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Friday, December 7, 2012

Sunrise and mountain lions

I'm trying to climb up high fast enough to see our December sunrises during Shyla's hike each morning. So far, the clouds have been the story of the sunrises...
It was amazing how fast my state of mind changed after I learned that the vets truly don't think that Shyla has bone cancer or a bone infection. All of a sudden, I was whining about an 8 week recovery. I realized that I needed an "attitude adjustment" this morning. It's something that will heal, and that is awesome news! It could have been catastrophic news.
My vet verified that the recovery process still has 8 weeks to go. To figure out how fast to increase Shyla's activity, our vet said to quantify Shyla's normal level of activity. Then, I should incrementally increase her activity (both total hiking distance and off-leash time) by 1/8 each week so that she reaches "normal" by the end of the recovery time. That makes sense to me.

Since the recovery will go on for a long time, I decided to start teaching Shyla some of the non-strenuous parts of agility before the agility course is literally hidden under the snow. The teeter-totter is quite scary for some dogs. I teach it by propping both ends of it up so that it is like a solid ramp to start with. I am teaching Shyla to walk back and forth on it so that it becomes familiar. The lower end of the ramp is only 1.5' off the ground so it's not a big jump for her.
Soon, I'll change the "props" on both ends so that the teeter-totter tips by 1" or so as Shyla goes over the fulcrum. Then, I'll gradually make the tipping action bigger and bigger. By this technique, K learned to love the teeter-totter in short order despite being a slightly fearful dog.
In other news, it turns out that the mountain lions are enjoying the early morning hours just like me and Shyla! But, they get themselves to remote terrain by the time the sun rises. A big male visited a scent post that I've been monitoring for three years continuously.

He arrived and spotted the soft red glow from the camera.
He walked over to check it out.
He turned back toward the base of the tree - which has been marked by approximately a zillion animals in three years.
He paused at the base, sniffing the scents.
Then he did something unique. He circled the tree.

Finally, he scraped the ground with his huge hind paws, and doubtless left a few drops of urine to announce that he is the undisputed King.
Then, he departed. He followed a "standard" mountain lion route. I've followed their tracks in the snow along this route on many occasions. It doesn't go on any trails. Rather, the route skirts the trails, keeping the lions out of sight of the trails. Over the course of his journey through our neck of the woods, he visited a couple of other trail cameras but I'll save those photos for another day!

A male mountain lion will be aggressive toward mountain lion kittens and even their mothers so I wonder if there was any interaction between this guy and the female who we've been following. Based on how fast he moved through the forest, I'm guessing not.

I do believe that the sudden influx of mountain lions has to do with the huge elk herd (about 150-strong) gracing our neck of the woods right now.
Lions love elk and so do I, but for different reasons!


  1. Khyra says THAT is a handsome Man Khat!

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful sunrise!

  2. PS: Since December 1st there has not been one, ONE!, picture of R on this blog. Which I think is shameful since he is just as beautiful as Shyla ever thought of being. I am going to keep count too, just like I was his publicity dog, so we better be seeing weekly representation of R, the Wild Boy,
    on this blog. Uhh, Or Else!

    Stella Spanador
    of Minniesnowda

  3. So glad that Shyla is not ill and that she will recover in due time. Still, I know it's difficult to be patient. Gorgeous wildlife photos!

  4. Ann....from....Outer Banks of NC...said...beautiful pictures as always....those mountain lions are so amazing....Just hoping every day brings Shyla a bit closer to getting better....I know it has been so stressful for all of you...So I have been wondering about R too...smooches for him and Shyla...Have a safe and happy week-end....HUGS

  5. Woof! Woof! How FUN you guys got an agility course. Dec (winter) sunrise n sunset got a distinct beauty. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  6. Just love the sunrise photo. And I suspect with the good news of Shyla and her leg the 8 weeks will go by quickly. That is one big cat, he is huge! Have a wonderful weekend friends.

  7. Ah, see how you have adjusted your training already to suit Shyla's condition, wonderful. How nice to know that in 8 weeks she'll be recovered. Amazing how much that word means. That is such a great idea with the agility training. Fred and Gloria's total agility training involves making it over the high curbs on our walk! lol!

    That male mountain lion is huge!! He definitely looks like he owns the place. I know it's nature, but I hope he doesn't get to the beautiful elk. I know.....wishful thinking. :)

  8. Don't you love it when we have to give ourselves an Attitude Adjustment every now and then!

    What a great way to spend the time with Shyla since she has to be on the slow-go. We never realized you had a whole agility course set up. That is awesome!

    The animals you catch on film are amazing. Without your pictures, many of us would never see things like that. So for that we thank you!

    And yes, we agree with those comments above. We gotta see our precious R!

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  9. The mornings here have been pretty gloomy all week, how I would love to see a sunrise like this one!!!

  10. Beautiful sunrise and monster big cougar...:)

  11. KB: That is a BIG CAT. Wow. Could you take a picture of your hand (or a dog paw) next to a track? I'd love to see how big. The only wild cat track I've found is Lynx in AK and that was impressive.

  12. Patience can be such a strain! But this is good patience rather than bad!!!

    Your mountain lions always look so magnificent!

  13. I'm in the same position as you with my Riley recovering from surgery. He is doing great but we need to severely restrict him for six weeks and then start to build up exercise just like your vet stated. It seems a bit overwhelming so thanks for the reminder to appreciate how well he is doing already.

  14. Totally awesome. I so miss my Lab..(

  15. How neat that your mom is teaching you agility, Shyla! You ace whatever you set out to do!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  16. That lion looks HUGE! I have a feeling he doesn't meet too many animals that stand up to him.

    Isn't it nice to have normal things to worry about, like eight weeks of recovery with a crazy puppy instead of bone cancer or infection? I'm so glad that she's on the road to recovery and to many adventures with you! I am certain that you'll find a lot of things to keep her busy while she's recovering.

  17. Weekend greetings to you KB, I loved seeing what you are doing with Shyla-wow am I impressed. We've missed training classes for 3 weeks(the trainer had to travel) and Hunter was so distracted today that it actually discouraged me. We are just doing the basics too but he just wanted to visit with the other two dogs. I think you should train me to train Hunter. Also those mt.lions are huge-you all be careful(that is my California stories coming to mind). It's lightly snowing here so I know you are getting hit. Stay warm friend!
    Hugs, Noreen and a tired Hunter

  18. Shyla, you so brave in learning all these new things.. Your so beautiful- and we have all fallen in love with you.

  19. Aw, you mean you don't think Elk is tasty (I've never had Elk, though I do like venison).

    8 weeks is 8 weeks...I love watching Shyla on the walk!

  20. Lovely pictures. Agility is fun. We do that sometimes on the dog training we go to. Ayla loves it.
    The lion is magnificant. The elks are beautiful, what is the spots they have on the fur? Ticks or??

  21. Love the elk photo! And I am very happy to hear that Shyla's leg has been given the OK.


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