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Monday, December 31, 2018

Puppy Hachi's First Week with Us

Hachi is continuing to get along better and better with our "Big Dogs" as we've been calling them recently. We adore seeing R hang out with him comfortably.

I even was able to get a photo of the three of them together.

We tried to emulate a photo taken 11 years ago when R was a puppy. The other two in the photo are S the Yellow Lab and K the Chocolate Lab. It's cool that little R is now the eldest in our pack.

I thought that you might enjoy seeing a short video of me training Hachi. I am teaching him things that are useful right now in his socialization: 1) touching my hand with his nose (because I can use hand touches to help him be comfortable around new people and objects), 2) responding to his name by coming toward me, and 3) sitting.

I am using a clicker to mark the instant when he does the right thing and following each click with a treat to reward him.

Thank goodness that he's going to grow. Training a tiny puppy like him is tough on my spine that is held together with rods and screws!

Here is the video.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Black Dog Sunday: Happy Siblings

Yesterday, our puppy slept on a BIG dog bed all by himself. He looked lonely.

Today, our Black Dog decided that the little guy was okay.

The previously skeptical Black Dog relaxed enough to snooze!

Then, our Brown Dog joined the family snooze.
A day to remember!!!

The puppy spirit seemed to take over the pack. The two older siblings played together.

They got pretty wild!

I think that Hachi is making our whole pack more puppy-like. Thanks little guy.
It is a truly happy Black Dog Sunday!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Christmas Bears outside our Windows

On Hachi's very first night with us, we had a surprising visitor - a bear! He was a smallish guy. The white pole that his paws were on was a bird feeder holder. It's a metal pipe sunk in concrete. It's about 10' tall, and it has horizontal branches sticking out from its top, each of which holds a feeder.
This feeding station has held up to many bears, including the huge Tiny, over about 15 years.

The 12/23 visitor was looking reasonably fat and healthy. He spent a long time trying to get to the feeders that were way over his head,

I love seeing bipedal bears!!!

The next night, a different bear visited. He was a male with ear tags. Those tags mean that he's been in serious trouble (usually involving trying to get to food near human homes). If he's caught again he'll be killed. He didn't try too hard to reach the feeders but he did give my cam quite a state!
I suspect that the bear with ear tags was relocated into our area back in early December. I don't know why he's still awake, except perhaps that his whole routine was turned upside down when he was moved.

A factor for both bears might be that they are finding accessible human food. That can make a bear choose to stay awake rather than retire to a den.

Here's the video of both bears' visit to our yard.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Warmth in a bitter cold winter world

It is amazing how much time and energy a little puppy needs.We've been having friends come over the meet Hachi and help him become comfortable with strangers. Then, when the day is normally over, we take him to puppy socialization classes. Socialization will be our theme with Hachi for the next couple of months.
His cuteness and loving spirit more than make up for the work.

Yesterday, I went out on my fat bike into a beautiful winter day with Shyla, and I had renewed appreciation for the amazing bond that has grown between her and me over the past seven years.

Shyla still has some mischief in her but I can mostly rely on her to stay by my side as I pedal through the world in glorious beauty like we saw yesterday morning.
When I pull out my camera to take photos of the beauty, she keeps an eye on me. That's important in a world that includes many moose and mountain lions.

She is, quite simply, "my Shyla". I know her so infinitely well and she knows me equally well.

And I am awed by how easily she navigates the world now, interacting with people and dogs along the way. I especially appreciate how far she has come as I watch our new puppy trying to puzzle out how to fit into the world.
Thank you, Shyla, for putting up with my impatience at various points along the path of your rehabilitation. Your heart is like a endless fountain of love. You have made me a better human.

A long term bond between a human and a dog takes years to grow... but then, after years have gone by, the strength and depth of the bond become so clear.
We are in the midst of a very cold snap. I took these photos yesterday morning during the 15 minutes of sunshine during that day. Despite how cold the outside air was, my heart was warm with my love for Shyla.

Puppies steal your heart in an instant but the love of an adult dog is steadfast.

Many thanks to the LLB Gang for hosting the Nature Friday Blog Hop.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Puppy Gratitude

On this wintery Thankful Thursday, I am grateful for the laughs that our puppy has brought to us in the few days that we've known him. And, I am so grateful to see our Labraduo getting more comfortable around Hachi. Thanks to BriansHome for hosting the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.

Hachi is changing by leaps and bounds. He was too afraid to walk far from the house - until yesterday. We decided to try having him walk a little way with the Duo. Before they came out to lead the way, he went out the front door, and then planted himself on the doorstep. He was refusing to go anywhere.

And, he looked very skeptical of the leash attached to him even though I've been training him to walk with it attached to him inside the house.

I have no photos from after the Duo came out with the Runner because Hachi was hustling along to keep up with his older siblings. He was even pulling forward on the leash! It was wonderful to have our first, albeit very short, forest hike as a pack of five.

When we got home, Hachi was full of excited energy, and he played crazily with his huge stuffed animal.

I made a video of him playing for you to see. I promise that I'll now learn how to video with my DSLR - today, I simply pressed the "record" button and then guessed how it actually worked. Despite my inexperience, I got some halfway decent footage today. I hope that you enjoy seeing a crazy puppy play as much as I did!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Lucky Us and Lucky Puppy

I must say that our puppy has brought many smiles and laughs to our family.

