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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dog news and Mr. Bobcat

We've had a "normal" day, after what feels like quite a few abnormal days with quick trips to the vet thrown in to keep me on my toes. Shyla has been getting her morning hikes, and she's a super happy girl. Doesn't she look fetching as she did a down stay on top of Hug Hill?
We also practice our recalls on our favorite hill.
Yesterday, we went to training class and did socialization work. Shyla continues to stun me with how smart she is. She's learned to touch my shoe with her nose so easily! I must get a video of it soon because she's such a puppy about it. She throws in all sorts of cute little motions as she crosses the room to poke my shoe with her nose. We haven't yet tried it with other people - the ultimate goal is that I'll say "shoe" as she meets a new person, and she'll touch their shoe rather than jumping on them. Jumping is not a big issue yet (fear inhibits her) but my trainer thinks that it may become one because she's begun jumping on people who she knows.

After Shyla and I did our morning hike, it was R's turn. He seems almost normal now, after a week of stomach upset. He's still taking Cerenia, an anti-nausea drug, and we'll stop it tomorrow. That will be a big test. The main news on his health is that his blood work has returned to being as messed up as it was at the beginning of this whole episode 5-6 weeks ago. He has a "marked" population of damaged red blood cells (acanthocytes) and "reactive lymphocytes" in his blood. My vet feels 90% certain that a toxin in his Natural Balance Limited Ingredient food caused all of this. We are home-cooking for him now, and I'm working hard to figure out a long-term plan. In the short-term, we just want him to recover from the damage done to his body by the bad food.

I took this photo today. He's such a wonderful dog...
After exercising both dogs, it was time to keep my spine happy by spinning on my mountain bike. This is a daily necessity for me. Otherwise, the back spasms and the sciatica become too overwhelming. When Shyla's body is mature enough, she'll join me on some of my mountain bike rides.
It was during one of my solo rides to a very lightly traveled part of the forest that I saw a bobcat last week. As I rode along on a faint path, I spotted him on the trail 30 yards ahead of me. He trotted quickly to the side of the trail. I assumed that he'd vanished, like bobcats usually do. Despite my expectation that he was gone, I stopped to scan for him, and he was not far away! The photos are in chronological order.

He had taken cover behind two boulders but I could easily see him. He wasn't looking right at me at first.
Indeed, something to his right had his attention. That worried me a little. I wondered if a bigger and fiercer animal was hidden over there but I didn't see anything.
Finally, he looked straight at me. He didn't seem afraid but didn't look particularly thrilled to see me either.
He began alternating between looking to his right and at me.
He squinted a lot, to the point that it looked like his eyes were closed. But, he was looking directly into the sun, and his eyes are specialized for nighttime vision. Thus, the sun might have been too bright for him.
He checked on me again. At this point, I realized that I could see the rise and fall of his chest. I watched closely... He and I were breathing in almost the same rhythm.
He seemed to contemplate the situation, looking like his thoughts had turned inward.
Then, he looked at me again with those squinted eyes. I decided that I'd disrupted his life enough for one day. I hopped on my bike and left him alone.
I was riding an "out and back" route, which meant that I passed the same area again on my return. I watched closely as I approached it, and there was the bobcat on the trail again! He trotted off, this time into some yellow leaves.
I was beginning to worry that this cat was too unafraid of humans. Although almost no one else visits this part of the forest for most of the year, hunters go there in the fall. I didn't want this beautiful cat to be shot because he didn't hide from hunters. So, I made some yelling noises and walked directly toward the cat. My hope was that I'd be showing him that us 2-leggers can be dangerous and unpredictable.

He turned and walked away into the gold grass.
Just before he disappeared, he stopped and scanned once more with the white underside of his tail showing.
Then, he was gone...

I felt very lucky to have "met" a bobcat in the wild. At the time, I wondered if there was a large prey item that he was feeding on near that spot on the trail, explaining why he didn't want to flee when I arrived. I plan to look around when I return there again to see if I can find anything.

Thank you, Mr. Bobcat, I loved seeing you.


  1. gorgeous cat!! hope R is back to his healthy self! can't wait to see the video of S nose poking.....

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  3. I was going to ask if possibly he had food stashed nearby. It certainly would explain his bolder stance. The whole encounter certainly made for some stunner photos!

    I love that first picture of Shyla! It reminds me of Kuster when he's getting ready to pounce on something and can barely restrain himself.

    I'm sorry R has been sick, but I'm really hoping that it was something to do with his food. That's an easy enough fix, and he's still such a young dog, I hate to think of him living a long time with some mystery illness.

  4. AMAZING FALL! R looks so handsome with the golden colors. Hoping the change of diet will calm things. Shyla is really so smart...will enjoy reading about her training.
    The bobcat photos are a treat! Beautiful. Thank you.

