Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sadly - on December 27, 2013 my adventurous life with my Sylke came to  close.  Sylke was 13 years old - having lived 8 years plus fully healthy and happy after her recovery from paralysis.  Alas, she developed congestion heart failure in her later yearfs and two days after Christmas, 2013 she made it known it was time.

Never has a heart been so broken as mine.  I lost my friend, my companion, my protector, my soul dog.

Run free Sylke

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Autumn Color

The color is really picking up in Michigan though many of the trees are still green. On this morning's walk with Sylke we saw some dazzling colors. (pics below)

Sylke was a stinker on her walk today. When we saw deer her instinct was "Let's go after them!" and she was all set to barge through the thick underbrush. We had a wrestle about that.

The we had an argument about why we really do not need to check out mashed raccoon at the side of the road. She thought it was a delightful idea - I strongly disagreed.

On the way back we saw a really large doe and her fawn and when they saw us they took off running - she was hot to go after them as well. We walked along the edge of the woods they ran in to on our way home and her head was up, nose working furiously - and then I realized - they were upwind from us and she was scenting them.

I also learned - not a good idea to head out on a 3 mile walk - after 2 cups of coffee - the last few blocks home were a swift sprint!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

In this picture, Sylke had picked up an obviously titillating scent down in a deep, brushy ditch. She really wanted to go down there and check it out - and I really did not want to. She stood there savoring whatever scent it was for quite some time.

A Sunday Morning Adventure

We had another enjoyable hike Sunday morning. We walked for over 2 miles. I was wise this time and took Sylke on a 12 foot leash so she could wander down into the ditches along the roadway and savor all the scents. She is definitely a dog that needs the extra stimulus of walking and scenting to stimulate her brain. While Trinka and Ava are happy playing fetch for hours on end and enjoy walks - Sylke is not one to enjoy hanging out in the yard. In our yard she just settles herself on the hill in the backyard and lies ever vigilant, guarding her domain.

When we see deer along our walks she never strains at the leash or barks - she stands and silently studies them, never startling them. And for a dog that just a few short years ago was given the grime diagnosis of never walking again - she manages walking for miles with no residual difficulty.

Sylke is a light in my life, a soul mate if you will, a true friend I hope to have with me for years to come.

In today's picture she had alerted to a flock of ducks that had just flown out of a pond on our morning walk. Just see how fit and beautiful my girl is!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Morning Walk/Adventure

This morning Sylke and I walked for about 2 hours. It was a glorious morning - bright sunshine and cool. As we walked down Waldo Road, we saw about 15 deer cross the road about 1/2 mile ahead of us. When we got to the spot where they crossed Sylke got busy tracking their scent. She sniffed along the ditch and when we came to the spot where they crossed she was ecstatic. She really wanted to go into the woods where they went but it is posted property so we could not.

On the way home we came upon a doe and her twin fawns grazing. We came within 20 feet of them. Sylke was quiet as a mouse, standing and watching them with me. I managed to take several pictures before the doe alarmed, blowing through her nose which sounded like a steam vent releasing a gust of steam - so loud it made both Sylke and I jump. Her fawns bounded into the woods and she followed. However she stopped at the edge of the woods and watched us, repeatedly stomping her foot in alarm.

It was a lovely walk - two hours of sniffing, walking and enjoying the last Sunday of summer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Beautiful Walk

On Sundays, Sylke and I have our special time when we got for a really big walk - during the week her morning and p.m. walks consist of about 30 minutes each. But on early Sunday morning we go for our big walk - about 1 1/2 hours.

This morning we strolled down Waldo Road, a street lined with wooded areas and meadows. Sylke LOVES these walks. She is allowed to walk in the wide, waterless ditches and sniff. She tracks every ground mole trail, carefully inspecting every mole hill till she finds one possibly worth investigating. She has learned to poke her paw into the mound, if the scent is fresh I will let her dig a bit. There is a cacophony of odors in the ditches, along the thickets and in the tall grasses for her to savor. It is so beautiful at that time of day with the sun still rising. Today, due to higher humidity, there was a light mist hanging over the woods. I could hear blue jays screeching, saw many birds - gold finches, cardinals, geese flying south, a lone hawk enjoying an updraft. The woods emitted a wonderful woodsy, piney smell with a hint of that fragrance that comes with autumn.

