Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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You’ve seen it all before

I had a chance visit my favorite park this week, a late afternoon decision.

You’ve seen images like this before. I’ve taken hundreds of images just like these.

But of course I took the camera.

And of course there were birds — that was the point, is almost always the point when I walk these trails.

And luckily the birds were hungry.

Very, very hungry.

And of course we had a very good time. Because, really, how could we not?

I think the birds had a good time too.

For the most part anyway.

So I’m hoping you don’t mind seeing images like this again. Because I never tire of taking them.


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Looking for spring

Last weekend I got to enjoy a walk in the park with my aunt. And here another weekend is approaching and I haven’t shared with you what we found.

I guess I better get cracking.

A perfect spring day spent out in the woods.

We went to Hudson Mills, a park over near Dexter Michigan, not so far from where she lives, but far enough away we don’t get there very often. It reminded me quite a lot of my favorite park, Kensington, and in fact it’s part of the same park system.

Such wonderful light falling through the new leaves.

There was a paved bike/walking path, and then lots of wooded nature trails to explore. We walked some of my aunt’s favorite trails, looking for evidence of spring, especially a particular dogwood tree she enjoys every year .

We found her dogwood in full bloom, shining in the morning light.

Luckily for us we had sunshine and slightly warm temperatures for our walk. Perfect. These are trails she knows well, and she knew just where to look for the early wildflowers too.

Spring beauty, so delicate with it’s pink stripes, was everywhere.

We walked in the dappled shade of newly leafed trees and watched the ground intently for surprises.

A trillium hides waiting to be discovered.

You could walk right past many of these wonderful bits of spring. But if you’re vigilant, you’ll see very special things.

My mom loved these jack-in-the-pulpit plants. Later in the season there will be red berries too.

It was so much fun when one or the other of us found something special and explained “Look!”

Wild geranium added color.

There was something to see no matter where we looked.

Tiny, deep purple, violets made us smile.

You could spend hours wandering these nature trails any time of the year and see beautiful things.

Purple is such a great color for spring!

We had such a good time walking in the woods together.

Walking just for the sheer joy of being out there.

And when we headed back to the car, we ran into a goose family with one little one trying to be grown up before he or she was old enough to care.

“And another thing! My mama’s gonna whip your….”

It was a fun end to a perfect day at the park.

“Geesh, kids today…”

Can’t wait for our next one!


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Hanging with my sister

Katie here. Even though I’m a princess and sometimes come off as being a bit….well…high maintenance, I know that I have a pretty good life. My folks and lots of other people make sure I get to have special times with friends and family.

Sharing my park with my friends.

And this past weekend I got to see my half sister, Payton, and show her (and her parents and her sister Tally the Gordon setter) my park! I was so excited to share Katie’s Park with my sister. And, like sisters do, we joined forces to make sure mama couldn’t get a decent picture of the two of us.

Discussing our strategy to foil mama.

That was part of the fun!

It was a perfect day for a walk, not too hot, and a bit of a breeze to cool those of us still wearing winter coats. The folks made sure we walked at a leisurely pace, though at the beginning I was raring to go!

This is Payton’s mom and dad and her sister Tally!

We stopped at the overlook deck halfway around the park to rest and enjoy the view. I told Payton all about finding a cracker there once and how I’ve been looking ever since for another one. Payton’s dad gave me a treat to make up for the lack of crackers.

“Make sure you remember not to let your mom get us together, Katie!”

I even shared my annual photoshoot in the yellow flowers with Payton! Mama takes my picture over at my park every year during the yellow flower season.

“OK, we can let her have ONE picture of the two of us!”

Payton’s like me – she doesn’t get why that’s so special, but mama is insistent and it’s easier to just let her get the picture than arguing with her.

Tally got her picture taken in the yellow flowers too.

Most of the time, though, we were able to foil mama’s attempts at getting a nice picture of the two of us together. She did manage to get several sweet pictures of Payton though!

She’s such a pretty girl.

I decided it wasn’t all that bad for her to be focused on someone besides me! That way I got to nap mostly uninterrupted under the picnic table.

“Geeze mother, can’t a girl get a break?”

