Thursday, March 30, 2023

Hike above the Ice Caves and Aurora borealis, 3.23.2023

March 23. 2023 turned out to be quite a special day! 

We made a trip to the Bayfield area, northern Wisconsin and went for a hike above the Sea/Ice caves along the south shore of Lake Superior. We were celebrating Shanti's first day without his cone!! Oh he was so happy to move around freely again!

I wrote a blog about his ordeal (surgery) earlier.

It was a beautiful day with sunshine and blue sky though a cold wind from the north. Part of the lake was covered with "pancake ice" which added an interesting texture to the photos I took. 
When we were driving back home I got an alert for the Aurora borealis on my phone but I never imagined it would turn into such an amazing display! 
I had troubles with my camera gear (my lens wouldn't focus) so unfortunately I had to delete a lot of my images. I am happy I got a few decent images and it was an unforgettable night! All the photos were taken in my backyard in the Blue Hills, Wisconsin, between 10pm and midnight.
Still one week later photos of that night appear on social media.

Enjoy, Susanne

I did the same hike above the ice caves in the winter of 2022:

Click on the photos for a larger view

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Dog stories, Febr/March 2023

Officially it is spring, but the reality looks very different here in northern Wisconsin. We have mountains of snow everywhere that makes me speculate that we still could have some snow by end of May. But I did see the first Robins yesterday and the sun is bright and melting the snow.

This blog is a bit different, a kind of recap of the last 6-8 weeks. I am writing this kind of for myself to remember the sequence of events.

Though it was a very long winter I took very few photos for various reasons. One of them was due to some "dog drama". Those who follow me on Facebook know that I adopted a 5 month old german shepherd mix right after Thanksgiving. His name is Shiloh and I got him primarily as a companion and playmate for Shanti. The two of them had a lot of fun, especially when we would go to a frozen lake nearby. That was the only place where I could let them off leash and they could run free, chase each other, explore and roll in the snow. It was a joy to see them so happy!! and all 3 of us were looking forward to these trips. But there were many other issues that I don't want to elaborate on that made it clear to me that the situation was not sustainable. One of the problems were my 2 cats whose life was confined to living underneath the couch or on high places.  I started to look for a new home for Shiloh but ultimately had to take him back to the shelter. I was crying when I dropped him off - it was difficult!  But the good news is that Shiloh got adopted by a family with kids, which sounds perfect! As soon as Shiloh had left the house, one of my cats, Indigo, sat on my lap. First time in 3 months! That was a huge relief.

Shortly after that I took Shanti on a snow shoe hike with me at one of my favorite places along the Flambeau River (Slough Gundi). There was a lot of snow but we enjoyed our walk until Shanti discovered fresh deer tracks. Then all hell broke loose! He started pulling so hard on the leash and I could barely hold on to him and eventually he got away, pulling the leash behind him. It was very difficult for me to follow him in the deep snow and all my calling him was to no avail. Eventually I found him and was able to grab the leash just before he wanted to take off again. Trying to find my way back I broke through some snow/ice and my snow shoe got stuck in water and ice. How I got out of there, I don't know!! All I know is that it's a miracle that Shanti is still with me. It is a remote area with no cell phone reception and he could have gotten lost very easily.

Then on Friday, March 10th Shanti got neutered. What was supposed to be a routine procedure turned into a nightmare. After a sleepless night and another Vet visit Saturday morning I found myself at the Allied Emergency Veterinary Service in Eau Claire. Shanti needed additional surgery and we stayed for 2 nights before finally driving home early Monday morning on slick roads. There was yet another snowstorm all weekend and I couldn’t believe the amount of snow we had received when I got home!! 

I gained a lot more appreciation for all the people in the veterinary health services. They are under a lot of pressure and really try to help our pets. I was impressed with the people at the ER, all younger women and the young vet who did the surgery was great! 
There were so many twists and turns, ups and downs for me and when I was trying to eat at a restaurant I started crying when the server asked me how I was doing. 
But I had so many Angels helping and supporting me, two paid for the hotel room, others prayed for Shanti and me and stayed in touch via phone. One friend of mine is a Vet technician and she became like a life line for me, answering all the questions I had and problems I ran into. Thank you, Brittany!

And the most amazing thing happened when the vet clinic who did the neutering paid for all the ER services, which was not a small amount!! It took a good 10 days of healing, so all I did was taking care of Shanti and sleeping as I was exhausted from all the drama! I feel blessed and super grateful and as I am writing this Shanti is back to his usual self. And I feel a deeper connection with him and love him even more!

I learned a number of things throughout all of this: lots of patience, deep gratitude, appreciation of the little things, it's ok to cry, being more vulnerable, it's ok to ask for help, and experiencing a love that connects all people and humanity. I also learn more and more to trust my intuition and act upon it even if people tell you otherwise.

But after all of this - I am ready for spring!!!

With love, Susanne

Click on the photos for a larger view.

Shiloh and Shanti

Shiloh and Shanti

Shanti's smile

Winter scene at Audie Lake

Shiloh and Shanti playing

Shiloh and Shanti playing

Shiloh and Shanti playing



Shiloh and his shadow

Beaver house

Beaver house and tracks

Shiloh and Shanti running

Shiloh and Shanti running

So much fun!

Shiloh and Shanti playing

Flambeau river - Little Falls

path along the Flambeau river

Shanti noticing deer in the distance

Cedar trees along the Flambeau river

Snow covered Flambeau river 

Resting after getting home from the ER