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Friday, July 6, 2012

Miraculous journey

Over the years, I've tended to avoid books and movies about the "story of a dog's life" because I know how it's going to end and that it's going to remind me of my past losses. I cried and cried and cried when I read and then watched "Marley and Me".

I starting thinking about my blog in those terms and hoping, with all my heart, that you, like me, are learning about the joy of life by traveling this journey with K. I hope that all of us can embrace life with even more vigor by seeing how K is living joyfully despite her illness.
We've lived a life so full of highs and lows since K's diagnosis on Christmas Eve. The highs have been more precious because we know that the end of K's life is not far away. I've learned so much about making the most of our days together - to find the beauty and happiness and love that resides inside us all. I hope that you leave my blog most days feeling that life is a glorious journey rather than feeling sad about the inevitable closing chapter.

By contemplating death, life becomes even more precious.
And love becomes the thread weaves lives together, like the lives of K and R. In this photo, R looks like he's becoming a "big brother", watching out for his sister, rather than the young dog that he is. A miracle...
All around us, there are miracles. A pair of Cordilleran Flycatchers nest under our deck each year. It's a miracle that they survive the bi-yearly migration and arrive strong enough to build a nest like they did in June. Both parents gathered all sorts of dry vegetation to take under our deck for their nest.
Then, they filled the nest with eggs, which miraculously hatched. The parents raised those baby birds one fly at a time. I've watched each parent snag flies out of the air with incredible ease and then fly under the deck to feed the babies. This flycatcher has a fly in his beak that he's about to deliver to the nestlings.

Life is miraculous. It is like this long and winding trail that I rode on my mountain bike recently. You never know what's around the next curve or what's going to happen on the journey- if you'll be battered by storms or meet a bear - but, regardless, the journey is a gift.
I hope that's how you feel when you leave my blog posts. Of course, I feel a huge weight of sadness these days but I also realize that, by traveling the journey towards the end of K's life with her, I am learning things about life that I can't learn any other way.


  1. I cried and cried and cried as well when I read Marley & Me. It's one of my favorite stories though, because it resounds so closely to my own story with my first lab Zeke, and now my brother-lab Ziggy. I think people come back to your blog over and over because of the beautiful things you write and take pictures of, even if they are sad sometimes. I think the way you've shared the good and bad of K's life has been so relatable for many people!

  2. They say it's not about the destination but the journey...I think all of us that read your blog have learned from you and K how to get the most out of the journey.

  3. What a heartfelt, beautiful post as I sit here reading it through tears. Such beautiful dogs, beautiful words. I think of you often and know you are spending all time you can together. You are an inspiration to us all...may there be many more sunrises, sunsets, bears, storms, mountain paths, and wonders to meet and greet with both K and R.

  4. We have said several times here - and elsewhere - that K has a lesson for us...and for R as well!

    Once again, THANKS so much for letting us experience THIS. I know it will be of value should any of us end up having to follow a similar path one day

  5. You always say it just right, KB - Like Khyra said, thank you for letting us be a part of your journey with K. I think that's part of what is so special about reading your blog and those of other people who love their pets like we do. It's bittersweet at times, but I wouldn't turn back from that pain given all the good I live with my dogs every day.
    You are brave in sharing with us - I can't imagine how tough it must be to type some of the heartfelt thoughts you share. Thank you for putting words to what you feel in your heart - we are honored.

  6. I have learned so much from you and K on this journey. Prior to this I took the lives of our dogs in stride...after all, they are reasonably young and very healthy. With K's diagnosis I realized the same thing could (or might still) happen to one of our Golden Girls.

    Thanks to you and K I have greater appreciation of how very precious life is and how much more important the journey has become. The dogs we lost in the past were very old so their passing was not unexpected. Now I treasure every day with our girls, especially my heart dog Ellie and appreciate them all the more. Thank you for that.

    I hope your dental pain has resolved since the root canal.

  7. That is how I feel when I read! And I BAWLED while reading and watching Marly and Me. Beautiful post!

  8. I feel like I'm learning a little more with you, to live each day as its own day. We share your highs and lows.

    Your love for your land and for your dog shines through.

    Peace and love, always.

