Photos and text copyright Romping and Rolling in the Rockies 2009-2017.

All photographs and text within this blog are copyrighted.

You may not copy or repost any photos or text without specific permission from the author of this blog. When in doubt, please ask.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful that I am starting to feel a bit better. I have been working hard at my range of motion exercises, and they are paying off. I can even reach my keyboard with my right hand! I can also reach my handlebars on my indoor bike trainer. 

I am so fortunate to be able to get my shoulder fixed and to have an amazing physical therapist working with me. I'm also so thankful to have the Runner helping me so that I don't have to push the limits more than I should.

It still feels like normalcy is a long way off but I am doing my best to be patient. I am hopeful that I'll be able to ride to my favorite places by summertime. I don't know if I'll be able to handle rough trails on my bike that soon but time will tell. I certainly will try to be strong enough for my favorite trails! This photo was from a long fat bike ride just before I blew out my shoulder.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Wordless Wednesday

I'm learning to turn my photos into paintings. It turns out that painting in Photoshop (using a tablet) is really nice rehab for my shoulder.


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Bears and cats at a leaning tree

Last fall was when I began falling behind on almost everything, even my wildlife cameras. I just ran across footage from one of my favorite sites - a leaning tree that bears love to mark and cats love to scrape below. It's intriguing to see how our biggest carnivores are drawn to the same spots.

Check out the video!


Monday, March 28, 2022

The Hachi Chronicle

We had a week of continued steady work with Hachi. We did multiple visits to the exam room at our vet's clinic. He continued to get upset about voices in the hallway outside the room but he let his tension go pretty fast after reacting. By the end of each session in the exam room, he could hear the voices and not react. That meant that we had great practice rounds of the bucket game at the end of each session.

We also had sessions with our trainer. It is heart-warming to see how much Hachi has come to eagerly anticipate our sessions with her. He loves all the treats that he gets while interacting with her. And, this week, we made good progress on one lingering problem. That problem was that he'd be relaxed around the trainer all of the time except in those unstructured phases in between games. For example, if the trainer was playing one game with him but wanted to transition to a game outdoors. Hachi would bark at her as he moved toward the door to go outside. 

We implemented something called a "pattern game" to use in the transitions. The specific one is "1-2-3". The handler (always the Runner right now due to my shoulder) says 1-2-3. He drops a treat to hit the ground in sync with him saying "3". He repeats this until we get started on the next game. I hope that this is a path toward Hachi feeling better about transitions between activities.

In between all the training, Hachi and Shyla loved playing together. I can't yet photograph them but this one was from shortly before my surgery. I am so grateful for their friendship.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Shyla Saturday

My girl on a spectacular evening...



Friday, March 25, 2022

Glimpse of springtime

It has been a week of starting to recover my range of motion in my shoulder since my surgery. However, with the work of stretching the muscles, I tend to end up in really bad pain by the evening. For that reason,  I neglected this blog. I usually write my posts in the evening but I really wasn't up to it this week.

We are seeing signs that spring might be sneaking up on us. This photo is from a previous year because I can't even hold my real camera yet. I caught a glimpse of blue the other day that I thought might have been a bluebird!

Enjoy the glimpses of springtime wherever you are!


Sunday, March 20, 2022

Black Dog Sunday

I remember the day that I took this photograph so well. We were camping high in the mountains, and our Black Dog and I got up early to visit some wildflowers. Our Black Dog was almost completely blind but he enthusiastically followed me through the unfamiliar terrain to a quiet spot. He was eager and happy, just like he always was. We lay in the grass talking and playing with treats. We both smiled.

These days, I am trying to have an attitude that is as irrepressible as our Black Dog's spirit was. He was an amazing example that I am particularly thankful for right now. The dream that I had of him a couple of weeks ago has stuck with me. He still brings me peace and happiness has my mind's eye sees him standing peacefully in our meadow.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Shyla Saturday

This amazing girl is making my down time since surgery so much better. No matter what, she's by my side smiling at me.

 This photo was from a sunrise earlier this winter.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

A parade of animals check out a mountain lion scent post

During this recovery, I have had time to look through some trail camera footage that otherwise might've fallen by the wayside. I had a camera pointed at a series of mountain lions scrapes that were very active last year. The scents left by the mountain lions attracted a huge variety of wildlife from Bear's to deer to foxes to bobcats to turkeys!

