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Monday, June 26, 2017

Tiny the Black Bear Survives a Stick Impaled in his Leg

Back in mid-May, I saw something disturbing on my trail cams. Tiny, one of our biggest male black bears, had a stick impaled in his hind leg. Look closely at his right hind leg/rump.

Then, two days later, he walked past with the stick gone but an obvious open wound.

At first, my footage of him showed no limp and plenty of energy. However, by 3 weeks later, he looked terrible. He'd clearly licked the area extensively and the fur there was very thin. He had a painstaking limp, and he was not marking trees that he'd normally mark dramatically.

I was worried. My guess was that he had an infection. I wished that I could somehow give him an antibiotic. I laughed at myself for even thinking such a thing.

Then, he disappeared for a full 8 days. That is extremely rare during mating season. I worried even more.

Then, to my utter delight, I found footage of him on a couple of cams. I could still see some evidence of thin fur on his hind end but it was already much better. It's molting season too which probably helped that to improve quickly. Plus, he was walking nearly normally, and he was marking trees again!

I made a video of the various stages of his saga. At the end, he was walking "normally". By that, I mean that he was walking like a bear near marking trees in mating season. He was using a gait sometimes called a "cowboy walk". It's a way of grinding his paws deep into the dirt to leave maximum scent from his paw pads.

Near the marking trees, there are bear tracks which are impressions of exactly where every mature bear who passes that spot places his/her paws. It's extremely hard to see or photograph but it's easy to feel. For a bear as big as Tiny, he has to shorten his stride to hit the right spots. Plus, he swings his hind legs out to the sides as he walks when he's in these tracks - the "cowboy walk".

After all that technical stuff, the main thing is how relieved I am that Tiny is okay. We have two main male bears in our neck of the woods, and they've ruled for about a decade, as far as I can tell. I'm glad that this spring was not the time that we lost one of them.

Here's the video.

I'm a very happy bear observer today!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Stormy Sunset and Silhouette Sunday

We've had some tumultuous weather recently, with a very hot spell (it hit 80°F - the horror!) followed by storms. One evening, I thought it would be a gray evening hike but I was wrong!

When we climbed up to a high plateau, the views were fabulous.

Look at those thunderhead clouds!

And, sweet Shyla was even up for being my silhouette model! It was an odd composition for a silhouette photo though. It almost looks like the big orange cloud is coming out of Shyla's back!
Sometimes, stormy weather makes for the best sunset weather!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday Silliness

Many of you remember the way that Shyla was when she arrived in our family - afraid of everything. She's improved by leaps and bounds.
However, she still is more easily scared than most other dogs. Even an accidentally sharp tone from me can send her into a tail spin.

To continue to build our bond and her confidence, I play with her almost everyday. We play all sorts of silly games - like toss the treat.

And she wanted you to know that she does catch it sometimes, contrary to what some posts seem to show.

Yesterday, we concocted another silly game. I made a 30 second video to show you the game, which you can watch here or at Youtube. We played it during a break in a mountain bike ride which is why I have a helmet and silly clothes on!

What silly games do you play with your furry friends?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Wildflower Friday

Our world is stunningly beautiful right now. The golden flowers have erupted, and they almost match the gold in Shyla's eyes.

The Colorado Columbines have burst into color too. When we moved here, I wanted to grow a huge Columbine garden. I started with the area along the walkway to our house. It's taken years, starting with seeds, but it's working! At this moment, there are about 60 Columbine blossoms there and three times as many buds. I love it!

I've noticed that Columbines tend to be flourishing next to the remains of old mining cabins. I believe that miners must have collected seeds and planted them next to their cabins. I love how the flowers planted by those hardy people have outlived even the cabins themselves.

Far more flowers are blooming than just the golden meadow flowers and the Columbines. I try to stop and photograph at least one species each day. These are Blue Flax, which are going wild in the dry meadows now. I love their intricate details.

This photo was from today. As I rode through a light rain, a gorgeous combination of a wild rose with water droplets and yellow flowers caught my eye. Despite the loud booms of thunder urging me to ride home faster, I had to stop and photograph this natural bouquet of flowers.

Despite the beauty of the flowers themselves, I have to admit that my absolute favorite photos are of our dogs galloping through the sea of flowers. The flowers are almost as tall as the dogs now!
Happy Flower Friday! Today we are joining our friends led by Arty in a blog hop celebrating flowers.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Link between Dog Generations

Yesterday, I was cleaning out a closet and came upon a box of old dog toys. They were ones that I'd saved because departed dogs had loved them. Most had been in that box for at least five years but I still remembered them. I'm in a ruthless, save nothing phase, so I held each one, remembering the dog who had played with it, and then I tossed them out. With age, I've realized that my memories of my departed dogs have little to do with physical objects.

Many of the toys brought back memories of Angel K as a puppy. She adored toys at that age. However, she was very rough on them. Most of her puppy toys in the box were in a state of complete destruction.

Then, I came upon a stuffed moose-shaped toy that was in remarkably good shape. I remembered that it had been around for a long time, over the lives of Astro, Acadia, S, and K. I'd put it away at some point when our dogs had lost interest in it.

I didn't toss it out because I thought that Shyla might like it. I was right!

