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Sunday, June 30, 2019

Black Dog Sunday

R and I had some fun together this week, visiting the meadows of yellow together. By our standards, it was hot - perhaps in the mid-seventies. So, R camped out under a giant yellow flower for some shade!

He's such a fun and loyal dog. I feel so lucky for every single day in the sun that I have time with him.

At one point while we were in the meadow, I took out my very wide angle lens. To use this lens with a dog, I need to be about a foot away, at most. R looked at me set up so very close to him, and he got impatient for the treats in my pocket. He decided to wave to me, hoping that a wave would convince me to empty my pocket of treats for him. He bopped my camera with his paw as I hit the shutter button. The result is not a beautiful photo but it really made me laugh!

That's our hilarious black dog. He makes me guffaw regularly... Thanks, R!
Happy Black Dog Sunday!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Summertime on Saturday

Suddenly, summer has arrived. The yellow flowers have reached a sharp peak, and I adore seeing Shyla gallop through them.

The columbines are bursting into bloom.

And Hachi is learning to stop and sniff the flowers.
It's glorious. Happy Summertime!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Mama moose's new calf learns to swim!

It is a miraculous time of year. Mama moose would like to present her new calf!
It is incredible how much smaller a calf is than mom. I think that mom might need to lie down to let her calf nurse.

For part of their time at this pond, the calf was very mellow. But then, the calf decided to swim! Mom was standing next to my trail camera. She seemed concerned, making some grunting noises.

The calf made it across just fine. But then mom tried to leave while her calf was on the other side of the pond. The calf moved very fast to catch up.

Sightings like this one are a big reason why I love it here so much.

You can check out a video of their time at the pond, including the swim.

Thanks to the LLB Gang for hosting the Nature Friday blog hop!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Thankful Thursday

On this Thankful Thursday, I am feeling gratitude for how far medical research has come. First, there's Hachi. Without the breakthroughs in helping humans with psychiatric disorders, Hachi would not be doing so well today.

Seeing him and Shyla play each evening makes my heart swell with gratitude. Although Shyla is only seven years old, her gray makes her look older, which I love seeing next to the puppyish face of Hachi.

He seems so much happier with his behavioral meds on board. He's not constantly worried and afraid. He plays like the puppy that he is.

I'm trying to be grateful about medical advances for another reason. My dad has cancer, recently diagnosed. His treatment is starting. It's been hard having that going on along with the other stressful "stuff" of the past couple of months.

No one ever knows how our tough times will turn out. Part of life is trying as hard as you can to sway events in a good direction but you never know what will happen in the future. Yes, Hachi seems to be improving but we don't know how his temperament will turn out. And my dad has great doctors who are optimistic. I hope that their optimism is right on.
Thanks to our friend, Brian, for hosting the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

A Bear Sow and her Cubs!

'Tis the season when mama bears and their cubs are out of their dens and starting to explore their world.

The bear sows who gave birth over the winter tend to come out of their dens in late May. I know that from the den where I have trail cameras posted. So, it is not too surprising that this cub was feeling a bit overwhelmed on June 3 - he may have been in his first week out of his birth den. It almost looked like he wanted his mom to carry him.

By June 12, mom and the cubs looked more relaxed. After a bath, mom even marked a tree, which surprised me. Sows with new cubs usually try to stay under the radar for a while.

The cubs didn't bathe. They looked a little confused by the water. But, they did climb trees!
This mother is certainly one who we observed last summer. This must be the heart of her territory if she's even marking trees. However, I am having a hard time identifying her. As she gets thinner until bear food becomes more available in July, I hope that I'll recognize her from last year.

I have a video of the family which I hope that you enjoy!

Monday, June 24, 2019

The Hachi Chronicle

Hachi has had an amazing week. He is not worrying so much about life, and it seems to be due to the behavioral meds. It is so wonderful to see.

We had another appointment at the behavioral vet hospital this week. His first appointment a couple of weeks ago led him to be labeled as "very reactive", meaning that he responded to strangers by barking and lunging at them. This week, he was calm and relaxed. He didn't bark or act upset at all during his appointment. That's probably entirely the effect of the meds, and we are so happy about it. It seems that the meds are relaxing his mind so that we can now do behavioral modification much more effectively.
Hachi spotted cattle, gazed at them, and then let it go!
I can hardly express how much better we feel about Hachi's progress this week. It feels to me as if he will eventually be almost normal. In fact, even now, he appears to be normal in settings where he's comfortable, like at his dog training class or in familiar places in town. He also does great on the trails near our house. Every person who he's met there has been nice - so he's learning to look forward to seeing people there. The meds are changing him so much - in a good way.
Letting loose in the meadow behind our house
He's still living separately from the other dogs inside the house, and that will probably continue for quite a while out of an abundance of caution. When he is comfortable wearing a muzzle, we'll be able to consider letting him spend time loose in the house with the Duo but not until then. He's already pretty good about wearing a muzzle... and I hope that we can make a big leap forward soon.

He loves his off-leash time with his siblings on the trails. He and Shyla chase each other so very fast, around and around in circles in the big meadows near us. Hachi runs so enthusiastically, luring Shyla into chasing him.

