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Monday, January 7, 2013

Finally...

I woke up this morning without a headache and without any obvious pneumonia symptoms. I almost leaped out of bed because I haven't felt this good since early December. Finally...

Shyla and I were out on the trails before sunrise, in the quiet of the early morning.
The clouds blocked the intense early morning sun but let the sun softly light the mountains.
Shyla and I took a long hike to a spot where I wanted to put a trail camera. We tramped all over a hillside, examining the animal tracks and choosing the very best spot. I pulled the camera out of my lumbar pack, and, to my utter dismay, it wasn't working. So, I carried it back home to fix it. Ugh - I guess that we'll be repeating that snowy and dark hike sometime soon.

On our way back up the steep hillside, slipping and sliding in the snow, the sun peeked over the ridge toward us. A flash of red captured my attention. It was the remnant of a shrub that bloomed last summer. Its red bark is peeling off, and the sun set it ablaze.
Amazingly, while I am absorbed in photographing something like this plant, Shyla usually sits next to me quietly, watching me closely. I say "amazingly" because she's really still a puppy, and I'd normally expect that I'd need to tell her what to do (like a sit-stay) but I don't. She's a special dog, and I can tell that we are becoming a team, with both us watching out for each other.

After we'd hiked back up into the sunlight, we did some training. We've been doing some remedial tricks this week - ones that I'd "taught" her before the whole "osteosarcoma, bone infection, or maybe an ulnar fracture" drama. I was so distracted by her health that I totally forgot about the fun tricks that I'd been teaching her.

So, today, I reminded Shyla about her "relax" cue. It took about 10 minutes of work for her to put all the parts together again. But, after those 10 minutes, she was snoozing on her side in the snow (I'm astounded that I somehow taught her to close her eyes for this trick by capturing it with a clicker - and she was smart enough to realize that I was clicking for eye closing).
It was unseasonably warm here today (it reached almost 50°F) so Shyla wasn't cold lying in the snow for a short period - just in case you are concerned that I was torturing her!

You all gave me so many good suggestions for tricks to teach Shyla in your comments the other day, aside from the normal "obedience" things that we're already working on. I plan to put together a list that I post and then try to check off one trick at a time. I'm very excited about it! It'll be fun to practice more clicker training and to build my bond with Shyla through fun training games.

Shyla is perhaps the most easily trainable dog who I've known in my life. It is so fun to watch her figure out what I'm asking. My trainer keeps commenting on how much Shyla seems to love working for me. Indeed, Shyla uses her "tricks" to distract herself when she's in "scary" situations in town. As a loud bus goes by, she might start poking my shoe with her nose or intensely making eye contact with me. Both of those are things that I've trained her to do in the quiet of our home - and she freely "offers" them in intense situations.

It's the start of a journey, a new journey with a new soul.

34 comments:

  1. Khyra is SOOOOO jealous at her snowy mattress!

    We are elated you are feeling better again AND finally!

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  2. So glad you are feeling better and can do what you love with your furry friends! You take some of the most fantastic pictures, I love looking at them and all that you capture with your lens! Thank you for sharing. Stay well!
    Lucy (silent MOD, Troy, Ohio)

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  3. Its great to hear you are feeling good, again. Personally I am over all the junk that 2013 delivered and now am leading a very happy life. Our temps are supposed to be in the 30s all week long, so we will be out walking and enjoying the weather as long as it lasts. Usually January brings 30 BELOW ZERO, not this banana belt stuff.

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

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  4. It makes us smile that you are feeling better. That photo of the shrub is amazing. And so is Shyla. When I am uneasy about something I bark my head off. I bet MOM wishes I would poke her shoe instead.
    Blessings,
    Goose

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  5. Glad you're feeling human again!

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  6. I am glad you are feeling better. The flu has been going around here, too, but fortunately we have all remained healthy so far ...

    I had no idea that Shyla was a little scared of new things. She looks very confident in her pictures. Pip is finally drinking out of the fountain. Though if given the choice, he still prefers his old bowl ...

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  7. I'm so glad to hear you're feeling better and to feel the happiness and connection with Shyla in this post. I'm also jealous of your dog training abilities. Because it's not just anyone that could accomplish what you are doing with Shyla. She's found a very good home.

