Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Adventure-girl

Katie here. You knew it was going to be me, right? Cause who else do you know that loves an adventure as much as me?

This is mama’s artsy-fartsy image of me racing up a hill.

Saturday mama and I went to walk with my friend Queen Abby’s mom. You might remember that Abby got her wings in January of this year, so her mom has been a little sad. We thought maybe getting to walk together, even without the Queen, might make her feel better.

Abby would have loved this park.

I have to say it was kind of hard to be out there without Abby, but we think maybe she was with us even though she wasn’t physically pulling on the leash.

I pulled on the leash enough for both of us.

It was a perfect day for a walk!

We met at a state park I’ve never visited before, and there were a couple of trails we walked, mostly through the woods. I think I walked over a mile! It was so cold that the mamas wished they’d brought heavier clothes, but I was a happy girl, trotting up ahead of them most of the time, even up the hills!

Not going to look at you, mama!

It was such a pretty park, with winding trails and roads and it even had a campground, which of course mama had to explore.

And then we walked down near the lake. It was much windier there and I wasn’t sure about the waves blowing in. I didn’t want to stand close to them just for mama to take another picture

Don’t like those waves sneaking up from behind me!

So I didn’t.

Nope, not going to sit this close to those waves!

But I chose a spot just a little bit away from the pesky waves and let mama take one more picture.

Hurry up mama, let’s not waste any more time on silly pictures!

And then the mamas sat on a bench and talked and I took a little nap on the cement underneath. It was nice and cool and the wind ruffled my fur and I was so happy!

I wasn’t really sleeping, I was just resting my eyes.

This was the longest car ride I’ve been on since I got sick. At first I thought I was going to the vet and I was scared. But mama stopped at a rest area on the way so I could walk around and stuff. That never happens on the way to the vet, so I began to get excited.

Let’s explore up this way!

And once I was at the park and walking with the mamas I was sooooooo happy! I pranced all over that park and couldn’t stop grinning.

I smiled all day!

Thanks, mamas, for taking me on a grand adventure that was the perfect size for my status! Why, I’m still dreaming about it today!

NOW I’m sleeping! But still smiling!


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And the winner is…

Katie here! Mama says lots of you are anxiously awaiting my test results so I figure I should let you all know that the Vet called today. She was very very happy.

What did the vet lady say, mama?

She said while my numbers aren’t perfect, they hadn’t gotten any worse than when the blood tests were done in late February. She said I was stable and doing really well.

Well, I could have told you that!

Time to go celebrate mama! I have parks that need inspections!

I’ve been feeling my oats lately, and telling mama and daddy off if they are the least bit late for any of my six meals a day. And don’t let them even think about forgetting my bacon at 8 p.m!!*

So anyway, the vet lady said I didn’t have to go back for 3 whole months! Wow! No scary car rides, no needle sticks, no smelly offices for, well, like almost two years if we’re counting in dog math.

But on the other hand they give me treats at the vet’s office and mama doesn’t do that anymore.

Don’t call me late for dinner!

So maybe I should fake an illness….

Talk later, my dinner #2 is due in approximately 11 minutes and I need to keep a close eye on my serfs.

Chop, chop! Let’s get moving people!!

*Mama note: She gets a liquid med at 8 p.m. that tastes like bacon so we just told her it was a treat. So far she’s buying that.


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The gift of time

I woke up this morning and watched my girl sleeping curled up in her bed at the foot of mine. These days I watch her breathing and feel grateful for another day.

Welcome to one of my parks!

She’s doing so well, we have her stabilized and she’s been good for several months now. She’s eating meals and doing her jobs regularly. Her poo passes the ‘looks normal’ test, and she’s drinking water on her own again.

It was a cool and windy day. Perfect.

I know she’s still in stage 4 kidney disease but you wouldn’t know by looking at her. What you will notice is she walks more stiffly, and her back legs give out if she tries to jump, or goes around a corner too fast.

This is my yard today!

I take her to her parks as often as I can, knowing that she loves to be out and about, especially in her woods, on her trails, checking under her picnic tables. Her ears don’t hear much anymore, and I suspect her eyesight isn’t perfect. But her nose works just fine.

And she’s a happy girl.

I love it out here, mama!

That’s the most important thing, that she’s happy.

She still barks at squirrels on her deck, at diesel trucks going by, at neighborhood dogs, at people walking on her street without a sheltie permit. She loves her meals, all five plus one late night snack of them. She still loves her walks through her neighborhood.

Let me at that snowball!

Two days ago I took her to one of her parks and we walked the earthen levy at the end of the lake. It was a windy day, no one was out there but us and she got to roam freely. She wasn’t at all ready to get back in the car when I was. She’d obviously dressed better for the adventure than me.

Something smells different about this snow!

This morning she received a special gift. It snowed. My Katie-girl loves snow. She loves it’s cold. She loves to eat it. She loves to chase a well thrown snowball. She loves everything about snow.

