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Hey, it’s me- Behr Behr, here to celebrate the joy of spring with you 🙂 The dormant things spring back to life again. All of the baby animals, birds and even flowers seem to signal renewed hope and joy!

That’s the story around OUR house right now.

2019 has been tough for us. First we had the cancer scare with my jaw. Fortunately that ended well. Then we went to the vet because I was limping and holding my foot up. The vet said I had bone cancer, which >AGAIN< sent shock waves through my mom and dad. (!) Mom decided to send my x-rays to a radiologist for a second opinion. He said it was just bone remodeling from an old injury and that I had a toe infection from something in it. THANK YOU Mom!!! Whew. Mom used homeopathy to help me with that and I’m all better now.

Then, right after our last post, Mom was hiking without me in Colorado. I was sad that I wasn’t there to help her 😦

She was hiking with her younger grandson and they were climbing down some boulders to a creek below them, she stepped on a boulder with ice on it. Oops…

She fell down the hill and stopped falling when her head hit a boulder. Really HARD= Not good. The emergency room said she had a moderate traumatic brain injury. Ugh.

That caused her LOTS of problems with memory, light sensitivity, severe headaches, depth perception and a whole bunch of other things. Mom was sleeping all of the time and walkies with me gave her severe headaches. I was pretty sad. BUT… Mom has gotten much better now (WAY faster than the doctors expected!!  Thank you homeopathy and herbs!).

We are able to go for hikes in the mts. again. Yippee!! Both of us have had close calls that almost ended our time together.

The hiking duo of Behr Behr and Mom continues!! 

We just went on a hike into the mts. to see if the flowers were blooming yet.  Yay! Take a look.  Many flowers here are just about ready to open.

Behr on flower trail framed

The Blue Lupine are high in the mts. now.

Behr on trail framed

You can see them on along the trail everywhere.

Behr on flowered trail

They certainly brighten up the trail with their beauty!  As we were hiking, it was sprinkling and overcast (and super windy at times). That’s why I’m wearing my Ruffwear wind jacket 🙂 

Mom liked the way the mts. looked with clouds hovering over them. 

mt hike framed

Wayyyyy up in the mts., we found this field of lupine and Mom made me stand in them for pictures. Silly Mom. Can you tell by my “ho-hum” look that I’m not excited about posing for her?

Behr in flower field framed

So, I hope you ALSO have reasons to celebrate spring and new beginnings. We certainly do!  I’m happy we’re back in action again and Mom is able to write about our adventures. I’ve missed everyone.

♥♥ Love, Behr Behr, the 11.5 year old Dane with a spring in her step…still 🙂

It’s funny how walking along in silence with your dog can MAKE SPACE for contemplation and overall de- stressing from our hectic pace of life. Sure, I like hiking with friends sometimes, but there is no silence to be able to process life. Walking with my dog gives me that needed time. Sometimes I even discover things about myself during that quiet time, but this time my dog taught me a much needed lesson.

When we got Behr as a puppy, she was unbelievably energetic.  We’re not talking normal Dane puppy here; she was a ball of fiery energy that never stopped. She only had TWO speeds…full throttle zooming ahead and sound asleep. No in-between with her.

baby behr with stick

Everything Behr did as a puppy was with full gusto. Life was one big adventure to her. She never walked, she only ran and jumped. I’m NOT kidding.

behr running in oregon

Taking her for walks was seriously exhausting both mentally and physically.  One time as I was being dragged by a neighbor’s house, she yelled out, “Hey, do you get frequent flyer miles with that dog?” She was referring to the fact that I was almost airborne as I chased after my full speed ahead pup. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry when she said that.

Behr had a mind of her own and was seriously stubborn. Ha! I had originally planned to show her in conformation and obedience, but she made it clear that she had other plans. Mind you, I was quite capable as a trainer and had a long history of training some top obedience dogs, horses, and even wild animals for film. Yet, I couldn’t get this puppy to do anything. I had signed up for puppy obedience classes, mainly for socialization, but she got kicked out. It was suggested by more than one nationally known trainer that I get a different dog because this one was incorrigible. Wow, that was humbling after my history of successfully training animals.

BUT, she was the PERFECT dog for me to hike with!  I was “conquer oriented” and aimed to cover as much ground with the most elevation gain possible. I have always kept logs of our distance, speed, and total elevation gain during our hikes. Depending on temperature and season, we averaged 40- 120 miles per MONTH for much of Behr’s life (with time off for my knee surgery and sometimes for work schedule) No matter how aggressively I hiked, I still had to turn Behr loose to run in fields and up hills just to burn off excess energy and make the hike pleasant for me.

