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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Winter Blast and Pup Progress

These are the days that test my spirit every year for some reason. It is freezing (literally), humid, and intermittently snowing today after a sunny and hot day yesterday. I saw this hillside, with frost-covered pine trees and yellow aspen, on my bike ride today. I was dressed in "full on" winter gear. I'm still shivering.
We are in that odd shoulder season, partway between autumn and winter - and that can be a super cold season here in the mountains.
Prior to my bike ride, I played with my puppy on the trails. She's an amazing girl, with a heart of gold.
I'm not sure who is changing more, her or me. I see someone different when I look at her now than 5 weeks ago when she arrived. I notice how strongly she looks me in the eye.
Shyla is gaining confidence in every aspect of her life.
I think that a big part of it is the bond that we're building. All the playing, hiking, and training has brought us together quickly.
I giggle when I see her galloping with such puppy happiness in our forest.
She's still working on being comfortable in the bustle of town and overcoming the scariness of meeting new people. But, she's made miles and miles of progress. Deep in her soul, she wants to meet people, even if it's so scary that she belly crawls to them (and the belly crawl is gradually disappearing as she is learning that people are very nice). I've worked intensively with our awesome trainer over the past month, and I now feel confident about how to introduce Shyla to most new situations.

Oh - and a huge note - Shyla almost totally house-trained. I cannot remember her last accident even though we're giving her the freedom to wander the house whenever we're home.
Based on how far she's come in just 5 weeks, I'm pretty confident that she's going to learn to handle almost anything with time and lots of carefully orchestrated exposure to the world. The one big thing that she still shies away from is children. Children seem to puzzle and scare her. We will be working on that in the future. I have two nephews who want to meet her so that's a big one for us.
And - more good news - our boy R is feeling better with each day. He's been asymptomatic for a week now. He's regaining his energy for running and for playing with his sister. He's not yet regaining weight but that'll happen with time if he keeps improving. Tomorrow, we'll check his progress with a blood test.
The huge lesson that I've learned is: If your dog usually loves a certain kind of food but suddenly doesn't want to eat it or even just hesitates to eat it, STOP. Take the food away (don't try to entice him to eat it like we did). Try some other kind of food but do not go back to that original bag of food unless your vet finds some ironclad other reason for the lack of appetite. It's better to be safe than sorry.

On a final note, even though I'm building an incredible bond with Shyla, I still miss K every single day. And, she's not the only one who I've lost to cancer. I lost two dogs before her. I lost my mom and grandmother to breast cancer at a young age. So, when I ran across this cycling jersey on the web, I was sorely tempted by it. I try not to use profanity because my mother always said it was a sign of a poor vocabulary (an argument that I thought was ridiculous as a kid)... but this seems like a case where it could be excused. What do you think?


  1. I can see the difference in Shyla just in the pictures. It was hard to go from looking at K's intensity to Shyla at first. She is beautiful and really taking to you. So happy that R is better. And yes, I do think profanity is acceptable in this case. We have all been touched by it. Love, love, love following you :)

  2. Shyla is certainly coming on in literal leaps each week.The cycling outfit, the words say it all.And not only for us people, all animals too. Is this early for you to get snow? I'm sure it was freezing, and biking is even colder when the wind and cold air rush past your face,hands and body. Winter gear will be the outfit of the day. Cheers from Jean.

  3. Shyla is so beautiful. Love the outfit
    Benny & Lily

  4. Way to go, Shyla and R - keep up that great progress. Such beautiful dogs.
    I have to agree with your mother. I like the jersey except for the word; there must be a better way to say it. I find that word particularly offensive. You will have to use your own judgement.
    Farm Gal in VA

  5. Love the jersey. Yes, it's a strong word but appropriate in this case. Please post where can you order them? I'm sure the proceeds go to the great cause of exterminating cancer.

  6. LOVE the shirt! Shyla is so beautiful

  7. so glad that R is feeling better!! i see the confidence in Shyla.....and the intense look in her eye....
    LOVE the jersey!

