In the blink of an eye, summer is over.
It’s been a crazy, tumultuous year thus far, one that has many of us crying out “OMG, 2020 SUCKS.”
And it does. In so many ways.
Yet, there are bright spots, including a big reminder that Spokane does not suck.
(Caveat: I never thought Spokane sucked. I’ve always loved it there. #spokanedoesntsuck is a popular Instagram account and hashtag and I thought I’d run with it.)
Spokane does not suck
Just as the novel coronavirus was being introduced to our U.S. population, I reunited over Facebook with a Calgary friend with whom I hadn’t spoken in almost 15 years. We’d grown apart. We started planning a visit for me and Bella to her new home in Radium, B.C. We would hike mountains, visit glaciers, and drink good Canadian whiskey and wine.
The border shut down within days and the order keeps getting extended. Bets are, it will stay shut for the remainder of the year and well into 2021.
It forced me to take another look at the scenery close to me. The rolling hills of the Palouse are breathtaking, the lakes of North Idaho pristine, and the rugged, rocky landscape of Eastern Washington matches my personality — a little rough around the edges.
I just love being able to showcase your dog on that landscape. The opportunities around here are endless, and I can’t wait to create Pupscapes of you and your dog enjoying the scenery.
Nope. Spokane does not suck.
Into the woods
Are you one of those people comfortable at home and were happy to be on lockdown? Or are you more like me, full of wanderlust and a need to be outside in the great outdoors?
There was a bit of time where we weren’t even supposed to be in Idaho. My husband’s mother lives there so we had to make occasional trips but there was no getting caught with a Washington license plate in recreational areas!
Once the restrictions eased, I was gone into the woods. Bella and I put more miles on our feet this summer than we ever have before. I tried to make a point of hitting a trail at least once a week, and we’ve seen some pretty amazing spots — awestruck at some new locations and refreshed with a new look at others.
Definitely, hiking in and around Spokane does not suck.
It also gave me an opportunity to pitch a monthly “hiking with dogs” column to the good folks at The Spokesman-Review, where I work part time as a copy editor, and I think it’s been pretty well received.
Business has been slow
Hey, you know what? I get it.
So many people in Spokane have lost their jobs thanks to the pandemic shutdowns — temporarily or permanently — and other priorities are top of mind.
No, worries. I’ll be here when you’re ready. And don’t forget that if your dog is terminally ill or nearing his end of days, I drop everything to get you on my calendar. Just don’t miss that chance to have beautiful memories of your love together.
On the bright side, it’s given me time to learn new skills, like the Pupscape panorama portrait, and adjust my business and art offerings to serve you better. I mean, you have to check out The Big Bark. It’s 10 mounted 8x10s with a wooden block stand for easy display on your shelf. I just friggin’ love it, and I have one of Bella that my husband stole for his office.
And sessions are starting to pick up again.
One thing has been more stressful than anything this summer. I’ve shed many tears waiting for the September liver chemistry that might give us insight into what is going on with Bella.
The ALT levels in her liver have been significantly too high. I’ve learned that in dogs, the acceptable levels are 10-52 blahblahblahs per yaddayadda (medical words of measurement). Her first test last March, they were around 140 and then in June, they had doubled to about 260.
Guilt and fear rolled in. Was it something I did? Fed her? What’s going to happen to her? Is she going to be OK?
Well, dear readers, we had another test this past Monday. Her ALT levels are 280. A slight rise but nothing significant. Our vet used the words “stable” and “OK.” Everything else at her biannual checkup showed “perfectly healthy dog.”
So is there a bright side? I don’t know. She doesn’t need a biopsy yet. She stays on Denamarin supplements, and her liver chemistry will be checked again in the new year. We also have to continue monitoring her signs of liver disease, like vomiting, diarrhea, yellowing of the gums and lethargy.
Lethargy. Ha. If you’ve ever met a livestock guardian dog, you might find that funny, too. LGDs sleep and sleep until they’re needed.
As a matter of fact, Bella is snoring softly at my feet as I write.
Yesterday, though, she was game for a 7-mile hike on the Saltese Ridge trail of Mica Peak Conservation Area.
She’ll awake sharply if I say “let’s go” but otherwise, she’s perfectly happy in her slumber.
All around the circle
Our topic for the worldwide pet photographers blog circle this week was reflections. I so wanted to stun you with beautiful water images but with wildfire smoke and deadlines for my other businesses, it just didn’t happen.
So I had to pivot once again and share you with thoughts on the sucky summer of 2020. At least now if you hear otherwise you can confidently say, “No, I know as a matter of fact Spokane does not suck.”
Let’s head out and see how the pet photographers are celebrating best friend week. Start with Elaine Tweedy of I Got the Shot Photography, reflecting on her work in Northeastern PA and surrounding areas.
Click the link at the bottom of Elaine’s post to get to the next post and so on. When you get back here to my reflections, you know you’re home.
Right where you belong.