Wolf Pass, Colorado, Goodbye to Jenny
It is only a 10 mile drive to the top of Wolf Pass from where I am staying at the West Fork Campground, about 14 miles north of Pagosa Springs. And when it gets a little too warm at the campsite, that is where I go to cool down and wait for the evening temperatures to drop back to a comfortable level.
By the time one reaches the summit, the temperature has usually dropped by 20 to even 30 degrees and there is always a strong breeze up here. From sweating down below to pulling on the sweatshirt up here.
The views are stunning but the extensive amount of bark beetle kill is just awful to see, and unfortunately is probably a view into the future when most of these coniferous forests will all be devastated like this.
The beetle kill at this altitude, about 10,000 feet, is probably around 60 % of the forest.
Wildlife and Wildflowers
I was shooting some wildflowers on one of the steep roadside banks going up to the overlook above Wolf Pass, when this marmot stuck his head out of his den to see what I was doing in his neck of the woods.
Figuring I wasn’t much of a threat, he made his way out of the den and up the rocks to get a little late day sun.
I have read that the wildflower displays the Colorado mountains are famous for occur in mid July and beyond, exact timing, most likely, depending on elevation.
But up here at Wolf Pass, the show has at least started.
I won’t even begin to try and identify these individual flowers, not my field of expertise, but I can appreciate their beauty without knowing their names.
These guys were tiny, couldn’t have been more than a few days old.
Jenny’s Last Outing
On July 6th, I left Pagosa Springs with an enormous hole in my heart, traveling for the first time on this full-timing gig with only Sam ( Samantha ) for my companion.
Jenny, my constant companion for almost 16 years, is no more. She has been suffering from some kind of seizures for the past two weeks, her breathing has become very shallow and it was quickly becoming obvious that her end was near. I clipped her long coat just a few days before these shots at Wolf Pass were taken when the heat was making it very hard on her. She and Sam have been all but connected at the hip for 10 years, but Sam has almost always been right at her side the last several days as she obviously knew something was not right.
Sam even became something of an alert dog as she could sense when Jenny was going into one of her seizures and would jump out of their bed and let me know what was coming just seconds before the seizure would hit. I was hoping that such a wonderful little dog like Jenny would be blessed with a quick and painless end, but for whatever reason, that was not to be.
By July 4th, her breathing was becoming very shallow and rapid, and she was now being hit with a couple seizures a day, so I had to help her out and made an appointment for her to be put to sleep at the veterinary clinic just outside of Pagosa Springs. They were very kind and did a wonderful job of ending Jenny’s suffering, even coming out to the car, so she wouldn’t have to experience the normal dread she went through anytime we approached a vet’s clinic for annual checkups and shots.
Jenny made it to 15 Years and 9 months, a fairly long life for a small dog, and I can proudly say, I know she had as good a life as any little dog could possibly expect to experience. The look on her face in the image above expressed this inexplicable adoration she had for me. Though certainly friendly, she would barely acknowledge other people, or dogs, and seemed to focus all of her attention on me, why, as I said, I just don’t know.
In our previous life, she had the run of a 6000 SF house and art gallery/frame shop, plus a large yard to chase squirrels in.
She always had a canine companion and for the last ten years, that was Samantha, seen above in their daytime space behind my work station in the frame shop.
Three years ago, the three of us hit the road for this full-timing life, and she was able to experience a lot of North America, exploring lots of new territory.
…. smelling the wildflowers in Texas
….getting windblown in the desert
…perched on a picnic table watching Amish buggies go by in Pennsylvania.
Accompanying this photographer to too many locations to possibly recall, always there to help me pull gear from the back of the Prius.
And, God, how she loved the beach ( I guess that probably goes for all dogs ). Just run forever, never seeming to tire whenever we hit the sand.
Here watching the world go by from one of her favorite perches when we were wintering on the Port Aransas Beach.
In the past, and unfortunately I have gone through this process many times, I have usually replaced a dog with a new pup fairly quickly because I don’t like to leave the remaining dog without canine companionship, and training a new puppy usually takes my mind off the recently lost pet. This time, I don’t know what I am going to do yet. The sorrow is little deeper than ever before, perhaps a reflection of my own age, but more likely because of the special place this little dog held in my heart.
Rest in peace, Jenny.
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