Behr had an interesting fault, however. She simply never acknowledged pain. She could injure a paw and I would never know it. The only way I would figure it out was noticing she maybe wasn’t walking quite as fast as usual. She didn’t slow down if she was sick, injured, tired, hot, cold, or anything else. More than one emergency veterinarian pointed out that she was incredibly “stoic” (their word) Looking back, that probably explains why she acted a little dazed but fine after her fall over the cliff in Oregon.  After her neck injury was diagnosed (due to paralysis), I realized in retrospect that her only clue was that she would play hard and then stop suddenly and go lay down, probably due to pain.

Things have slowly changed in the last two years, though. She eventually got to the point of trusting me enough to let me know she had a problem and needed help. If she got a sticker in her paw, she would now STOP and wait for me to come help her. If she was too hot while hiking, she would plop down under a bush or tree until she cooled down.  When she got thirsty, she would pull me over to a large rock (kind of place I usually stopped to water and snacks) and wait for water. She stopped dragging me most of the time, and began to walk at a normal pace. Sometimes she even lags behind me. It feels really odd to walk in front of her for the first time in 11 years. The roles have changed. She loves to stop and sniff things thoroughly or to stand on mountain tops and stare at the view forever. She absolutely LOVES to do that, in fact. I have no idea what she’s even looking at, but she likes it.

Sometimes she decides she is done hiking, or doesn’t want to go the way I do. She puts her little brakes on and like a mule, won’t budge at ALL. OK, maybe with a bribe she’ll get going again. Maybe she wanted to go that way anyhow and got a snack out of it. I don’t know. 

Walking along thinking about all of these changes recently, I realized what an amazing lesson this was for me. I really needed to pay attention to what Behr was teaching me!!!

 I realized that when she began to change, I was kind of agitated inside, although I would never admit it. I think I was so used to her being my “land conquering companion” that I couldn’t believe she was changing. Sure, I knew she couldn’t keep up that pace forever, but was still bothered. My last dane was my training partner for my trip to Nepal and Tibet, and hiked 12 out of her 13 years before the dreaded bone cancer stopped her. Was I somehow hoping Behr would do the same?

behr in ss field

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could looking at her graying face and feet and be visually reminded that it was time for her to slow down some. Not only that, but she has a spinal injury that I need to be careful with. I would think about these things and then feel like the bad “dog parent” for expecting more of her. What was wrong with me to expect her to never slow down?  As we walked more slowly, which I needed to do now anyhow (my spine and leg injury), I suddenly realized what was happening. What I realized was painful at the heart level. Deeply painful, in fact.

Behr, as a younger dog, had been just like me. Together we raced through life and ignored all pain and illness. Yes, I did it too. We were quite the pair. When I had major reconstructive surgery on my knee, the surgeon told me no more hiking on hills. Did I stop? No. As soon as I got out of my full leg brace, I started walking again. I just wear a smaller brace on my knee now. Hiking is a BIG part of my life. I had a job that was very demanding and for over 8 years straight I worked 90 hours per week with no vacation. I was sometimes so exhausted that I would be sick, but would keep going. I, like Behr, even have a serious spinal injury that caused damage to the nerves in my leg. I wear a brace that shocks my leg and helps my foot move. (It had become sluggish and I was tripping a lot) Behr has a spinal injury and slightly drags her back feet as well, wearing her nails down in the process. How odd of a coincidence is that?? We are more alike than imaginable.

Except in one way…

Behr learned to slow down and honor her body before I did. 

I think I subconsciously thought I could be super woman or something. My whole life has been spent trying to prove how capable and strong I am. I was the crazy one that would get up at 4 a.m. and run 10 miles, get the kids off to school, go to the gym, then to work, to their sporting events, and run a 10 acre ranch and keep a humongous house perfectly organized. Oh, and make it all look easy to anyone watching. The list goes on and on for my whole life. What I used to be proud of is now embarrassing to recount. What was I thinking? None of that matters in the end. Really.

So as we wandered through the hills that day, I realized that Behr had grown up and gained wisdom that I needed. She was modeling how life should be lived. Who would have ever guessed that the wild and crazy puppy would one day become my teacher? The lesson she was teaching me was hard to swallow, though. To slow down and admit my physical needs made me feel weak and vulnerable at first.

Since that day, I am trying to honor her requests to stop and enjoy the view from e.v.e.r.y mountain top. I even took a pad to sit on recently and when we got to the top of a mt. she loves, I sat down and let her stare as long as she wanted. I let go of my agenda to conquer miles. She seemed quite surprised, but enjoyed it.

behr looking at view

I’ve even bought a little compact ultralight chair that fits in my backpack to take when the weather is nicer, just so WE can stop and enjoy the mountain tops. I bring snacks and water and we just sit down and have a little picnic together. Honestly, I’m enjoying the view as well. There is so much beauty that I’ve missed in my years of race-walking through life. It’s amazing how powerful the stillness and calm of nature can be for healing our tired souls (see my recent post about forest bathing for more information..) The trick is to go for a walk and NOT spend the time thinking about what we need to do when we’re done. That totally cancels restorative benefit and stresses us out more (because we’re “wasting time”). I’ve taken off my backpack full of expectations (both self-imposed and real) and decided to admit I can’t do everything anymore.

So now what? Well, we’re both taking off our super hero capes and hanging them up. Neither of us need them anymore. Besides, we were never super heroes anyhow. We were only like little kids dressed up in costumes pretending we had super powers. The only ones we fooled were ourselves. And now we are free to run and play like we were meant to, without the heavy weight of the hero capes.

♥ Behr’s mom

 

(If you haven’t read part 1 of this story, please do so here :Poisoned part 1 )

Boy was I SCARED being in that hospital all by myself! I was super sick and Mom and Dad were nowhere around to hold me and tell me it would be ok. 😦 I just wanted to go home to my own bed and family.

The hospital place did all kinds of scary things to me and they didn’t even remember to feed me. Totally mean!! Sometimes I would cough and choke until I couldn’t breathe.

FINALLY Mom came for me and we went home. Unfortunately, I had to go back again because my lips and gums were turning blue. Is blue really a bad thing?

I had to take some yucky medicine to help heal my throat and I couldn’t run anymore without trouble breathing. Since I LOVE to run (even zoomie runs in our house), this was depressing. It was almost a year before I could run more than about 1 minute without the coughing and choking thing.

so depressed 😦

You can see the spot on my leg where I had something called ivy. (I.V.)

IVY marks

At least Mom and Dad took turns sleeping on the floor close by me, which was comforting. When I got really scared from they would pet me and calm me down!!

Mom did everything she could to help me get better and to live, and it worked. I’m really glad she did, and that I lived to tell you all about it! 

♥ The (Phoenix) Behr Behr

Mom’s side of the story.. Behr’s difficulty breathing was such a concern that we took turns sleeping by her so we could listen in case she stopped breathing. We never knew when she would have to be rushed back to the vet again, and were on edge for WEEKS after this crazy incident. We also didn’t know if she would EVER be her normal self again,  and we felt so sad for her. It was obvious that the the choking scared her a lot. (us too)

During this whole ordeal, Behr apparently damaged her esophagus, causing ulcers on it. She was put on a medication called Sucralfate that helped her heal, but had it’s own set of complications. (Most medications side effects of some sort) The medication itself can cause difficulty breathing and vomiting, which only added to the problem. Besides that, I was concerned about the fact that this medicine is 21 % aluminum by weight, which is also a neurotoxin (as was the insecticide).

When she was done with this whole episode, my next project was to find out how to DETOX all of the chemicals used during the event and to restore her health. I’ll tell you more about what I did in the next post, since some of it applies to things our dogs are exposed to in their daily lives.

Behr’s mom 🙂

 

It all started out as a fun hike with mom on a lovely spring morning. She took me to one of MY favorite trails.

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I like it because a big part of it is on private land and the owner said I can run around without being tied to Mom with that silly leash thing.

Behr running in field

Mom took me to the field where she finally un-hooked me so I could run and play. Yippee!! I LOVE deep grass!! I stopped to rest for a minute and then we were off to the top of the mountains.

Behr after run

I got to run free ahead of Mom at the distance I’m allowed. We stopped for water and snacks at the top like we usually do. You can see part of the trail we came up in the photo.

view

On the way down, I was running ahead on the trail. This was the last photo Mom took because “the incident” happened right after she took this photo.

Road back home from hike

So, as I was leading Mom on the trail, I spied a yummy green snack lying on the ground. Perfect! Mom didn’t give me any greens today. Just in case Mom didn’t want me finding my own snacks (sometimes she doesn’t appreciate my help), I glanced to make sure she was too far away to stop me and grabbed the snack.

Sure enough, she ran toward me and tried to get the snack out of my mouth. Ha! I still got a bunch of it anyhow 🙂 

We were almost back to our car when I started to feel super SUPER sick.. I had trouble breathing, was trembling, stumbling, and vomiting and drooling a lot with my now blue lips. Everything after that is just a blur. All I remember is having to go to the animal hospital. 😦 I guess Mom will have to tell you what happened next. 

We’ll finish the story tomorrow, so stay tuned.

♥ Behr Behr, the (Phoenix) Dane

Wow! What a scare! One minute Behr Behr was a happy puppy running free on the hills, the next, a terrified and desperately sick girl. The yummy green “treat” that she helped herself too was horse poop. Normally gross, but not dangerous.

It turns out that this particular horse had been given what’s called a “pass- through” insecticide to cause it’s poop to be a neurotoxin for flies attracted to it. The vet ultimately said the dose for a 1500 pound horse ended up in a 105 pound dog. NOT GOOD!!