We had a great time and I’m really glad Payton’s parents brought her over for a visit. We decided we’d get together again next fall when it’s cooler outside for another walk.

“Don’t stand still, out of focus pictures mess with mama the most!”

On a much sadder note, we learned yesterday that our friend Sophie got her wings on Friday. It’s a shock because we hadn’t heard that she was ill. She was one year younger than me, and still exploring her yard, swinging with her mom on her swing and supervising everything in the house.

Photo credit, Sophie’s mom.

We will miss her daily posts terribly. Mama has been giving me extra hugs and kisses on top of my head and her eyes are all leaky again. It’s hard to understand why some things happen, but we know that we’ll get to see her again, she’s just on the other side of the bridge. Please send good thoughts to her mom and dad who are very very sad right now.

Sophie on her porch swing this past week. Photo credit, Sophie’s mom.

Talk later, I have to get mom some tissue cause her eyes are damp again. I promise not to shred it immediately, I’ll do that later in honor of Sophie, who, just like me was an expert shredder!

-Your sad but still happy Princess Katie.

Sending hugs and kisses to Sophie’s mom and dad.


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Katie’s definition of dichotomy

Katie here!

Guess what? The weather changed! I know that everybody thinks they have the most crazy weather around, but I’m here to say nobody beats Michigan for crazy!

My backyard just this past Monday!

As you know, last Saturday I was with my mama and our friend at a Michigan state park. It was sunny but cold and windy. Perfect.

Me just last weekend!

Then on Monday it snowed! Yes, snow. Not just a little bit either. It snowed most of the day, big wet, sticky flakes of snow that piled up.

I hope the lady doesn’t forget to put out breakfast for us!

The birds didn’t know what to think of it all.

Waiting for our hummingbirds.

But I knew exactly what we should do — we should go out and explore! So I bugged my housekeeper mama and out we went!

Mama! This is crazy good!

We had so much fun! Mama said it wouldn’t last long so we should enjoy it while it was there. She said she’d try not to grumble about it too much.

It’s crazy, but it’s fun too! Never complain about another fun day spent together, mama!

Then we got a couple days of rain. I don’t mind rain, it just gives me an excuse to be lazy and nap all day. (Not that I need an excuse, I get to do whatever I want because I’m the only royal resident around here.)

Do not interrupt the royal nap, mother!

Thursday the sun came out and mama said we shouldn’t waste a sunny day either. Especially a sunny day that was still cool enough for me to enjoy it.

I’m camouflaged, bet you can’t see me!

So off we went to one of my parks and we walked in the woods for a long time.

I’m a happy girl when I’m in the woods with mama!

Mama had her stupid camera (of course) so she was lollygagging along taking pictures of not me. I don’t know why.

Signs of spring were everywhere.

I had to wait for her all the time. But that’s not unusual. When I think about it, I’m always waiting for my mama.

Will you come ON, mama?

Waiting to go outside. Waiting to go on a walk. Waiting for an adventure. Waiting for my supper.

I’m still waiting, mama!

Well. I don’t wait for supper very long because I tell her off if I have to wait for that! Anyway, we had a wonderful time in the woods, and there’s proof of spring popping out all over!

Spring is hiding in the woods, ready to surprise us if we look!

Mama says if we just wait a bit it will probably snow again, and I wouldn’t mind that at all, but daddy says enough is enough, he’s ready to get on his big riding mower and take a spin around the yard! And mama says it’s time to clean up the gardens.

She says we have a lot of work to do out there.

Hey mama! You brought treats…right??

I don’t know who this we is that she’s referring to. She’s probably hired help or something.

I’m watching you, mama!

Of course I’ll be out there to supervise. Royal responsibilities never end. Talk later, I need to get rested up for the upcoming royal weeding.

–Your favorite weather girl (and princess), Katie.


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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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All hail Queen Abby!

Katie here. Mama and I received very sad news last night. Our friend, the regal Queen Abby crossed the rainbow bridge yesterday. I was heartbroken when mama told me.

Queen Abby.

You might remember that I first met Abby a few years ago in Ann Arbor when we walked in the Arboretum together. We were both younger then, and we walked a long way!

This is fun!