  9. Many tears just reading your beautiful post. Seeing pictures of K has always brought a smile to my face and filled my heart with joy (even if it was through tears at times).

    Living life to the fullest = K

    Lots of Luv & Kisses
    Addie, Lucie, Hailey and Staci

  10. We all have paths that our journey's take us on. Each of our journeys is different, but yes a gift.
    K's journey shows bravery. That is how we want to live to.
    You have allowed us to walk this journey with you and we feel honored.
    The thread wove all of our lives together with you too,,,
    We feel like family, and we help each other see the miracles.
    These days that K has had... are miracle days.
    We thank you

  11. I felt like I learned a lot of the same lessons as Lilac's life came to a close. With Treat, it was just so sudden, there wasn't time to ponder a lot of those things, but with Lilac, we had our ups and downs and our sort of gentle good night. I did feel like I grew a lot as a person and gained wisdom as I traveled the journey with her. There was sadness at times, for sure, but I also felt a sense of gratitude for being able to share life with her and learn along the way. I truly feel like it ended up making me a better and more compassionate person. I also feel like I have a deeper appreciation for Kuster's puppyhood after going through old age with Lilac. Every season is something to celebrate!

    Your blog is one of the ones that I just can't miss every day because I do always feel a sense of serenity when I visit. I never know what you will have seen or have to share, or whether K will have had a good day or not, but I do know that I will enjoy it.

  12. Such a beautiful post! Remembering the great dogs I've loved, I can imagine your sorrow. But the saddest thing I can imagine is to go through life without ever loving a great dog. You and K are so lucky to have each other, and all of your reader-friends are so blessed that you are sharing her life with us. Thank you -- both of you, KB and K -- so much.


  13. Ann..from..THE OUTER BANKS OF NC..said...that beautiful picture of K and R...and the bond I always see.. touches my heart and my gives me such positive energy.. that I pray every night for her well-being...May God bless your sweet journey...And when I count my blessings...I count you twice..and with every gentle wind that blows may it remind you that..all of us love you ....even though some of us may be far away...."to nose you is to love you" Hugs

  14. Every step, joyfully and completely blessed by the sharing, we have vowed to walk with you on this journey. To do less would dishonor the miracle we live.

  15. We know that by bringing these loving dogs into our lives the journey will end with some heartbreak. The difference in human and canine life spans is so great. But reading and seeing how much fun you have with the dogs makes it clear, that after the tears dry, it will be time for you love again.

  16. K, your words are inspiring, and I am sure the love sent to you from us all, the love that cannot be measured or held in your hand,will be with you all the way,through the nights,and is the link between us all." Quality, not Quantity" were some words spoken to me many years ago, they are true today.You and K are having that wonderful quality time together,you are sharing so much with us, and that is so special, we must be so thankful of your words and keep them in our own hearts. Fond greetings from Jean

  17. Life, all life is a miracle. I thank you for sharing your miracle with all of us - your friendship with your wonderful dog. All of us will face the end of our Circle of Life one day. It's not pleasant and it sure is painful when we are the ones left behind but one day - one day - others will stand by and watch us leave this world for another.

    When my heart dog, Tony, passed away at the age of 12 I thought I'd never get over the loss - never. But, one thing that gave me great comfort was the fact that I took him full circle - from a young pup all the way to the completion of his Circle of Life. You are doing the same with your sweet girl. It brings with it immense sorrow, I know, but if you can, realize that you are giving her the treasure of your love and time and the dignity of being with her when her Circle is complete.

  18. I don't know what I can say that the others haven't already said, and I agree with them wholeheartedly. You have embraced this journey with K and unselfishly shared it with all of us. And in doing this you've reminded me that while it isn't always an easy road to travel, there is joy that can be found--Thank-you for that, because I make this journey so often with our dogs and I forget the beauty that's there because I get so wrapped up in the heartbreak.

  19. Many of us who are here with you have lost our "Heart" dog. An ache that simply never goes completely away. Whether it be cancer, accident, old age, it is a hard thing to have to live through.
    My beloved Scotty Otis lived to be almost 17 years old, and then had to be put down due to the many complications he endured. I and all of the vet techs and the vet herself sobbed. Not a day goes by that I don't think of him. And I think of you, and K, and know quite a lot about how you feel. We all do. Just like we know you will come through this, and K will be on her journey. You can tell us all you will and we will nod our heads and say, yes, thats how it was exactly. Exactly.