As we walked past the woods, in a little opening I saw a deer. Sylke didn't see it, but she sensed it as her ears were pricked and alert and her nose worked frantically. The doe stood and looked at us - all three of us stood there, contemplating each other. Finally the doe decided it best to depart, stomped her front hoof and with a rather lazy bound, flashed her fluffy white flag of a tail and leaped into the woods.

On the way back we saw 5 more deer, casually strolling single file through tall grasses, nibbling as they walked. When they saw us they were not alarmed, but glided silently like brown ghosts into the thicket and out of sight. Little did they know, the morning sun's rays back lit their hiding spot and I could clearly see their silhouettes in the woods.

While we were walking we both heard what sounded like someone or something coming through the woods as we could hear leaves rustling and snapping. We stopped and Sylke, always the guard dog, searched the area around us , head high, ears pricked and nose working, searching for the interloper. Then we heard it again and amusingly, it was big fat acorns falling through the leaves of a huge oak, whacking twigs and leaves on their way down. Thankfully we were not under the tree because as we stood there, a fat acorn fell, hitting the pavement and bouncing a good 4 feet into the air. That would have stung had that bonked us on our noggins!

Sylke so loves these walks. Since she has recovered from her back injury and paralysis - I think she would walk forever. This morning we calked about 3 miles. She always senses when we are turning towards home, her pace slows and she fairly drags her feet - she does not want to go home yet.

As we were coming up a side street towards home we approached a house where some folks were setting up a yard sale. Lying on their lawn was an enormous dog, appearing to be part Great Dane and perhaps part devil because when he saw us he charged into the street with every intention of confronting Sylke. Now Sylke, being the good protector, was ready for confrontation, but I pulled her up close to my side and we stopped. The enormous menace stopped directly in front of me, staring Sylke down. His body language was definitely an aggressive stance and he emitted a deep rumble deep within his chest. His mistress, a young woman who obviously had little clue of the potential danger or how to handle it came out and said to her dog in a light sweet baby voice, "Now Bandit, why are you acting angry towards that doggie?" She never reached to restrain her behemoth devil dog. Sylke never wavered nor did I and I said in my deepest, growly voice, quite loudly, "HEY GIT!!!" and stepped into the huge dog's space and he back stepped enough for us to continue on our way. I was so proud of my girl because instead of turning to face the dog as we went on way, I simply told her 'Leave it" and she continued on beside me. I said nothing to the woman, I will leave that to Animal Control when I contact them tomorrow about a potentially aggressive dog being loose and approaching me as I walked with my girl.

I really enjoy these walks with my girl. The time spent together refreshes our spirits and our deep bond.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Almost Three Years Later

It will be three years later this month since Sylke hurt her back. She continues to do very well. She has developed what I and the vet believe is a paresthesia in her tail - the tingling and 'itchy' feeling that is sometimes experienced with an iffy disk. She has a raw spot on her tail from trying to relieve the problem. Presently she is on steroids - but this is only a temporary stop gap measure. The other alternative the vet suggested is amputation of the tail - this may or may not resolve the problem - as there is always the issue of phantom pain/pareshesia associated with amputation. So we shall see. We are doing our walks several times a day. She must walk to maintain strength in her hind quarters and just taking her out in the yard doesn't work - she prefers to lie down and keep watch over her property when in the yard. She doesn't play like the other dogs - she never had interest in retrieving or similar games. But she loves her walks. Being the intelligent dog that she is, the walks also stimulate her other senses and makes her a happier dog. She continues to be probably my best friend ever- while the other dogs are my friends and superb companions - there is an exceptional bond between me and this gracefully aging pound hound.