    Hugs from Sierra Rose & Mom

  5. what a beautiful bobcat. So cool that Shyla is so eager to learn
    Benny & Lily

  6. Such beautiful photos. What a blessing to see the Bobcat. I love how you are always thinking of their well being. Nose poke to my friends R and Shyla.

  7. Are you kidding me?!

    What a great series of pictures!!!@

  8. Your encounter with the bobcat was amazing. Seems like he felt it was just fine that you were there in his world. He must be able to read you very well.

    That is very scary about R's food possibly being the source of his illness. We certainly hope that he will make a full recovery soon.

  9. What a stunning series of photos, I thought he would be either
    scared, or make a move to you.Truly a wonderful happening. Shyla shines, your fall colours are beautiful, and certainly not last, R looks as though he shines too.Greetings from Jean

  10. Ann...from...Outer Banks of NC...said.....It makes me feel so much better ..that R is being his sweet self again ...that handsome boy....and Shyla is learning a-lot of new things..such a lovely young lady in all the aspects of her new life..."A THING OF BEAUTY IS A JOY FOREVER"...The bobcat is so amazing..something definitely was on his mind ....seemed shy and quiet...and observant ...Do they hunt during the day? ..thought it was during dusk and midnight....good idea to scare him..don't want him to get too friendly with people...It would definitely be a bad thing for him..Have a great tomorrow...Hugs

  11. Heeelllloooooo BOB!! What beautiful photos. Maybe a gift from K!

    I've been feeding Wellness food with no problems for about 3 years...

  12. Whata glorious adventure with the cat. What great pictures. Like you, I hope he is more careful with any other humans that come across his path, but in the mean time, what a moment.

    Paws crossed for R.
    Bert and My Vickie

  13. Oh gosh- that photo of Shyla on hug hill is amazing- and so is she. I cannot believe that she really listens to every word you say- and wants to please you- by doing what you request!
    We are hoping the home cooked food for R will help him. Good the nausea med is working so at least he can keep his strength up.
    Your fall is already gorgeous! Just look at the beauty around you!
    And the photos of the bobcat are incredible-
    I think you are Mother Earths Whisperer!
    Thank you for sharing this beauty.
    It means so much

  14. Grrrrr at the food! Maddening!

    That bobcat looks like a domestic maine coon...if i didnt know it was a bobcat! At our home in CA we would get them a lot i. Our back yard, but stopped after it was deer fenced and when we got dogs...


  15. Oh that's marvellous! I love those markings on his ears. And good to hear that R's tummy is settling. :)

  16. Alright, I eat my words.

    AWESOME 'cat pictures. As you could see from my comments on the previous entry I was struggling. I think I'm a sensationalist. I always want to see the more "glamorous" of the options. River otter/mink. Coyote/red fox. And apparently lynx/bobcat.

    He just looks SO lynxy, until you showed that tell-tale "half moon cookie" tail tip :) Awesome.

    PS- I may be in the market for a puppy. I'll keep ya posted, landlord's dog just had 9 golden puppies!

  17. Poor R- he's had such a rough time lately but I'm glad it seems like you have nailed down the source of his illness. Shyla looks beautiful and so happy and the bobcat pictures were such a treat!

    My dogs have a history of tummy issues that inexplicably started about 9 months ago resulting in lots of diahrrea and vomiting that could only be controlled by daily metronidazole. I bought some raw goats milk as a treat for them 2 weeks ago and just 6oz a day has completely solved all of the issues and they've been completely off meds for the first time in almost a year! I've been reading up on the amazing health benefits of raw goats milk for dogs and thought it was worth a share given R's health concerns lately.

    Keep us posted!!

  18. I feel awful that you are still going through some trying times with R and I sure do hope that his tummy returns to normal very soon!! That picture up the top of Shyla on the hill is gorgeous! I love the one of R in the leaves too...very pretty!! And the bobcat shots...AWESOME!!! I have to ask you though...aren't you a bit scared that he might attack you?? I would be terrified!! Happy Monday to you!

  19. We loved seeing Mr.Bobcat and glad R is nearly back to normal. Have a lovely Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  20. What gorgeous pictures - of Mr Bobcat and of R and Shyla!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  21. What a beauty Shyla is - just like K and R, I will never ever get tired of seeing her pictures. I am not surprised at how quickly she is learning. And thank goodness R's stomach is feeling better. I had a similiary episode with Indy and Blue Buffalo food - since then I have been careful with what Indy eats.