    With love,

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  20. I can't read or watch films like Marley and Me, I learned early in life that I cried too much watching Lassie films.
    I lost my Amber in January and although she had a different type of cancer, I find myself wishing I could have learned the lessons you are teaching much sooner. Thank you so much, you are an inspiration.
    You are brave in sharing this experience, I am certain that K is strong because of your strength of character. This is a beautiful post.

  21. It is so easy to just muddle through life, paying little attention to anything and being terribly upset by inconsequential nothings. Since that awful day, you and K have known such riches, and they will be yours forever.

  22. You write so true words...its a journey for all of us. Some will have hard roads to travel and some more easy roads.
    Our 4legged loved ones are always there for us and we for them.
    K looks really happy and I know that R knows about her. I think dogs feels when someone in the pack is ill. I noticed that in our pack when Nova was ill. When she was gone they were sad for some weeks.
    Everything can happen, I´m always little scared when we go hunting. We have GPS on the dogs, no roads nearby but accidents can happen.
    We are thinking of you and knows the feelings you have. Hugs!

  23. What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your lives with us, KB, K and R.

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  24. We love your blog and we always leave feeling lucky with life. Love to K and all of you. Have a lovely Saturday.
    Best wishes Molly

  25. As painful as it is, I think the celebration of life that has comprised K's days in the past is the best thing. It is sad to know that our friends will leave us too soon, but you are reminding us that dogs live for the moment and the best thing we can do is make every moment count.

    Thank you for a wonderful post.

    Mango Momma

  26. Beautifully said KB! We all need to BELIEVE that it is not the end of life, but just the beginning someplace else!

    Lily Belle

  27. We enjoyed coming to your site because of your raw thoughts and musing of life. Today is a sad but memorable post bc life is so fast and it's good to take it all in.
    Thank you
    Julie and company

  28. I can't help but be saddened by your journey with K, but at the same time, so inspired. Thank you for the reminder that if we focus too much on the destination, we miss out on all the beauty and wonder along the road that takes us there. The journey is indeed a gift.

    Sue T. in AZ

  29. Thinking of you, KB, as you travel this difficult path. I understand.

  30. Oh Marley & Me...I balled my eyes out!!! I had no idea it was going to end that way! You are right my is's just not fair. K or any of God's creatures don't deserve to have an illness like this. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful "gifts".

  31. I lost my heart dog Rusty to a tumor that developed so quickly we had no time to absorb it; we got the diagnosis on Friday, and had to send him over the bridge on Monday. It was more a bludgeon than a journey!

    So from your posts, I find myself emotionally walking through what I didn't have time to with Rusty -- savoring each day as it happens, and being grateful for what I have rather than fearing what hasn't come yet. Thank you for being so open about what you're going through; it's helping me, and I'm sure many others, more than you know. I feel like I'm finally gaining some closure on my silly golden boy, and that's due to you and K showing me how to walk the path of life so well.

  32. I'm so greatful to see K's enthusiasm every time I check in with your blog. Thanks you for allowing us to take this journey with you`-you're helping so many of us.

  33. Your quest to enjoy each moment of K's days balanced with your grief has been painful and joyous to witness. In no small part because it's so close to home.

    There's an amazing dog story called "A Big Little Life" by Dean Koontz of all people which describes his and his wife's wonderful time with a special dog. It' s reflective and insightful. I listen to it on CD on my car a couple of times a year. I think you'd like it.

  34. Hi KB, you have said it perfectly. Our life is a journey, with ups and downs and we live through all its stages. Sometimes we feel like we can't move on, but life sweeps us along and we continue on our way. I have loved and appreciated your willingness to share K's journey with us. It has certainly brought back many memories for me, but at the same time, I have relived parts of my life that have brought me smiles too. Thank you KB. No worries, and love, Carol (and Stella and Rory)

  35. Beautiful post! It amazes me how well you keep the positive aspects of life's journey foremost in your mind. K may be teaching you, but you then are teaching people like me. Thank you.

  36. Life is a journey and with out loving so deeply,it would be so empty. Lesson learned. :)

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