  8. I agree, I can see the difference in Shyla in the pictures, too. She she's filling up her body instead of trying to shrink inside it. My bet is that she'll handle your nephews much better than you expect. When she figures out that they will give her treats or throw a favorite ball or toy for her, my bet is that she will adore them. You are lucky to have the ability to sort of create a controlled situation with her meeting them. From what I've seen of your posts of the boys with the dogs before, they are eager to help with dog training, and if you explain to them that she's a little shy, not to stare right in her eyes but to calmly offer her treats or toys, I bet they will be tripping over themselves to help. Plus, if Shyla sees how much R likes them, she might follow his lead a lot, too.

    I LOVE that shot of the mountainside with the dashes of yellow! That is just a beautiful shot. You should really think about doing a calendar. You could sell a lot of them!

  9. The autumn photos of Shyla are just gorgeous. I can see in her eyes the way she looks at you that she is devoted.
    What a smart puppy!
    And we also think the shirt is just perfect! Absolutely!

  10. I've said it before and I'll say it again, "you got yourself another cover girl there. Love the photos of her face and eyes.

    So glad R is feeling better.


  11. Keeping my fingers crossed that R's blood work shows progress.

    As far as the shirt I say go for it, but then I have never shied away from using any sort of profanity ;-)

    My mom is a breast cancer survivor so I know how scary it can be, but she is one of the lucky ones.


  12. Those photos of Shyla are so beautiful. Such expressive eye.
    This might surprise you but MOM smiled at the shirt. She would have been tempted to buy it also. Her family has experienced loss to this ugly thing and others, including my MOM, are still trying to kick it's butt.

  13. I am so happy that R is improving and that Shyla is coming along so well!! I am a cancer survivor, so I love the outfit and am all for it.

    Anne and Sasha

  14. Love the pictures of Shyla and am very happy to hear that R is feeling much better!! In this particular case, profanity is more than welcome. You would ROCK that outfit!
    xoxo Jeanne, Chloe and LadyBug

  15. We aren't swearers either, but love the jersey! Shyla is looking good, and we are excited by R news.


  16. Love the outfit!! I am enjoying hearing of the bond you and Shyla are gaining. She looks more relaxed and comfortable. I hope you have years of getting to know each other. You both deserve it!

  17. Love the cycling jersey and such gorgeous photos of Shyla and R!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  18. The look that says YOU ARE MY WORLD -

    I always love when I get to experience that one - whether it be with my 'K' or with transport passengers!

    Nice shirt - f*khk the language ;-)

    BTW, I had better keep my eyes on The Zen-terra keys - Khyra might be heading to KholWOOrado for the awesome weather and company!

  19. Glad to hear Shyla is coming along so nicely in her training. Our new girl, Shelby, is also a little skittish about everything that's different from her normal surroundings. We'll have to start working on that too.

  20. That 4th photo down of Shyla is just the greatest!!

    Yes to the bike shirt! Hopefully there is a built-in contribution to research....


  21. Re-the jersey, we say go for it! This is one case where the word is well chosen!

    The close-up portraits of Shyla looking straight at the camera are absolutely wonderful!

  22. The fall pictures are gorgeous!
    Love the golden tones of the leaves with Shyla! I am so glad to hear that R is feeling better!

    Love, love the cycling shirt! If I was a biker I would get one, for sure!

  23. I'd say buy that cyclic outfit and where it with pride!

    It will definately grab attention....and that's the point.

    In my opinion profanity isn't good or bad....they're just words. They become bad with they are used to hurt or atack someone (which non-profane words do just as well). In the case of the shirt above, the profanity is to help!

    -btw...if you can't tell, I also once got the "profanity is a sign of poor vocabulary" talk too :)

  24. For those wondering where to get the shirt, I was able to read the website underneath the slogan and check it out. It's, and that is indeed the place to buy the cycling shirt. And it says 100% of proceeds goes to charity, which I assume is everything beyond the actual wholesale cost of the shirt.

    I, too, was encouraged not to use "bad" words in front of my mom growing up, but today at nearly 92 her tolerance has certainly changed and I suspect she'd be in total agreement with the sentiment on this shirt!

    And Shyla is growing more beautiful by the day. You are such a fortunate person to have her in your life!