Abby and I had so much fun! I noticed that though she was a little younger than me she carried herself with such grace, and looked so regal. I immediately decided she was a Queen. I’m sure you agree.

She was definitely royalty.

Then the moms got us together again, in a little park on an island in the Huron River. We had a beautiful day to explore, though we didn’t walk as much as we had before, we were getting older you know.

We were always willing to pose for our moms.

I so enjoyed my time with Abby. She was the perfect park explorer companion. We liked to walk together down paths and across fields.

Abby was a happy girl.

And we loved to sit together in the shade too.

Can you believe the moms want more pictures?

Abby was such a classy Queen. She never sniffed my private parts, and she never snapped at me, even when I was sniffing hers.

How you doing, girlfriend?

We got along like we’d always known each other. If we’d lived closer to each other I know we’d have turned out to be best friends.

The Queen surveying her park.

I think Abby was an old soul, you know? She was a wise, sweet girl who liked to go on adventures in a sedate sort of way. As befits royalty.

A Queen and her chariot.

And just like me, she was happy, no matter where she was, as long as she was hanging out with her mom. A wise girl indeed.

They loved each other so much.

We met again, our last walk together, just this past fall in another park. We hardly walked at all, but the moms found shady spots for us to sit and talk. We had a good time even though Abby couldn’t see very well anymore.

The Queen resting for a bit.

I’m kind of glad I didn’t know back then that it was my last visit with the Queen. I’d have been so sad, just like I’m sad now.

Content to sit near her mom.

I wish I could go on one more walk with her, but I know that when I cross the rainbow bridge Queen Abby will be there to welcome me and show me around. She’ll have her sight back, and we’ll both be able to hear again. And we’ll be able to run and bark and explore together forever!

We had a great view of the park from up here!

So, Queen Abby, please know how much I treasured our friendship. I know you have lots of friends and siblings at the bridge, but I hope you remember to keep an eye out for me. When I get there we’ll go on our royal walks once again, and everyone will be in awe of our combined beauty, just like they were when we were together down here.

Our last picture of the Queen.

Mama says she will always remember you too, and that little white patch on your behind. It makes her smile, she says, to remember you. Mama and I are keeping your folks in our heart. We know they will miss you forever.

The royal team and their shadows.

Run free, sweet Queen Abby. We sure will miss you Your Highness.

See you later sweet Abby.


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When Katie smiles

We’re on a roller-coaster around here. Katie has mostly good days, but even during those I can sometimes detect, if I’m observant, her underlying kidney disease.

During an early morning neighborhood walk today.

When I took her to a park to celebrate her 15th birthday a couple weeks ago, I thought we were both having fun. She was walking through the woods with me, sniffing things like always. But our walk was much shorter than normal, and when I looked at the photos after, I didn’t see the usual joy in her eyes. She wasn’t smiling in any of the images.

It was a frosty sort of morning.

That made me stop and really think about the quality of her life, and whether or not she would let me know when she was done. It’s hard to consider end of life procedures when she’s still excited about her meals, still wants to go outside. Still wags her whole behind when you walk in the door.

Is still so beautiful.

You know it’s my supper time again. Right mama?

And then we had a day like today, sunshine and 30 degree temperatures. Perfect sheltie weather. We went on multiple walks around the neighborhood, none of which she wanted to end.

Today, checking her park.

We went to her park — I was thinking we’d just walk around the pond, sure that she wouldn’t have the stamina to walk all the way around the park.

What are you doing taking pictures, mama? We have a whole park to explore!

But once we were there I let her make the decisions and she never once sat down or asked me to pick her up. We took it slow, but we walked all the way around her park’s perimeter, just about a mile.

It sure is a pretty day mama. I get a treat for posing, right?

That, on top of all the walks in the neighborhood should have exhausted her, but she’s been asking for her (numerous) meals right on schedule. And we’ve been on another walk around the neighborhood this evening.

It was a good day, mama!

I’ve looked at the images I took during our park adventure today. I’m pretty sure she was smiling. I guess it’s not time yet. Not today anyway, probably not tomorrow or the day after that either.

Yep, I’m still the Princess Katie and this is my park!

My girl. She and I are lucky we have more time together.

Still so beautiful.