Shyla has carried it around almost continuously since I offered it to her. She even uses it as a pillow for napping. And, contrary to her usual behavior, she hasn't destuffed it yet!

Times have changed in many ways since the last time that this toy was out around the house. We had never seen a moose in our neck of the woods then, making a moose-shaped toy a novelty. Now, it feels as if moose are everywhere!

Even next to our house!
The main thing is how we humans smile watching Shyla carry the stuffed moose around, knowing how many of her predecessors played with that toy. It's like a link between dog generations, and we are so thankful for it.

We are part of the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop. Thank you, Brian, for running it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - From the Mountain to the Sea

Flying on Top of the World

Swimming in a Sea of Gold

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Golden World!

If I could have several months of June, I'd revel in it. It's my favorite month here. We rarely travel in June because our favorite place is our mountain home.

It's wondrous outdoors! Close to our house, a meadow that was grazed by cattle for decades has been allowed to grow wild. The result is stunning.

I cannot believe the field of gold that has grown in the meadow. I took R there today wanting to see our black dog romp in the gold. He did his usual "bowl over the photographer" move but it yielded a fun photo!
I've been loving riding my bike through the stupendous world although my spine is more painful than it's been in a while. I'm hoping that my medicine - movement - works again this time. It's been a decade since I had fusion surgery on my lumbar spine, and I'd like to keep that long quiet streak alive so that I can keep enjoying the outdoors.
Happy Golden Springtime!

Monday, June 19, 2017

A mother bear and her cub visit watering holes

Every summer, my trail cameras give us glimpses into the everyday lives of mother bears and their cubs when they're not near humans. They are just going about their everyday lives - and it's a thrill to get to see them.

This one is from almost exactly one year ago. Like mother, like daughter. Mom was marking a tree and her cub seemed to be trying to imitate her!
Recently, our local mother-cub pair has been visiting watering holes. You might remember the first footage of them at a watering hole. The cub got spooked and spent almost the whole time high in a tree.

Now, the cub is getting the idea of how nice it is to soak in cool water on a hot day. When they first arrived at a watering hole, the cub watched mom soaking in the water. Eventually, the cub got into the water.

This watering hole was where Bandit demolished a trail camera of mine (which I just received back from Reconyx - fixed!). Now, the trail camera is inside a "bear security box". Mom decided to check it out but did nothing but sniff it.

I hope that you enjoy this footage as much as I did! It's also available at Youtube if you run into trouble watching it here.

Watching mother bears with their cubs shows me that these animals have wonderful secret lives that many people never get to see.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Silhouette Sunday - Shyla Perched on a Boulder

At the risk of jinxing us again, I have to say how happy I am that Shyla can climb boulders again. For months, the side effects of her epilepsy meds made her too clumsy for me to allow her to do this.
Look at the wondrous beauty of a cloudy summer sky just after sunset!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Saturday Silliness!

Shyla made it through her mini-seizure and is okay now. We're hoping for a peaceful weekend. She seems fine now.

I hope that all of you find something that makes you as excited about life as Shyla was in this moment!
Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bursting with Color in Colorado

Right now at this instant, it is absolutely glorious in our mountains. I can't get through a bike ride without taking too many photos!

Even though it was warm, Shyla was in good spirits this morning. Look at the yellow and green all around her.

This is, bar none, my favorite time of year.

The beauty is leaping out at me, both in the form of flowers and in the form of Shyla!

And, to top it off, the first Columbines opened their buds and bloomed yesterday!!!!
I adore Colorado Columbines. I'll limit myself to one photo today... even though I took far more than one!

Happy Flower Friday! The flowers are bursting with beauty here in Colorado!

P.S. Unfortunately, I jinxed the seizure situation with being "thankful" for Shyla's lack of seizures yesterday. She had signs of an impending seizure all Thursday evening, including twitching like in a true seizure and teeth chattering. We've given her extra medications, and now we're hoping for a calm night. Epilepsy sucks. (Sorry for the language but this disease calls for it).

This flower part of this post is in memory of our friend Bilbo and is for his family. May they all find peace.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thankful Thursday - Shyla

I am so thankful for Shyla's good health. Her epilepsy medicines have side effects that I don't like but they do control her seizures. That is a gift.

Despite some side effects, she is always happy while we do nosework or other training together. She adores that stuff! And she adores running through meadows.
We had a lot of choices back when we adopted Shyla, and I'm so glad that we chose her. I think that she needed (and still needs) a ton of attention, and that's what she's getting here!

Here she is with one of her favorite people on Earth. Shyla and he are an unlikely pair because he's extremely tall and has a beard... but Shyla constantly wants to be snuggling in his lap when he's visiting.

We love her and so do many of our friends!
We are thankful that Shyla is part of our family!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

A Very Muddy "Tiny"! I have some news about him in the coming days.
A non-muddy Shyla resting in a sea of yellow

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Funny Faces

Can you guess what kind of game we were playing when I took this photo? Yes, it did involve treats. Only treats could make Shyla open her eyes so wide on a bright day!

Here was the next photo in the series, as I tossed Shyla a treat. She seemed to be looking the wrong way!

We also played the game where she balances a treat on her nose and then flips it into the air.

It was a good day for games like these ones. My spine was hurting so dog games were more fun than too much riding.
I hope that you're having a better start to the week than I am!