are beautifully spoken. Yes, K is the most courageous. She is living bravely, and showing us all how it is done.
    We love you all

  16. Believe me, it is a lesson none of us will ever forget. Courage to live the day...K's legacy.

  17. Truly amazing shots as always!
    Living every precious moment together...such courage.
    Lots of positive thoughts.
    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx

  18. I'm glad you were able to relax into your holiday and enjoy.
    Those lizard photos are awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  19. So wonderful to hear that K is still enjoying herself and making wonderful memories to take to the bridge. You are absolutely going to have to write a book about her courage and the lessons she taught you...

    ...and put in LOTS of your beautiful photos!

  20. You are truly brilliant, K!
    What a cool lizard.

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  21. That photo of K against the red rocks is just fabulous. She is the embodiment of George Herbert's lovely line that "living well is the best revenge."

    Very cool lizard!

  22. Lovely pictures and what great colour the lizard has.
    K looks wonderful and I´m certain she loved your trip.

  23. Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    One of our favorite quotes that we wanted to share with you!

    What an inspiring post. Continue to put one foot in front of the other...

    (Lily Belle's Mom)

  24. I love love love that picture of K - she looks like a lion. She certainly has the heart of a lion!

  25. We like to think that K knows exactly what you need from her right now, and she is giving it her best to give it to you:)

    That lizard is amazing - never seen anything like it.

    Please give K some special smoochies from us.

  26. Dogs are teachers...plain and simple...there short stint on this planet means a lot of teaching in a quick amount of time...Sophie tells me this all the time. On another side the lizard esp. the colours and the setting sun photos..oh can't forget about K's gorgeous picture too...thanks for this!Ron

  27. We are so glad you went and had fun! We look forward to hearing more about the trip!

  28. I agree with what you said a 100%! If the "end" happen while you are travelling, then you know for sure K was doing what she loves before it ends.
    Dogs do teach us a lot in our lives.

  29. I'm not going to let Blueberry see these photos because she may just try to leave me and go live with you!

    Glad K is still hanging in there - so glad you keep having these wonderful moments with her and she is a great teacher on the value of embracing "now" instead of worrying and fretting over what will come. :)

  30. What could I possibly say has said it all. Strange how we learn about courage, we are not born with it I guess. K has taught you and us so many things about life in such a short time.
    I am so glad you had an enjoyable trip and were able to "live" it to the fullest.

    Puddles wants that lizard as a pet;)

    Puddles mum

  31. Your writing, your photos, K's strength... gives me chills and hope. I'm so happy you were able to enjoy such a beautiful trip with K. She's the teacher of many unlearned lessons... May she teach you things far after her time with you is gone. She's a gift.
    -Corbin & Jenn

  32. "Sometimes it takes courage to truly live." A message for all of us. Reminiscent of Wilf.

    Your portrait of the collared lizard captured his (her?)unique beauty!

    Wirey woofs,

    Jake and Just Harry

  33. Your beautiful words leave me breathless and speechless

  34. You have a lot of courage too, you know, to take a trip when you feared so much. I think you and K are teaching all of us.


  35. I'm greener than the lizard with envy for such a stunning portrait of the handsome reptile! But I think I love that sunset photo of K even better. So glad you got over into one of my favorite places in the world and were able to enjoy yourself!

  36. K is teaching you and you are teaching us. All of us are in this and we will not forget the lesson dear K is imparting.

  37. What a cool lizard and I love that last photo! I copied down what you wrote at the end of the post, "Sometimes it takes courage to truly live". I want to live with that courage and grace and joy.

  38. Ooooh, I wish I could have met your lizard friend! What a gorgeous creature. And doesn't he (she?) know it. :)


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