And Hachi is off to the races, knowing that she will chase him. Doesn't he look like a happy puppy?
I know that this will not be a straight line journey from damaged puppy to a normal puppy so I fear getting too optimistic. But, for this week, I am smiling. Our puppy is happy.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Black Dog Sunday

Our Black Dog goes so well with yellow flowers!

He went out for a short bike ride with Shyla and me this week.  They lay in the yellow flowers together when we got up high.

It's been so cold that our flowers are a bit behind where they usually are at this time of year. I am really hoping that all of this rain, which purportedly will be followed by sunny and warm weather, will make them take off!
The three of us had a blast out on the trails together. Our Black Dog's amazing energy and love of life continues!

What a happy guy our Black Dog is!!!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Saturday Rainy Day Blues

In the midst of a very rainy string of days, this Coloradan is wondering where our 300 days of sun per year have gone. 40°F and rain is my definition of very cold for this time of year.

Perhaps all of this rain will help the flowers grow even taller!
Please send our sun back!!!

Happy cold and rainy Saturday!

Friday, June 21, 2019

A Curious Mountain Lion Checks Out a Lion Marking Area

A young mountain lion was in our neck of the woods recently. My trail cam first captured his movement a bit to the east of here. Eventually, he made it to a favorite mountain lion marking spot quite nearby. He walked into a clearing and sat quietly.

Soon, he moved toward the spot where lions have scent marked for a long time. It's a spot where the pine needles are scraped into a big pile by lions who kick backward with their hind paws ("scrape").

Next, the lion sniffed the air.

After he sniffed, I fully expected him to mark that spot himself but he did not. "He" never gave us a view of his hind end that would give us an idea of whether he's a male or female. The fact that this lion did not scent mark makes me think that the lion might be a female.

The lion stood still for a moment...

...and then walked close to my cam as he departed.
You can see the faint bars of darker fur on the inside of his right front limb. That's part of why I think that this lion is young, despite being full grown.

This clearing was the sole territory of our big tom cat who was killed this winter. Now, several different mountain lions have visited it. I wonder which of them will take up residence in this "open" territory.

I compiled the footage into a short video I especially love how slowly and thoughtfully the lion acted while in the clearing. It's a rare kind of daytime behavior to see!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Thankful Thursday - For our World

I love our mountains, even when they're stormy.

 I love my time on the trails with Shyla, even when it's raining.

Shyla loves to run, even when it's chilly and damp.

And we both love those yellow flowers, no matter what.
I am thankful for springtime, here in the Colorado mountains, even if it's been cold and rainy a lot this year!

Thanks to our friend, Brian, for hosting the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A New Big Bear Dances with Enthusiasm

Bear mating season has finally gotten into full swing. Our late snows and all the cold and wet weather seemed to dampen their enthusiasm for tree-marking and traipsing around looking for mates. Now, every bear tree has many visitors every week.

We have a new big male in the 'hood. He's not quite as big as Tiny but he's dancing his way along the mating trails. His dances are so enthusiastic that they even break off the tops of trees.

He has a magnificent "cowboy walk" as he marks the ground with his paws' scent glands. Bears mark the ground so vociferously that they leave paw-sized impressions in the ground that often lead away from a marking tree for 10 yards or so. The dents in the ground persist over years. They can be hard to see but easy to feel if you get on your hands and knees. Yes, I am crazy enough to do this!

This new big bear looks crazy as he uses a stiff-legged gait and changes his step length to make sure that his paws fall in the impressions. You can see that most obviously at the very end of the video as the bear walks away. See if you think that "cowboy walk" is a good moniker.

I have a short video to share with you showing the amusing dances of this enthusiastic bear.
PS I picked up some more footage of our local bear cubs from a trail cam today. I will post them soon. Cuteness overload!

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Hachi Chronicle

Hachi seems to be calming down. The meds have brought down his intensity quite a bit, and the Prozac isn't even supposed to take effect for a while longer. For his mellowness, we are grateful.
He will be separated from the Duo within the house for the foreseeable future. The good news is that the separated pack is becoming more routine for us. We have an ex pen, extra crates, tethers, and gates. With all those options, we are finding it to be easier to move the dogs around the house without interactions. And, doors no longer have to be closed to separate the pack. It feels much better that way.

Hachi's mellowness means that some of his training is going much better. He does something called the "Relaxation Protocol" which is often prescribed for reactive dogs. It involves him lying on a mat while we do all sorts of silly things, including pretending that someone is at the door. He now can handle all the crazy things that we do - and remain quietly in a down-stay, even when we go to the door and pretend to talk to a visitor. That's a huge step forward.

Every morning and evening, Hachi has played with the other dogs with no problems whatsoever. He and Shyla love chasing each other and playing stick.

He has such a blast sprinting around outdoors.
We are glad that he has an outlet for his puppy energy. It keeps him happy.

Most of all, we are feeling far more upbeat this week than last week. We feel some hope but we also feel like our current routine is sustainable for the long term. That's a big step forward.

Thanks so much for all of your support.