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Monday, April 22, 2019

The Hachi Chronicle

Hachi is feeling so much more at ease since he's been able to run around again. Those 14 days of rest felt like 14 years!

He has naturally bonded strongly with R so I tend to take him outside to play with Shyla. If R were with us, I'm not sure that Hachi would look to Shyla to play. 

Shyla's favorite game is "stick". She won't accept any substitute for real sticks - no toys, no fake sticks. It's got to be a real stick. Shyla tries very hard to slow herself down enough that Hachi can play with her. She often "offers" Hachi the stick, as you can see.
Hachi will try to go for the stick but not very hard. I'm not sure why except that he may be a little afraid of Shyla's strength.

So, I had to laugh when he brought me a "Hachi-sized stick" all by himself!
He's a hilarious little guy!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Black Dog Sunday

R loves to sing and bark especially when a camera is pointed at him. On a recent day of singing, Shyla waved emphatically, as if to say "pay attention to me too"!

Then, she raised her trick another level to try to drown out her brother.
It was a hilarious day on the trail with the Labraduo.

By the time I figured out how to record R's singing on my camera, our Black Dog had decided that it was time to stop singing. Sorry about that.

Happy Black Dog Sunday!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Nature Friday - Getting Closer to Springtime

I remember the morning almost two months ago that I took this photo. It was SO cold. My fingers froze. which was painful and made it very hard to pilot my flying camera. When the sun peeked over the eastern hills, I could barely feel its warmth. But it was breathtakingly beautiful.
You might notice the flying saucer to the left of the sun. I did a double-take. Then, I realized that it was a lens aberration. That sure is a boring explanation compared to aliens!

Happy Nature Friday. We'll have springtime to share some day!!!

Thanks to the LLB Gang for hosting the Blog Hop.


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thankful Thursday - For R

R is the glue who makes our three dogs into family, He's Shyla's best friend.

And he's Hachi's main mentor.
Quite simply, R has a heart of gold, and that heart is what makes him everyone's best friend.

Thanks to Brian for hosting the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Silly Shyla Makes me Laugh

Shyla did it again. She made me burst out laughing!

This one had a similar effect.
Thank you Shyla! You make every day a bit brighter.

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Hachi Chronicle

We were busy working on a project, and the Runner needed to do something outside. Hachi normally keeps a close eye on all signs of movement outside and can obsess over them. So, the Runner asked me "to make sure that Hachi doesn't go crazy". About 15 minutes later, I realized that I'd forgotten my job. And, the house was scarily quiet. Puppy owners everywhere know what I mean by "scarily quiet".

I jumped up and searched for Hachi. Here was the sight that I found.
That photo gives you perspective on how close our two boys are. It seems that there's nothing that Hachi loves more than leaning on his brother.

It also shows how long his legs and body are. He has stretched out in the past month... yet, he is still only about 32 lbs.

I had to laugh at myself for visualizing a torn apart bedroom when I realized that the house was quiet. Instead, I found this angelic sleeping face.
To be fair, Hachi has destroyed almost nothing during his puppihood so far. Of course, I probably just jinxed his great streak - and will find something chewed up tomorrow. I hope not!

He has a good heart... and just needs to learn that the world isn't as scary as he thinks that it is.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Black Dog Sunday

Our Labraduo...

Their bond is so strong that I love hanging around with just the two of them when I get the chance. Our Black Dog played such a key role in helping save Shyla - giving her the courage to navigate our world - that I feel that it's important that Shyla has R all to herself every now and then. 
I don't think that I've ever known a dog who has brought so much happiness while walking the Earth as our Black Dog.

Happy Black Dog Sunday. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Nature Friday - A Brilliant Start to the Day

While so much of our country is seeing spring flowers, birds, and warmth, we are still waiting for those pleasures.

I am grateful that we have brilliant sunrises. They make my days.

Looking to the west, over the snowy Continental Divide...


More to the north...

And finally, looking to the east was the least brilliant.
 Happy Thankful Thursday. Thanks to LLB gang for hosting the blog hop.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Thankful Thursday - Silhouettes

Some of you know how much I love seeing Shyla's silhouette against a brilliant sky. It's been much too long since we were out when the sky had enough brilliance for a silhouette photo to work.