I can’t stop smiling!

We went on several walks today, and explored the backyard too. While out there I grabbed some pictures because in the back of my mind I wonder if this is her last snowfall.

My yard is looking good!

Not that she looks like she’s going anywhere just yet. But will she still be here next November or December when winter closes in on us again? Probably not.

Yep, I’m a happy girl.

So for now I toss her a snowball. I watch her twirl in happiness. And I take pictures to save the moment.

Our girl.

Because each day is a gift, and I’ll want to unwrap this one again some day.

Enough pictures already, mama!


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Betrayed!

Katie here.

I can’t even believe I have to tattle on mama again. It’s not as if I haven’t discussed time management skills with her before. I even thought, these past couple of years, that she was finally getting the hang of paying attention to me and only me.

But she fell off the wagon yesterday.

Deuce and his little brother Ace on the shores of Lake Huron.

While I was home napping supervising my daddy she was off galivanting with other dogs. And worse, they were boy dogs! She can’t fool me, I might be old and deaf but my nose still works just fine!

I can’t believe it! Seriously, I am too old for these kinds of shenanigans. Mama should know better.

Ace is only 2, and he likes the water. Silly boy.

She says she thought about taking me but decided the drive would be too scary, what with how I shake when I have to go in the car these days. I told her that she’d shake too if the only place she ever got to go was the vet!

Deuce is 10 and smart, like me. We don’t like our feet getting damp.

So she said she was sorry, and she made me my supper and tickled my ears and tried to play lovey-dovey.

These guys will pose anywhere for a treat. I need to tell them about my one image, one treat clause.

But I told her there was only one way she could make it up to me, only one thing she could do to make me consider forgiving her this time.

Yep.

That’s how I got to go on a nice long walk with my mama in my park right after supper while the sun was setting.

You owed me mama, and you know it!

But shhhhhhh. Don’t tell mama, but I didn’t mind staying home all that much. I got lots of loving from my daddy and lots of naps and I didn’t miss a single meal either.

That was your one picture, mama, now lets get to walking.

PLUS I got to make mama feel guilty.

Score.

Me and mama are a team.


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Raw Katie-girl

I’ve been taking a series of free online classes about night photography. Of course the instructor believes we should all be shooting in RAW. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this.

At Katie’s park on a pretty day in March.

Many years ago I took another night photography seminar, where RAW was suggested as well, mostly because you can change the white balance when you’re processing if you shoot in RAW.

“No snow, mama, but still lots of ice!

What does it mean to shoot in RAW? Well, it just means the image you are getting hasn’t been processed at all. There’s more data in the image and it’s all unmodified.

The blackbirds were singing, so it must be spring.

I’ve been shooting JPeg, because, for some reason, RAW made me nervous. Years ago I did a few test shots in RAW, but my processing software wouldn’t allow me to download them. So I haven’t tried again.

“Kinda windy out here, mama!”

But lots of time and software has passed since then, and I figured I should try again. So I took Katie to her park yesterday; in 50 degree (10C) with a stiff breeze, she was in heaven.

“I’m having a good hair day!”

It has been a long time since we visited her park, and, as I remember it, a blizzard was bearing down and it was so very cold that we didn’t stay long at all.

“I love my park!”

Yesterday she pranced like a puppy, tail wagging, nose to the ground looking for all the pee-mail left by other doggies just for her.

“Hey mama, the smells are just wonderful over here!”

I took a few pictures, in RAW, just to see how they came out. To be honest, I can’t tell the difference, but I’ll keep shooting in RAW until I figure out why it’s better.

“It’s so good to be out here, mama!”

Katie says she’ll gladly model for me again. As long as I bring treats.

“Can we come back tomorrow, mama?”


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Unrelated

I heard a helicopter fly over late last night. And the night before. I don’t know why or where it’s going, but it makes me think about the people in Ukraine, and what they’re hearing fly over, or roll by outside their windows. And I wonder how they are sleeping while hiding in an abandoned subway or in an old bomb shelter. And I think about those trying to leave the country, walking miles, standing for hours, the men being turned back to fight, women and children trying to find a safe place to rest. My heart breaks for them all.

Last week I dog sat for a neighbor who was out of town for a couple days. The dog’s favorite indoor game was to retrieve his tennis ball. So I’d roll it under the ottoman fast enough that it would appear on the other side. He figured it out pretty quick, either waiting for it over there, or trying to keep me from rolling it past him in the first place. As he was pouncing on my hand, moving so quickly that it was almost impossible to get it past his big feet and long tongue, I had a memory flash. We used to play “Sheltie in the middle,” with one of us sitting on the floor on one side of the room, and one of us on the floor at the other side. We’d roll her tennis ball back and forth and Katie would try to get it. She usually did. Then she’d prance to one or the other of us and give us the ball to play again. I had forgotten she used to play like that. My heart cracked just a little.

Unrelated heartbreak. It’s everywhere.