  25. It's so good to read that R is doing well again! And I find it hard to believe Shayla has been with you only 5 weeks. She has come so far, and you two have such a close relationship. You are both so fortunate to have found each other!

  26. You can see through your post how much Shayla has begun to trust you and how much she has grown. I have also lost many family members to cancer and my brother survived Leukumia at age 4, 30 years ago. Earelier this week, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. He's got a fight ahead of him, but he's up to the task. I ordered one of those shirts. It's been hard to remain positive (my dad isn't in the best of health to begin with), and that shirt just gave me a surge of empowerment for him. Thanks for sharing it, it truly made my day.
    -Corbin's momma, Jenn

  27. Shyla looks like she is really loving life with you and R! Glad to hear is doing better. You are so right about the dog food! When I had my dog Copper - I poured his food in the bowl and he sniffed it and didn't want it. I thought it was weird, then on closer examination - it turned out there were maggots in the dog food!!! I felt so bad. That's when I started educating myself about dog food and different brands and now I always, always check a bag (even though I use a high quality human-grade dog food) for anything squirming around in there.

    I'm not a fan of profanity either. I am in agreement with your mom. It lacks imagination and also is usually a result of poor vocabulary! I agree we should fight cancer - but let's not sink to that level, right? :)

  28. Miss Shyla has cahnged so muchly since her came to lives wivs yoo, wee can see it in yor photys, wee lovs to looks at all yor pics dems givs us da happies.
    Now ein k9's wee has no ideas wots dat word meens utts our Momster who is still fightin the fight finks it is awesome n her sayd ifs her wos nots so round her wood wear it.
    So wee say GO FUR IT ! Anyfing dat makes funs ov da C monsta is fines wivs us

    Da K Krew

  29. We think the cycling outfit says it purrfectly. Sometimes it is necessary to use profanity, or at least that is what Meowm says.

    The woofies are looking so wonderful and we are glad that R is feeling better.

  30. Go for the cycling jersey!

    Amazing how cold those first cold mornings seem, isn't it? I expect you might have gotten some snow as well. Looking forward to seeing sweet Shyla playing with R in the white stuff. So glad to hear R is doing well. Fingers crossed for good lab results.

  31. We can sure tell that Shyla is in love with you..she looks so happy in her pictures.
    We also understand that you are missing K...we struggle with that everyday at our house...
    we loves the shirt!
    Stella Rose

  32. Hi KB, Shyla certainly is settling now. Why wouldn't she with you to love her and show her the ropes. We love all your photos, they are just so fabulous. We love the cycling shirt too. What other word expresses what we all think of cancer! No worries, and love, Carol (and Stella and Rory)

  33. I'm glad to hear that R is getting better. I'll be interested in seeing how you progress with Shyla's fear of children. Latte is the same way. When the neighbor kids play outside she crouches and barks and darts away if they approach the fence. I yelled at someone else's kid for the first time in my life when he ran at the fence with a toy bow and arrow pointed at Latte, pretending he was going to shoot her. That sort of behavior certainly doesn't help.

    And I think there is a time and place for everything. It's good to get a bit of frustration out, especially if it makes you smile. I'd like to find something similar in a t-shirt only it would be f' depression.

  34. Hi Y'all,

    Love the shirt and the sentiment, but personally wouldn't wear it. I have mixed feelings about the word. It's definitely the sentiment toward cancer, but the word itself is offensive to me.

    BrownDog's Human

  35. Hi Y'all!

    Woof, woof and bow wow R! You go fella! So glad you're feelin' better.

    Also wanted you to know that my Human learned something from you and when I stopped eating half way through a bag of new food, they stopped and cooked people food for me until they could get to the store and get me different food.

    Thanks R and KB.

    Hawk aka BrownDog

  36. I recently lost my sweetest Coonhound, Daisy, to complications related to lymphoma and that's exactly how I feel. I think you should rock the jersey!

  37. I'm chuckling because that is exactly the jersey I thought you meant. I think it's a cool jersey for some people, but I'm an old fogey with your mom's point of view so deeply embedded, I can't escape. So I'm sporting the Fat Cyclist jersey. But you have to admit, this one does make a STRONG statement!


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