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  8. I'm still in love with that relaxing picture! She just looks like a little snow angel there.

    I'm so glad to hear that you're feeling better!

    I'm not the least bit surprised that Shyla is so tuned in to you. You make a great pair. She reminds me a little of Bunny. She was never a wild child puppy to speak of, and she always had the same habit of being where I was and watching what I was doing.

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  9. Ann...from...Outer Banks of NC....said .....Headaches are not fun...so I just wanna say... praises are going up to the highest in command....I am so happy you are feeling better and you both can enjoy that wonderful snow and that fresh air and the awesome bond can grow stronger every day....love all your photos...they are so amazing....and so full of meaning.....give Shyla and R a smooch.....they are just two lovely pups and I know you and the Runner are so proud of them...HUGS

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  10. So good to hear you're feeling better again. Makes us appreciate good health a bit more, when we lose it for a bit, doesn't it?!

    Romp on... Andrea
    XOXOXO

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  11. So glad to know you're feeling better, and so happy to see you and Shyla enjoying each other's company so much! :)

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  12. Glad you both are now well enough to continue life without hinderance. What is developing between you and Shyla is a simply lovely bond to see weaving itself...makes the heart sing.

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  13. I am so glad you are feeling better. Nurse Shyla can relax now, her patient is healed.

    Anne and Sasha

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  14. Woof! Woof! Good to hear you are feeling better. Headaches are not good, my mom gets that too. As always love the photos ... made me miss SNOW. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

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  15. Your words say it all, I can hear that you are so much better, and the last words," a new journey with a new soul" are everything,Beautiful photos, fondest greetings, Jean.

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  16. I'm impressed and a little jealous of your ability to work with Shyla to the point that you shaped her to close her eyes! That is a magnificent trick.

    I'm so glad you're feeling better!

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  17. So glad to hear that you are feeling better!!! Not so glad to hear that the trail cam didn't work after you trekked all the way out there to set it up! Shyla is a special girl and she has a very special glow in her eyes! You two are working very well together! xo Jeanne

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  18. Glad to hear you're feeling better!

    Your bond with Shyla reminds me of my Cairo, the bond her and I had was so amazing. I love reading about Shyla and seeing her pictures, such a beautiful girl.

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  19. And your journey is beginning beautifully!

    We're thrilled to hear that your headache is gone and you are feeling good again.

    Great job Shyla!

    Hugs,
    Lily Belle & Muffin

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  20. Glad you are feeling better!

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  21. So glad to hear that the sickie bug in your house has finally moved on. Now life can be fun again! Shyla is moving ahead so fast in her training. She really amazes me.

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  22. Thank you so much for the kind words on our blog!

    Yours,

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  23. It most certainly is, KB~~~~~a new journey with a special dog! Shyla is so quick.....that is just incredible....I do believe your nature helps Shyla learn that much more quickly! She trusts you implicitly!

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  24. What a beautiful dog, and amazing scenery. I have been to Colorado a few times, but we want to go explore there more.

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  25. Glad you are feeling better. I love that Relax trick..so neat!

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  26. Glad your headache ended and good luck with the trick training!

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  27. With that bright sunshine, she could almost be laying on a white sand beach, somewhere tropical and warm!

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  28. With that bright sunshine, she could almost be laying on a white sand beach, somewhere tropical and warm!

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  29. SOOOOO glad you are feeling better! Doesn't the world seem brighter after an extended bout with an illness? Maybe it is just me that sees it that way.

    I love that you and Shyla are bonding and she is so in tune with you and vice versa! Can't wait to hear about the fun tricks!

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  30. Glad you are feeling better, beautiful pictures....Shyla is a great dog.

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  31. Your last two sentences and the last pic of Shyla brought tears to my eyes...

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  32. We just adore that last picture of you, Shyla, and of course the one of you sleeping in the snow!
    We're so happy that you're feeling better, KB!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

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  33. Very nice, but you still better take it easy. At least you had a nice trek despite the malfunctioning camera
    Benny & Lily

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  34. She truly is such a smart girl. And she has such a unique and fun personality!

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