While in Austin, I met some wonderful dogs, and I can't help but take pictures of dogs and dog-related things. Here are a few:
Just a day or two ago, I returned from Austin, TX where we were visiting relatives. We had a great time, although I missed my dogs. They were in the very capable hands of the best dog sitter available, but I still missed them and worried about them, but they are fine and they were very happy to see us.
While in Austin, I met some wonderful dogs, and I can't help but take pictures of dogs and dog-related things. Here are a few:
And one tiny lizard...
And, although it's not pet-related, I do like boots. A lot. And Texas is like boot heaven....
No, I didn't get any. I tried them on, and on, and on, but I simply couldn't decide. Next time...
Have you ever wanted a portrait of your pet, but didn't feel like paying more than a couple dollars for it? Saturday, November 2, could be your lucky day. Here's what you do: Go to the Holly Day Bazaar at the Westerville Community United Church of Christ between 9 AM and 3 PM. You'll pay $2 at the door to get in, and you will be given a raffle ticket. Take your raffle ticket and find the baskets that are being raffled. