February 14, 2012

Pillars of Strength - A Special Day for "K"

Today, Valentine's Day, the blogging community is sending our love to KB of Romping and Rolling in the Rockies. KB's dog, K, is facing the challenges of osteosarcoma. We hope that our posts will help bring KB strength and peace as she helps her K battle this insidious disease.

I'm never sure if bloggers find each other through fate, or if it's just the luck of web hopscotch. We spring through the links and sometimes land on a page that reads like the voice of a old friend. We make these lucky friendships in our own backyard and across the world, and while we can often only imagine our friends' actual voices (and their dogs' barks), their words are always comforting and familiar.

I "met" KB in November 2010. We both live in Colorado and we don't know each other in person, but we have a lot in common. We're both head-over-heels in love with remarkable dogs who happen to share initials: K and R. Each of us is awed, daily, by the extraordinary beauty of our state. We share a love of exploring mountain trails, snowy and sunny, with our dogs and through their eyes. And we formed a friendship over a toe.

KB's first visit to Raising Ruby chanced to be on Turn-In, the emotional day when Ruby left our home to enter advanced training. It was a scant post, typed through tears as I packed Ruby's things and kissed her goodbye. KB left a warm comment on my blog, helping to soothe the ache as my puppy leapt into the next phase of her journey to become a service dog. In the days following Ruby's departure, I visited KB's blog, Romping and Rolling in the Rockies, and recognized that unique voice of a new old friend. KB is a gifted writer and photographer and I was thrilled and intrigued by her gorgeous photos and clandestine glimpses of wildlife.

I was also concerned to read that her beautiful dog, K, was suffering from an inflammation of the toe that could not be easily diagnosed. Six years prior, my own "K" — Kiva — had a painful and undiagnosed inflammation of her toe. My husband and I had faced a hard decision — whether or not to amputate. We were so confused and so unsure. Amputation seemed extreme, but it was the only way to make a conclusive diagnosis. It was the same decision KB was facing.

Amputation before a diagnosis is a tough leap of faith. KB and I corresponded about the difficulty of the decision, the possible outcomes, the pros and cons, the lingering effects. In Kiva's case, we had decided on amputation and it had proven to be the best course of treatment, revealing a malignancy that had spread in our young dog. After long discussions with her veterinarians, KB also decided to go ahead with amputation. With a sense of relief, we all read the news of K's results — infection — and we watched K heal and romp again. Side-by-side spiritually, our Ks continued to hike the high country, each with a precious paw minus one small member of the team.

I often imagine those two rogue toes, great pals, hopping about in their astral meadow. One daring the other to scamper up the rockiest cliff; splashing together through glacial lakes in a race to the shore. Scoundrels! Chasing each other in the grass, trampling a maze through the wildflowers.

I've been away for a while, spending time with my now elderly K and a new little R, and I've just heard KB's news of K's osteosarcoma. KB shares her treatment plan and K's progress, and her readers and friends send big hugs we hope she can feel. But KB also gifts us with the inspiration of pure joy, photos of her strong, active K romping and rolling through the Rockies every day with glee and abandon!

K's smiling eyes shine through my screen and I recognize the extraordinary power of a dog's spirit and will — the same strength that I saw in my own Kiva as she enjoyed her life despite my worry. It's easier in theory than in practice for their humans, but our Ks have each taught us the same thing: to live each day with grace, exuberance, and the triumph of each moment.


Tamara said...

Another beautiful post :) You have such a way with words. Keeping both Ks in my thoughts today and every day.

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Talk about quite the collection of emotions...

I'm SO thrilled you were able to join us for this special day...

Your post SO captures the essence of bloggers and support!!!

My K is proud to 'know' both your K and KB's K...

Pillars of Strength - for we never know when we'll need it though we all hope we never will

Khyra and Phyll

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Looks like the Ks are coming together today. So glad your K has done so well and hope Kb's K will have positive results too.

This is a lovely post and as Miss Floofy Tail K said a collection of emotions.

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Wow, what a wonderful post! We are so happy you were able to connect with KB on so many levels, it must have meant a lot to her. As K would say to us, embrace the day and live strong.

You have a new pup?

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

Woos – Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

chandra said...

What a boost and gift you and all the participating bloggers are giving KB and K today. I'm sure knowing they've got the pack behind them in this fight means a great deal.

Hugs to K and little R!

-Chandra at Daley's Dog Years

KB said...

Your post left tears in my eyes. I have thought many times about you over the past 6 weeks. You told me about Kiva's cancer and how you spent a long time frequently worrying about when it would spread. You told me that Kiva taught you how to live during that time. I'm trying to do the same, following my K's lead, as she lives with such joy and exuberance.

Every now and then, I allow my mind to wander to the tiny hope that my K will be that one in a thousand dogs who beats all the odds like your K did. I am so so happy that your K has lived to be elderly. That is a gift... a true gift.

Way back when, we talked about actually meeting sometime. When my K comes out of this phase of intensive treatment, I'll email you. I'd really like to meet because I do feel like I am talking to an old friend when I read your posts.

Thank you so much for this post. It means more to me than you can imagine.

Pup Fan said...

Very lovely post.

Bird Aviary said...

Thank you for sharing a very lovely post! It was indeed an article worth reading for. You are really passionate about Kiva.

Louisette said...

Big hugs from two golden retriever in Belgium, nice blog