Then, finally, it happened. The sky looked like it was on fire. It was a windy day and evening, which is when low clouds "light up" like this. I cannot believe how bright they were.

Perhaps the best part was cooperating with Shyla to make these images. She knows the boulders that we use for silhouettes. All that I do is gesture toward one of them, and she clambers up, tail wagging. I can stand pretty far away, asking her to "sit", "stand", or "downward dog". She is an amazing canine partner.

As she continued to hold her yoga pose, the sky began to darken as dusk descended.
Thank you, Shyla. I love you so much. I am so filled with gratitude for how our bond has grown deeper with every passing month and year.

Thanks to Brian for hosting the blog hop.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Our Bears in Springtime

Today, I made my way to the area where the first bears appeared last year in early April. This year could not be more different from last year. The trail was blocked by bottomless snow drifts, some of which I fell into up to my waist! But I persevered because I was so curious to find out if the bears were there yet and if Tiny the Black Bear had come out of his den for another season.

Alas, I should have known when I fell into snow drifts that the bears were too smart to try to travel any distance in our forest in the deep and treacherous snow. No bears had been out yet this year.

Last year, Tiny was the first out, as he is most years. Mating season starts in the spring, and it seems as if he likes to spread his scent as many places as possible to get a head start on it.

This is Tiny's preferred way of marking trees. He stands up and rubs his back all over specific trees that all the nearby bears mark and sniff. He is very tall - as tall as a tall man.

It's best to see bears marking trees in ACTION so here is the video of Tiny on that day.

Tiny is a bear who has ruled our neck of the woods for a long time. No other bear is close to him in size. Some of you might remember that he returned from his long travels to forage and gain weight early last year, in August. He was badly injured, holding up one hind paw as he walked. He disappeared after that sighting, likely going into a den to start healing early.

I don't know if he'll be out this spring or not. He may simply continue to lie low as he gets stronger. Or, he may have died over the winter - I hope not but it's best for my heart to be realistic.

I will be checking my cams with more anxiety than usual this spring, hoping to see him.

Monday, April 8, 2019

The Hachi Chronicle

Hachi continues with his up and down behavior. He clearly worries about lots of things, as you can see in this photo. He was worried about something outside - but I didn't know what it was.

But then, almost instantly, he relaxed and snuggled into his brother. Look at those soft eyes.
A dog's "recovery" ability is important. That means how fast they recover after they worry about something. In this case, it was fast which is super.

Soon, he was asleep.

A little later on, he went out to play with his sister. His recovery from neuter surgery is over and was uneventful so he can play again! Shyla really wanted him to play stick with her. But, she's still a bit too strong for Hachi, even when she is taking it easy for his sake. So, he tends not try to wrestle the stick from her.

Like all little brothers, he did stick out his tongue at her!!
I am still struggling to accept how long it will likely take to teach Hachi to be less afraid. Indeed, just after this photo, a pair of people came into sight, running through the meadow. Hachi has played in this meadow since January but he has never ever seen anyone else in it. He barked reactively at them, and I couldn't back him up fast enough to calm him down. Fortunately, they have had a reactive dog themselves so they were very understanding.

There's so much for our boy to learn... Fortunately, he's already wonderful most of the time. He's so loving with us, his family.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Black Dog Sunday

Our vet wants to honor our Black Dog on National Specially Abled Pets Day.

Although his one-eyed look is his most obvious way of being "specially abled", he actually has an even more amazing way in which he's specially-abled. He was born with elbow dysplasia. He had a series of "clean out" surgeries starting with his first one at Age 1.  Each worked briefly but not for long enough because the weight bearing surfaces inside his elbow were gradually getting more damaged.

A few years ago, he was reaching the point that he couldn't run because he had no cartilage left in the joint. So, he had a rare and complicated surgery to replace the weight-bearing surfaces in his elbow.

It worked!!!! He's been running ever since. He's now over 11 years old. We see some stiffness in that elbow every now and then but he can run. I'm smiling even just writing those words. This photo was R sprinting atop a mesa in Utah last fall.
 We love our Black Dog, and we smile all the time about how well he's doing.

Happy Black Dog Sunday!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Saturday Sunrise

I discovered that I have some "flying camera" videos of sunrise that I haven't shared yet. Because we are in an uncharacteristically gray phase of the year, I needed a boost, and these colors did it!