He got a stuffed bear that is bigger than him for Christmas. He peered at it out of the corners of his eyes.

He quickly got the upper paw over the bear.

After playing with the bear, a Christmas miracle occurred.

He looked up at his big sister with adoration as she let him lean into her for the first time.

We think that he's a happy puppy.
And we're lucky to have him.

I promise to write about something besides Hachi before too long!!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas (as my Irish dad loves to say). It is another day of getting to know our new little guy. This was outdoors, and he was letting me know that he doesn't love the cold and he's not thrilled to walk away from his safe haven - our home. He is, after all, still a little dog.

The best Christmas present of them all - Shyla is willing to be on the same bed with Hachi!!!

And another cute look just for each of you....
I hope that you all are having a happy day.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Puppy musings

We are loving having a puppy in our family! R was our last true puppy who arrived so very young. Shyla arrived at age 9 months so she was almost grown up.

This little guy has the most amazing puppy breath, a magical potent that I'd almost forgotten!
He's learning lots of things very fast. He's starting to understand house training already, and he slept through the night without a whimper. Also, I used a clicker and treats to begin to teach him to look at me when I say his name, how to walk on a leash, how to sit, and how to touch my hand with his nose. He's smart!!! (As an aside, I videoed our training in case anyone is ever interested in seeing it.)

The Duo are gradually warming up to him. Just this evening, Shyla shared a bed with him and even let him touch her for the first time. Surprisingly, R is more concerned about the little guy than Shyla is. He pointedly gets up and walks to the other end of the room whenever Hachi comes close to him.

This isn't our first rodeo so we know to let the Duo figure out that Hachi is okay on their own. We supervise but we implicitly trust both of our elder dogs not to hurt Hachi. Each of them moves someplace else if they don't want to try to interact with him.

Since I'm not rushing the dogs toward hanging out next to Hachi if they don't choose to on their own, I have almost no photos of them together. This one shows R's leg and how much bigger he is than Hachi. Hachi routinely walks under the bellies of both dogs, as if he's going under a bridge.

We are keeping our normal routines with the Duo so Shyla and I were out at sunrise today. First, we saw an incredible psychedelic sky.

Then the sun found a gap in the clouds to shine on Shyla.
We had fun despite frigid cold that made me lose all feeling in my fingers. I keep reassuring Shyla that she's my best friend. I think that she believes it.

Then, we returned home to Hachi. Some of you asked about his name. He is the eighth dog we've had since getting married, and "hachi" means "eight" in Japanese. Also, we love the loyalty of the famous Japanese dog named "Hachiko", who was called "Hachi" for short.

We already love this little guy. He's one of the best Christmas gifts ever. I say "one of" because R also arrived around Christmastime!
Happy Christmas Eve. Thank you SO much for your enthusiasm about Hachi. We are over the moon with happiness.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

We Welcome a New Family Member

Please welcome our new family member, Hachi. He's half Lab and the rest is unknown.

His mom is a chocolate Lab who was found pregnant on the streets in Texas. She was taken to a "high kill" shelter there, and then rescued by a Colorado group. Hachi has been with his mom and five littermates in a Colorado foster home for about 6 weeks.
We adopted him yesterday. We are thrilled to have him join our family.

He's overwhelmed and sleepy right now so he looks very serious in his photos, except when he's sleeping.
A new chapter of our family's life has begun!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

An insomniac bear vs. a trail camera

Usually, almost all of our black bears are in dens by this time of year. Some years, a bear or two is still wandering the forest but usually very sleepily.

This year is different. Bears have been spotted still foraging recently, and I've followed the tracks of a fast moving bear moving through our forest.

Then, a few days ago, I rode my snow bike into an area that bears like in the summer to check a trail cam. As I approached it, I wondered why I'd left it pointing at the sky. I explained it to myself by remembering that I'd been freezing the last time that I checked the cam, and I'd probably departed in a big hurry.

The real reason didn't even cross my mind.  A bear...

... had attacked the trail cam within the previous week.

Fortunately, unlike a previous time, the bear didn't kill the cam so it lived to tell the story. I have the video here for you to see.

Those healthy and clean teeth suggest that he's a youngster. Perhaps he needs an adult to tell him that it's time for bed!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Nature Friday - The Magic of Sunrise on the Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice!!! I am so happy that now we start climbing out of the darkness and toward a sunny spring!

At this time of year when darkness dominates, I find myself especially drawn to sunrise.

When I see a glimmer of red, purple, and orange from the eastern horizon, I get ready to sprint outside and take photos.

Look at the sky from a week or so ago! And the reflection from the frozen pond makes the view especially magical.

After the sun comes over the horizon, the mountains to our west glow purple.

And Shyla glows red when she's bathed in the rays of the rising sun.

If you're in the mood for a mellow sunrise view, check out the very short video.

Many thanks to the LLB Gang for hosting the Friday Nature blog hop.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Thankful for the Labraduo Bond

I will never cease to be grateful for how our Black Dog has taught Shyla to trust him completely.

By learning to trust others, Shyla has also learned to stand strong on her own.
Thanks to Brian's Home for hosting the Thankful Thursday blog hop.