Raven Review

Even as a puppy Raven liked to lie on her back. She's in the top right corner of the litter.

Even as a puppy Raven liked to lie on her back. She’s in the top right corner of the litter.

I can’t help myself. After almost losing Raven on New Year’s Eve, I’ve pored over hundreds of images of her from the past eight and a half years, her life flashing before my eyes. It was hard but I’ve selected these few to share with you who cared during her ordeal. She is just a dog, I know that, but her little life is so entwined with mine. One day she will die, and I’ll be too heartbroken then to do this, so here is Raven’s life in review, thus far, An Incomplete Pictography.

Raven at a couple of weeks old.

Raven at a couple of weeks old.

This was the first photo I saw of Raven. Chris emailed me a shot of her holding each puppy so that I could choose which one I wanted. They were all cute; when I saw this one it was love at first sight. "THIS ONE!" I wrote back, "I WANT THIS ONE!" How could I have wanted any other?

This was the first photo I saw of Raven. Chris emailed me a shot of her holding each puppy so that I could choose which one I wanted. They were all cute; when I saw this one it was love at first sight. “THIS ONE!” I wrote back, “I WANT THIS ONE!” How could I have wanted any other?

Raven resting on the day she arrived at my house. Chris flew her across the country and I picked them up in Denver in mid-July, 2006. She was six weeks old.

Raven resting on the day she arrived at my house. Chris flew her across the country and I picked them up in Denver in mid-July, 2006. She was six weeks old.

Raven's first hike to the canyon, with Mocha and Mr. Brick.

Raven’s first hike to the canyon, with Mocha and Mr. Brick.

One night shortly after she arrived I suddenly couldn't find her. I panicked a little; she was so small! Found her shortly, asleep in the laundry basket.

One night shortly after she arrived I suddenly couldn’t find her. I panicked a little; she was so small! I looked everywhere, and finally found her in the laundry room, asleep in the laundry basket.

She loved to be near her grumpy uncle, who wouldn't give her the time of day for awhile.

She loved to be near her grumpy uncle, who wouldn’t give her the time of day for awhile.

Sitting pretty for cookies, with Mocha and Brick.

Sitting pretty for cookies, with Mocha and Brick.

Brick was skeptical of her when she first tried to get him to play with her.

Brick was skeptical of her when she first tried to get him to play with her.

But she persisted and won him over in the end.

But she persisted and won him over in the end.

Raven pensive.

Raven rarely pensive.

Baby's first bee sting.

Baby’s first bee sting.

Eventually the grumpy uncle would let her do whatever she wanted with him.

Eventually the grumpy uncle would let her do whatever she wanted with him.

Taking Mr. Brick for a walk.

Taking Mr. Brick for a walk.

Growing up.

Growing up.

Falling down.

Falling down, sound asleep.

Raven's first snow.

Raven’s first snow.

Raven and Rocky meet for the first time, at Rocky's first home. He was almost a year old, she was about three.

Raven and Rocky meet for the first time, at Rocky’s first home. He was almost a year old, she was about three.

Raven sharing the chair with Little Doctor Vincent.

Raven sharing the chair with Little Doctor Vincent.

Raven plays with her daddy, Sundog, while her mother Feather looks on. They are a close knit family even years after being separated by half a continent. She is always so excited when we visit them in Florida, or they come to see us here.

Raven plays with her daddy, Sundog, while her mother Feather looks on. They are a close knit family even years after being separated by half a continent. She is always so excited when we visit them in Florida, or they come to see us here. Sadly, Sundog met his demise last year after living a life of legend.

Raven meets her baby brother Stellar at Dog World in Florida, and immediately begins to lick him all over.

Raven meets her baby brother Stellar at Dog World in Florida, and immediately begins to lick him all over.

At home in Colorado, she teaches him all he needs to know, from finding antlers to digging holes.

At home in Colorado, she teaches him all he needs to know, from finding antlers to digging holes.

Even when he outweighs her by thirty percent she continues to groom him like he's her baby, always thoroughly licking his ears.

Even when he outweighs her by thirty percent she continues to groom him like he’s her baby, always thoroughly licking his ears.

Rope tug.

Rope tug.

Stick tug.

Stick tug.

A meditative moment.

A meditative moment.

At the rim.

At the rim. Is she not ridiculously adorable?

Romping in the snow.

Romping in the snow.

Après Bone Burying.

Après Bone Burying.

Little Miss Chiff. Mischief.

You can trust me. Really.

Deep in the Big Snow a few years ago.

Deep in the Big Snow a few years ago.

A week before the Thistle Episode, still and always on her back.

A week before the Thistle Episode, still and always on her back.

Three weeks after her extraordinary surgery, she is perfectly fine in her own mind; though in an apparently unrelated incident, two days after she got her stitches out, she started pissing blood. It lasted all evening, one red pee after another. I rushed her back to Doc, who suggested after analyzing the urine that she must have suffered some trauma to her bladder. “You’re more worried about this than I am,” he said, and sent us home with some Vitamin K and a request for another urine sample this week. By bedtime that night the urgency had tapered off, and by morning there was only a faint pink tinge. A few hours later she was perfectly okay. It’s a long, unlikely story, but I think he was right.

We continue to take three walks a day, the silver lining in the Thistle Episode. First thing in the morning and just before sunset we go up the driveway; she is still on-leash for these and probably always will be, because she will chase the deer. In between, we walk to the canyon rim. The past two days she’s been off-leash for these walks but it makes me nervous. She seems to think the sole purpose of our going for a walk is so that she can find forbidden things to put in her mouth; nose to the ground she searches out deer poop, old bones, anything rank. So far I’ve been able to keep her close enough to keep shit out of her mouth, but not sure how long that good behavior will last. I’ve ordered a soft nylon muzzle to try out, so I can let her run free without the worry of what she’ll eat next. Not sure if either of us will be able to tolerate that. But right now the thought of her running off and chowing down on an old deer skull or femur bone is just too much for me. I’m sure I’ll eventually relax about it.

Another silver lining is that I’ve added some elements to the dietary regimen of both dogs, after consulting with the holistic vet an hour away. Both doctors concurred that she probably wasn’t drinking enough water in general, and that likely contributed to her intestinal impaction. So now I add a full cup of water to their food twice a day, and additionally once a day I add a little flavoring to an extra sixteen ounces of water to be sure they’re drinking enough; a little chicken stock, or tuna water, or half teaspoon of cat food, and they lap it right up. I’m also adding a couple of tablespoons of canned pumpkin to their breakfast to give them more fiber, and they get a midnight snack just before bed, a handful of little biscuits or a quarter cup of food. I had noticed they were both making mouth noises early in the morning, licking licking, as if they had a bit of reflux. Dr. Betty suggested the bedtime snack would keep their stomachs busy overnight, and sure enough there’s no more morning mouth noises or tummy rumblings; they sleep soundly til it’s time to get up. And so do I!

3 thoughts on “Raven Review

  1. What a lovely tribute to Raven! All of us who love our dogs know that they are so much more than “just a dog”. Where would be without them?

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