Just before the sun peeked over our eastern hills. Look at the fog in the low lying areas, trying to creep up to higher elevation.

Ah, the sun!

It's amazing how fast the world lights up when the sun rays hit it!

I made a video from my flying camera of a 360° view of our area. You can watch it here or at Youtube.


Friday, April 5, 2019

Nature Friday - The Elk Herd

For most of the winter, I caught glimpses of our elk herd from a great distance. I used a very long lens to get photos of them.

One day, Shyla and I were out in the morning, and I was taking photos of her up on a boulder.
She frequently looked past me and into the distance. I didn't know why.

Later, I found out why.

The elk herd seemed to move back and forth on the land near our house all day that day.

And, they came very close to our house. They were so close that they were videoed by a trail camera that I had set up on the trail that we use to go in and out of our house. They seemed to swarm past it very close to it. I found the video to be fun to watch because it felt like the camera was almost in the midst of the herd.

I hope that you enjoy the video. I don't think that I will ever stop being so awed that we live someplace where an elk herd saunters past our house on a regular basis!

Thanks to the LLB Gang for hosting the Nature Friday Blog Hop.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Thankful Thursday - Bears and Amaryllis Flowers

This has been one of the tougher winters that we've had in a while. It's beginning to feel as if the snow may never melt, and sunshine is a long way off.

But, I saw one great sign today - bear tracks! This is around the time of year that a few eager bears emerge from their dens every year but the trail cams that usually capture their footage are virtually impossible to access now due to deep and sloppy snow. Thus, I have to rely on tracks on a dirt road to know that some bears are waking up.
The handwarmer (yes, still needed!) is for scale. It's 3.25" on its long side. Bears often overlay one track on another, and I believe that I see signs of that here.

One source of smiles over the past couple of weeks has been my amazing amaryllis plants. They have bloomed endlessly!

Every time I arrived home, it seemed as if yet another flower had opened.

I decided to try to make a time lapse movie of an amaryllis flower opening. It turned out to be much harder than I expected. I tried on four different flowers, and even my last try involved mistakes.

Despite that, I decided to share the video here. It's quite short (3 days compressed into 30 sec), and I hope that it makes you smile.


Many thanks to Brian for hosting the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Almost Wordless Wednesday - Puppy Peeks

Puppy Peeks

Puppy glows in sunset light

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Shyla Mimicks Me (part 2)

Shyla is a multi-talented dog. She can leap to great heights and then wag her tail as she descends toward the ground. But she's not just an amazing athlete...

...she is also brilliant at learning new things. Last week, I showed you video of her mimicking me doing some fairly simple things. Today, I have another short video of her mimicking me doing things that were somewhat more difficult for her to figure out.

Enjoy it! The video can be found here or at Youtube.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Puppy Hachi

Hachi is healing from surgery so he hasn't played like a puppy in 10 days. He's starting to go crazy but his siblings are helping him stay grounded.

To the extent that we can while he recovers, we've been working on helping Hachi with his fear-based issues. To help with resource guarding, I like to play a game that is designed to teach Hachi that great things happen to him after one of his siblings gets a treat. So, I give Shyla a treat and then immediately give Hachi three treats. I pause. Then, I give R a treat, rapidly followed by another three treats to Hachi. I'll continue on for several minutes with Hachi getting almost a meal's worth of kibble during the game.

It seems to work, in the short term at a minimum. Hachi doesn't guard food at all during the game. We are lucky that his resource guarding is relatively tame (compared to cases that I've read about) so it's safe to have all three side-by-side for the game.

After the game, R and Hachi were exhausted yesterday, and they snoozed in a sun puddle.
There have been no big changes since my last puppy update. The best thing is that Hachi has had no outbursts since that update. We are managing his environment carefully, taking care not to stress him or push him too fast.

It took the better part of six years for Shyla to become comfortable in her own skin. If I had known at the start of our journey that it would ultimately lead to a happy Shyla, I would have been far more patient along the way. However, in real life, we never know how something will turn out... and so I find myself feeling a similar urgency about "solving" Hachi's issues as I felt about Shyla's fears.

I need to take a deep breath and remember that important things don't happen overnight. I wish that they did!
I am still overjoyed with how united our pack is. We all love our puppy.