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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Celebration

On Sunday, we visited our pack's favorite lake. It's a small lake in a very popular hiking area but it doesn't appear on any recreational maps. We have to bushwack to get to it, and we always have it entirely to ourselves. It's our tradition that we go there for K's birthday. We did last year. This year, of course, we have a newly configured pack. Shyla was with us for our celebration of life this year.
As soon as we arrived at the lake, Shyla was excited and curious. It was special to see her there. All of our Labs, except our very first one, have played at this lake.
Shyla wanted to try the water, so we let her go in by herself for starters. It's a shallow and warm lake so it's a good place to learn about swimming. She churned and created lots of splashes but didn't swim very efficiently. We've seen this style of swimming in every single one of our Labs when they were first introduced to water.
By comparison, R was flat in the water and made no splashes. We remember when he swam in Shyla's naive style as a puppy. She'll learn with time, and I'll try to take her to another easy lake by herself before winter freezes them all.
We played fetch, throwing sticks into the water. Just like all our young labs in the past, Shyla decided to take the role of waiting on shore and then "helping" with the last bit of the fetch through the shallow water. Indeed, last year, K was still winning many of the water fetches, and R played the role of "spoiler". It's ironic to see the cycle repeat itself but with R as the older sibling.
But, every now and then, R would turn on his turbo jets and escape with the stick all by himself, evading Shyla.
He'd start shaking the water off with the stick still in his iron jaws.
And then, he'd do K's favorite thing, rolling in the soft vegetation of the alpine world.
Sometimes, he'd taunt Shyla with the stick after he arrived on shore. She stole it from him a few times. You go girl!
Our vet likes to say that R is the "Lance Armstrong" of dogs. He has an incredible cardiovascular capacity (a huge heart with a resting heart rate of less than 28 beats per minute) and can also sprint like the wind. He's the most amazing athlete of any of our dogs.
He sprints at top speed when an object is thrown into the water for him to retrieve. I could watch this boy run all day long. He is so graceful and so fast.
It was a fun day with a tinge of sadness. As I said to the Runner, last year on K's birthday, it never occurred to me that she wouldn't be here this year. Yet, it did make us smile to see that our puppy is becoming part of our pack's traditions. She's also becoming part of the fabric of our hearts. Shyla is so loving - just like our K was.

I can't help myself - here is just one nostalgic photo from last year of R and K... the Labraduo.


  1. Oh how I bet K enjoyed taking it all in from The RB!

    What great shots!!!

  2. What a beautiful tradition. Shyla looks like she has been with you all along. And she sure looks like me when I first tried to swim (not that long ago). She will be a pro in no time. And what can ya say about my dog R. He is an inspiration.
    I have no doubt that Miss K was there with you all.

  3. That Shyla girl will be giving R a run for his money in no time! I love the picture of R rolling - what a puppy face!

    Happy birthday, K!

  4. R will be a super big brother to Shyla, and your memories of times together at the lake will be a bond that cannot be broken,K is always there, in your heart. Your comment about Tom, yes I always wonder, and every day I hope he is safe and happy.Your photos of the water flicking off R and the sticks is super. Greetings from Jean.

  5. A beautiful tradition! Shyla's spirt is too cute

  6. A beautiful heartwarming post but at the same time I know how hard it was for you without K being there. She would be proud of you for doing such a great job with Shyla.

    Your pictures really touched our hearts today. The two of them together are amazing and we can't get the BIG smile off our faces.

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  7. Glad your tradition will always remain and move forward with R and Shyla!

  8. R and Shyla make a handsome pair! His high energy will spark her to go faster and farther too.

    A sweet remembrance on K's birthday!


    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  9. They sure look like they are having a great time together. I love all the water shots.


  10. I love how happy Shyla and R look in all of the pictures. There's no doubt that they love this tradition. I think that somewhere, K's tail is wagging to see you celebrating life!

  11. Ann..from..Outer Banks of NC...said...A CELEBRATION OF LOVE...I admire the look on their happy doubt such smart babies you have...and they know they have such cool parents too...I love it when you include pictures of K...such a wonderful celebration of her life....always touches my heart ...HUGS

  12. What a wonderful celebration. How great that you guys have such a special place all to yourselves. It's almost like the secret garden. It's so great to see R and Shyla romping and bonding so well. Love the pic of the labraduo from last year.

  13. Beautiful photo of R and K. Now its R and beautiful Shyla. I love seeing the water picture. R looks so confident, stick in mouth bringing to shore and safety. I love how they are bonding. R has so much to teach Shyla and seems to be a good instructor.

    Anne and Sasha

  14. Family traditions like yours are timeless and seamlessly blend all of the generations into one spiritual union. It is remarkable to witness. We often take the White Dog Army to Sheena's favorite tree-topped knoll at the top of the ridge on our Sandia Mountains. Together, we can see all of the way to colorado!

  15. What a fun time for you especially, Shyla! We bet K is smiling down on this celebration.

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  16. ahhh what a lovely tradition xxx glad shyla got to have her first swim xxx stormys only swam once and that was when he fell in a deep puddle once, that suprised him a bit i can tell you! but it was like he had been swimming for years, he know just what to do but hes never done it again and hes way more careful now. going to cornwall soon and stormy will be almost a year and a half, fingers crossed maybe he might swim this time :)

    Charlene and Stormy

  17. Bonding all round I'd say. Lovely photos of fun and water. Great! Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

  18. Dat R just cracks me up....he can just be sittin' theres and he makes me laugh. Such a beaut he is, and I loves to sees him run in da fotos.
    It looks like he and Shyla are gonna has a close bond.


  19. What a sweet way to remember K. Great pictures - my goldens envy R and Shyla playing with the stick!

    Nadine & goldens Neeli & Elle

  20. New life, isn't it wonderful? Beautiful dogs, beautiful photos, beautiful thoughts.

  21. What a wonderful day.its amazing to see a pup experiencing things for the first time. K is all around you. Still so sad
    Benny & Lily

  22. Looks like they had an amazing time! I think K is smiling knowing Shyla and R are having as much fun as she did with you! :)

  23. I had never seen a dog before that didn't know how to swim. Our lab,Remie, who looks a lot like your Shyla, did the same thing. We had her up in a reservoir around Pikes Peak for her first time swimming. It didn't take too long for her to start swimming like a champ. And she loves it! Jax, our boxer is the one that waits in the shallow water for her to come back with the stick. It's funny to see another pair of siblings do the same thing my 2 do. R is such a handsome boy. He seems to have switched to the role of big brother pretty effortlessly. You have such an amazing pair!

  24. Absolutely wonderful photos of the kids in action! Thank you. ;)

  25. Beutiful pictures!!! Great to see R so full of happiness playing with Shyla.
    I´m sure K was watching over them playing in the lake....

  26. The lake looks beautiful. I don't like to swim, Mommy thinks that is funny but I do not get in our pond. ~Fenris

  27. What an absolutely wonderful way to celebrate K.

  28. I am glad you all went to the lake and shared the joy with Shyla too.
    Watching the photos of her and R make us smile- so much fun they are having.
    Angel K's sprit is everywhere- and she was there with all of you-
    thank you for sharing the beautiful photo of K and R!
    Always know we appreciate you sharing your heart with us,

  29. Hi Y'all,

    What a wonderful birthday celebration for K's memory.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  30. Awwww. That last photo really got to my heart, but it's so good to see the whole family out enjoying some happy times together.


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