When I arrived at the animal hospital, they took one look at her and ran toward her, scooped her up, and dashed off to a treatment room with her. (weird hospital didn’t even let me go with her…!) They said she looked poisoned. I was honestly scared at this point, and didn’t know if she would make it. They finally sent me home and said they would keep me posted. (ugh. They saved her life, but I won’t return to THAT hospital again!!)

I didn’t even get to hug her goodbye or comfort her or anything.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much at all while she was gone because they said they weren’t sure she would live through this.

Stay tuned for part 2 Saturday …

Mom and I were going through the rest of our vacation photos and found this picture of a sign (from a different waterfall).

It should have been on the edge of the cliff I fell over in my last post.

We think they should put one up for dogs, too. 🙂 

watch the edge framed

♥ Behr Behr, signing out for today 🙂

On the last day of my Mom’s conference, we had planned a special hike to some waterfalls. We were going to have a picnic there and play in the water.

The hike was going well for a while.

 

 

Behr hiking framed

river framed

 

As it got later in the day, Mom kept talking about a class she had just taken on medical care for people who were attacked by mt. lions and bears. I don’t know why she was saying that, since I’ve never attacked anybody. I’m not “lion” when I say that, either. 🙂

 

waterfall framed

 

We finally got to the waterfall where we were going to play in the water and have our food, which I was really looking forward to.

I was enjoying the water and waiting for my snacks, when suddenly Mom changed her mind and said we had to leave because it was the wrong time of day to be there and that we didn’t have pepper spray.

I don’t know why she needed pepper spray, since we hadn’t even gotten our food out yet. She loves pepper, but never mentioned spraying it on her food before.

Then she said she wanted to be closer to our car, so we hiked BACK without even eating! I was NOT happy!!! Mom and Dad always give me snacks when we hike, and I was hungry.

We got back closer to our car and FINALLY Mom was happy about having our food. They sat down to eat and got my snacks and bully sticks out and life was good again.

 

Behr with bully framed

 

I was hoping Mom was over her weird behavior, but she was just getting started.

She reminded Dad that I was a dane (duh!) and that I was supposed to be interested in bears (hello, I AM a bear). Then she said I had to stay on a leash and not go anywhere. The only thing good was she let me keep my snacks. 

She kept looking around for more bears. I think one Behr is all they need. I seriously was having doubts about her at this point.

Suddenly, she grabbed Dad and said loudly, “Bear!” without explaining herself. He thought I was eating stuff I wasn’t supposed to (OK, I do that pretty often…) and grabbed me to look. I didn’t want him to take my bully stick, so I swallowed it WHOLE. No way was I giving that up after waiting so long for it.  The next thing I know, I’m being taken back to the car and Mom saying something about me being blonde. Ok, now I think she seriously needs help.

When we got back to the parking lot, she and Dad were telling everyone I was a blonde Behr and they all ran back to their cars. They didn’t know my name was “Behr”, so they thought Mom meant this:

blonde bear framed

(a blonde phase black bear- photo source unknown)

I was trying to picture myself as a blonde.

Blonde Behr

I finally decided I should keep my black hair.

Then we drove back to town and ate in a restaurant, instead of finishing our food at the picnic area. I have no idea why Mom and Dad went all the way out to the forest to eat and then didn’t eat their food and tried to take mine away.

All I can say is at least the next day they were normal again, thankfully. 

♥ Behr Behr, the blonde babe 🙂

 

Behr Behr’s mom’s side of the story… I was attending a medical conference, which included classes (complete with graphic photos and video) on bear attacks. Being the last class I took in the conference, the images were still on my mind as we hiked.

I was watching for bears since we were in  known heavy bear territory. I kept Behr on the leash while eating because Danes were originally bred for bear hunting, and my previous danes let me know the instinct was still there when the opportunity presented itself. 

A RARE blonde (black bear in gold phase) was quickly heading for our table when I saw it and said, “BEAR!” We left in a calm but steady manner, leaving our food on the table as a diversion for the bear. The ploy worked, but we lost our possessions, food, cooler, etc.The bear came very close to me as I was getting up from the table. Too close for comfort.

I just wanted to clear things up and let you know I hadn’t really lost my mind. 🙂 

Anyone wanting to learn more about bear and mt. lion behavior and attacks can get this book or a really great video to learn bear behavior. Both are by Dr. Stephen Herrero. I have absolutely no affiliation with him, and am not compensated for referrals to his materials. I do think his work and classes are invaluable if you hike or camp in bear country, though. 

That’s my side of the story, although Behr’s viewpoint is valid.

She’s a pretty funny dog with a wild imagination and fun perspective. That’s why we love her so much. She keeps us laughing with her view of things, for sure. 🙂


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