    Off topic: I know you've mentioned back surgery and how your biking helps your sciatica. My husband has suffered for years with chronic back pain and it finally got so bad he went to get it checked out. He is going to a (highly recommended) spinal surgeon who told him he has a pinched nerve (he said it's like he has an elephant sitting on his L5!) and has recommended surgery to correct it. I wanted to ask about your situation and what you thought about this. I am quite nervous about it all - he is all I have in this world now!!! He is in the construction business so he puts alot of stress on his body. The sciatica pain is all on his left side and it's excrutiating for him :)

    Thanks KB :):) Hugs to R, Shyla and the runner.


  22. What an amazing day in the forest! That bob cat is beautiful.

    We're hoping that R's stomach and blood work will return to normal now that he is off the food.

    We're looking forward to seeing the video soon of Shyla.

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  23. First - gorgeous bobcat and you are so lucky to be able to get those close-up photos of him. I hope he becomes more wary though...

    And, second, I hope that your home cooked food is the answer to R's blood!! It's infuriating that toxins are found in kibble. Probably outsourced the food from China. Grrr....


  24. Just did a little research - the cat appears to be a bobcat as it's tail tip is half black and half white (black on top and white on the bottom). The lynx's tail tip is fully black around as if dipped in ink.


  25. I loved seeing the Bobcat too. What a beauty he is. You know domestic cats are famous for their curiosity and perhaps wild cats are too.


  26. I am wondering if you knew there was a recall on that brand of dog food back in May, and also, if there is some way to get that food tested, to try to determine what is wrong with it. If it was indeed the food that caused the problems. It's kind of scary to spend the extra money to buy a better quality dog food, only to have something like this happen! Does "Dad's" ever have any recalls?

  27. So glad Mr. R. is feeling better, but so disturbed to hear that you are so certain that it was the food. Natural Balance used to be such a good and trustworthy company, but I've been nervous about them ever since they started using Diamond to co-pack the food. How is the home cooking going?

  28. Those are some amazing pictures! I think that's a kitty even I might think twice about chasing. I hope R continues to improve and get totally 100% healthy again!

  29. You must surely be on a roller coaster of emotions with R. I do hope things will improve and stay that way soon.

    Loved the bobcat meeting. We have one that passes our woods frequently and we just stand in awe every time.

  30. KB, I am so in awe-he is so stunning. I wonder how his size is in comparison to mountain lions; I once saw one in Ca. while backpacking but it looked pretty small. I always worry about mountain lions because in Ca. there were many attacks. Glad you were able to see him and hopefully teach him to stay away from humans. I love your colors-they are break taking. In Estes on Friday there were some goldens and oranges but not as much as yours. Hope you have a great afternoon.

  31. So sorry to hear about the food for R, and hope that your home cooking will help heal him up fast.

    Looks like Shyla will be a quick learn. Love that photo with her ears sticking out like a plane. Too cute!

    Love the bobcat and know that you do too. Maybe he stayed so he could get his picture taken...he is rather fetching! BOL!

    Have a great day!

  32. I hope that dog food did not do long-term damage to R. That's so scary! Thank God you already know about home-cooking so you can at least do that for him short term.

    That is way cool meeting that bobcat! What amazing scenery you get to be a part of every day! It's absolutely stunning!

    Shyla seems to be adapting wonderfully to her new life with you!

  33. We hope R will recover soon and be back to his normal self/health.
    Shyla is beautiful! We are very happy for you both that you found each other!

    YD & June

  34. Wow the pictures of the bobcat is amazing, send them to National Geographic...
    Todays hunt I will write tomorrow, tired today and time to go to bed here, hugs!

  35. Shyla is a sweetheart! Wish we had known about the nose to foot thing for Sophie's first year of jumping!
    Sorry for what R is experiencing at this time. Hope everything sorts itself out over time and new food regimen.
    Now for those Bobcat shots!! OMG! How fortunate were you to get these? Absolutely fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing.

  36. Very cool encounter with a bobcat. I've only seen 1 from a distance in all these years.

  37. Wow the forest is looking so incredible. Thank you for sharing it on your blog.

    We are glad R's stomach issues are improving. His picture in the golden forest wowed me!

    As did the Bobcat pix.

    I enjoy coming here for many reasons, and today was one of my favorites because of your photography.

    Thanks for sharing your talents.


  38. Those are amazing pictures of mr. bob cat!

    I'm sorry to read that R's bloodwork is messed up. I had no idea his food was a suspect.That's pretty scary. Keeping our paws crossed for him.

  39. The bobcat photos are absolutely amazing! We're always a little wary here when an animal like a bobcat doesn't show fear of humans--they're usually very shy. There have been quite a few cases of rabies here.

    Sorry to hear that R's lab work showed increased problems, but it sounds like now that you've identified the likely culprit, he should be on the road to a full recovery.

    Glad to hear that Shyla's training is progressing so well. Her exuberance makes me smile. :-)

    Susan T in AZ

  40. Khyra says that's a khat for you!

    Great pictures of the nice khytty ;-)


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