Check out the video if you have time. And, when you walk past pine trees with deep layers of pine needles below them, think about who might have been marking there!

Monday, March 14, 2022

The Hachi chronicle

We continue to move forward with Hachi's training a teeny bit at a time. Since I last wrote an update about him, he has learned to target our trainer's hand and to play the bucket game in an exam room at the vet hospital.


With our trainer, we took advantage of a gorgeous warm day to work entirely outdoors. We started with a warm up walk on the driveway during which our trainer was handing Hachi treats as he walked behind her. Then, we moved to our deck where our trainer played the treat-retreat game with him. This is a game that they've played many times in the past. Over the past few weeks, our trainer has begun sticking her arm out to the side with her palm towards Hachi just before she tosses him a treat. The goal of this was to get him used to her making extraneous movements and to eventually have him touch his nose to her palm. At a particularly relaxed moment in the game, our trainer interjected the cue "touch" which told Hachi to touch his nose to her hand. He did it, and she gave him a treat. They repeated this several times. Hachi being relaxed enough to touch her hand was a concrete step forward!


In that same week, the Runner and I took Hachi to the vet hospital. We had reserved an exam room so that we could get him comfortable in there without being rushed. After he was acclimated to the outside of the vet hospital while wearing his muzzle, we walked him into the exam room. Unexpectedly, there were a lot of excited and happy high-pitched voices coming from the direction of the waiting room. The voices scared Hachi. He reacted by lunging toward the door and making scary barking sounds. We distracted him from the noises by feeding him almost continuous treats. He quickly calmed down and more thoughtfully listened to the voices. In that phase, we gave him treats whenever he looked toward us. After about seven minutes of simply listening and being rewarded with treats, Hachi was ready for a short bucket game. He did very well to focus on the game rather than the noises of the vet hospital. After that success, we quickly headed for the car so we could end on a good note.


For Hachi, these were big steps forward. I must emphasize that we know that this would be very slow progress for a normal dog. However, for our Hachi, it was cause for celebration. A big part of learning to rehab Hachi has been accepting that we need to move at his pace. I no longer focus on the end goal. Rather, I focus on the process and giving Hachi a good life. The goal of having a vet be able to examine him is important but I drive myself crazy if that is all that I focus on.

Because my right arm is in a sling after shoulder surgery, I dictated this. I tried to catch the mistakes but I seem to miss some funny ones every time. Also, I cannot hold a camera so the photos are from a little while ago. I am doing my best to keep moving forward despite not being able to use my right arm or hand.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Wordless (Worthless) Wednesday – A bluebird day in the mountains

Dictation is hilariously terrible. I just saw that it changed the word "wordless" into "worthless"!




Sunday, March 6, 2022

Black Dog Sunday

It has been such a hard winter. Not only have I had three surgeries but I also lost my dad. The most recent surgery has thrown me a curveball because I cannot use my usual coping strategies. I cannot ride a bike, I cannot snowshoe hike, and I cannot even type. I have to constantly be in an arm sling, and I must absolutely avoid damage to my shoulder. Even typing is super hard because I can only use my left hand. I am dictating this post but, to be honest, dictation does not work all that well. But I have a story that I want to share with you.

The other night while I was sleeping, our black dog visited me in a dream. It was spring time, and the meadow outside our house was verdant green. A thick fog was hovering above the meadow, obscuring everything except the glow of the green grass. Then the fog parted, and our Black Dog was standing in the meadow gazing at me. He was young and physically perfect, his black fur glistening in the fog. He gazed at me with his warm brown eyes, and I was enveloped in a feeling of warmth and peace. We stood suspended in time looking at each other. Then, I started to walk towards him. Within a few steps, the fog closed around him, and I could not see him anymore.

I woke up feeling happy and so lucky to have had our black dog visit me as I slept. He is with me all the time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Recovery time

It is time to start the recovery walk. 


In my shoulder surgery yesterday, they fixed my ruptured biceps tendon but then they discovered that I'd also damaged my rotator cuff. So this is going to be a long recovery. It is really hard to live with your dominant hand in a sling and with orders that you may not use it in any way at all. 


I have to admit that I am discouraged to have to face such a very long recovery without being allowed to ride a bike or pick up my camera or countless other things. But I also know that I am lucky to have had surgery so rapidly after the injury and to be on the path of recovery.

Thanks so much for all of your good thoughts.