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Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Grayer Parts of Life even on Sunny Days

It's been a bad luck health week. First, I had a day of feeling blue and very lethargic. I should've known that feeling - it means that a migraine is coming on. However, I always try to pretend that it's not happening - as if ignoring the signs will ward it off. That strategy never works, and it didn't this week.

Then, just hours later, my lumbar spine seized up incredibly painfully. I had this exact pattern of pain in my left lower back and down my legs in late September. It eased a fair bit with my first PT treatments but it took about six weeks before I was back to my "normal". With roughly a third of my spine surgically fused, my "normal" is not the same as most people's normal but I've become used to it. This time, my PT wants me to make an appointment with my spine doctors, including the surgeon. Dang - I didn't like hearing that.

My motto in these bad phases is to keep moving - even if it hurts to move. My doctors used to prescribe "bed rest". It took me a while to realize that lying still all day was about the worst thing that I could do. Moving gently and carefully is a much better strategy.

So, I was out this morning with Shyla, taking special happiness in watch her gallop without pain.

She simply loves to run and does it with such grace and ease! This one was from a recent snowy day. Shyla was maneuvering through a rock and shrub filled part of a meadow. She took a low posture, snaking through the obstacles.

For me, photography is an activity that utterly absorbs me. I forget everything else (except for very bad stabs of pain). I love it. It's also wonderful to have a model who I love so much.
By the way, you may be noticing how fast Shyla is going gray. She's only 6 years old. She started going gray when she was less than a year old. The first places to go gray were where she had puncture wounds on her face when she joined our family (from an attack by another dog, we were told). Then, the gray fur started spreading fast. Our vet told us that a large study showed that fearful dogs tend to go gray much earlier than more confident dogs. She prepared me for Shyla to be more gray than chocolate before too long. So far, Shyla's paws are almost completely white, her chest is streaked with gray, her muzzle is completely gray, and her face is speckled with gray.

It seems that strangers and even a few friends can't help but blurt out a comment about how fast Shyla is going gray. It hurts to hear it every time even though I am fully aware of it. However, I barely see it in my everyday interactions with Shyla. Shyla is beautiful to me, no matter what.
Thanks for reading!


  1. Hari OM
    I was an 'early greyer', and I can tell you, folk say the darndest things out loud, without engaging their brains. Pay no attention Shyla darlin'; we's beautifurs!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

    1. ,,,daaaanngg... hit publish before leaving POTP for you mama... Yxxxxxoooooxxxx

  2. KB, I'm so sorry to hear about this painful episode. However, you are a true inspiration in the way you push through it and remain so active and upbeat! Puts my laziness to shame, LOL. Aww, I'll bet Shyla's gray is beautiful in person; just recently I ran into someone with a young, active dog that had grayed early. I love gray! My youngest pup (around 12) has grayed up around her muzzle quite quickly here in the last year while my 13.5 year old setter has none. My Josey didn't gray until her last year or so, and until she was about 12, people thought she was a pup (kind of like R!). I got my first silver hair when I was just 16, and had a tiny streak right at the temple by my early 20's. Fascinating how that works...

  3. The graying really interests me. Harlow is almost completely grey - and she will turn six this year. She was very fearful when we got her, and on very rare occasions I see that still, but for the most part we have resolved her issues. She didn't have a good start in life, we think she was beat - she was so scared of men wearing hats when we first got her, then the x-rays that revealed her toes had all been broken... we weren't surprised by how she was. I've not heard that before, but it could make sense.

    Monty, Harlow, and Ramble

  4. We don't notice Shyla's grey. We only notice that beautiful and smart girl that she is♥ We sure hope you can ward off spine surgery, KB.

  5. You are so right about "keep moving," even tho it is sometimes painful.
    Bedrest? We can bedrest when we're dead...
    Box Canyon Mark

  6. i agree with you about the bedrest being bad. i have suffered back pain since i was in my early 20's, just periods of it. and 2 years ago i had the sciatic thing down the left hip and leg plus the lower back pain. just saying this to say i know what back pain feels like, and yours sounds really painful. i did what you did, went to therapy and could not afford it so got them to show me how and now mine is much better than it was. prayers for yours to get beter and for those test we all hate to do. i think the test is worse than the back pain for me. I can't see Shyla's gray in your photos, she is so beautiful. why people say things is a mystery to me...

  7. I hope you feel better. I am the worst at "bed rest" and like you, would rather move even just a little bit. Photography takes my mind away from everything, I can get so immersed in the moment.

  8. We all send purrs your way and we hope you are back to normal soon. Shyla looks great no matter what!

  9. Grey or chocolate, she's beautiful. Feel better soon.

  10. I'm so sorry that you are hurting, but pretty sure that gentle walks and movement is the best. I don't think the gray matters, Shyla is a beautiful dog with such soulful eyes, there's just something about her that is very special. Maybe it is because she's overcoming things, like her fear. It would be such fun if you drove the Cathedral Loop and came upon that truck with the cattle still around. Mile 18, but I don't know where they started. I hope you will feel better soon.

  11. Grey hair and fur mean nothing. Just keep enjoying her antics. Hope PT can help you. Surgery doesn't sound good, but if it'll do the trick, you have to consider it.

  12. Most dogs we've had are constantly changing colors, and some just do it more quickly than others, I think. Our golden Sheba had a white face when she was not very old. She wasn't extremely fearful, but she was a bit of a nervous dog at times. That's interesting how it could be related. I have sometimes noticed more white hairs on Luke's face (he's 4).
    As soon as I read your first sentence, I knew exactly where you were going. I get the same "pre-migraine" symptoms, and I do the same as you...try to ignore them in hopes they go away! I also find a lack of appetite is a huge sign too. But honestly, I don't know what I could do to avoid one anyway. I agree that sometimes keeping moving can help pain...I think it's something about being busy and just getting your mind off it. That's why I often power through migraines, and rarely give in to them (luckily mine are not totally debilitating so most times I can do that).
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  13. I'm so sorry to hear about your pain - surgery sure doesn't sound good, but maybe good in the long run? I tend to agree with you about staying in motion - and losing yourself in your photography. When I broke & sprained my wrists in the Spring, I think working my way back to using my 150-600mm lens was better than the occupational therapy they put me through. :). I was focused on birds, not how much my wrists hurt!
    I love Shyla's muzzle, regardless of the color!

  14. Oh no...we are so sorry about your back and really and truly send lots of potent healing kitty kisses and gentle mom hugs.

    As for beautiful SHLYA....Gray is the IN color now a days and folks pay big bucks for it!! You see it in fashion and furniture and well even more in Madi and Mom Gray is beautimous!
    Hugs from two Gray ladies

  15. Sorry to hear you're experiencing pain. But so impressed at the care you take of yourself. Hoping your efforts help and that surgery won't be needed.

    I also read with interest articles that claimed fearful dogs grey earlier. The week of her 8th birthday, Honey has almost no grey on her face. But her back has a big white streak down it. Not sure what that means. Except that I love her every day, no matter what her color. <3

  16. All colors matter!
    a little gray shows she is smart and
    knows more than some people who blurt out
    hurtful comments.
    POTP for your spine.
    xo Astro

  17. I know you promised that you would take on any pain if your babies were healthy. I guess that bill came due. It has happened to me too but we take the pain. Tell people it is not nice to tell a woman she is going grey

  18. Shyla is a wonderful dog, friend and companion! Who cares what color she is!

  19. KB.... I am so sorry your back is acting up! You do not need this to be happening!
    I do hope however that you are able to find some relief, somehow.
    Shyla really is beautiful... and Tweedles started graying at age 1 also..
    We know how your feeling


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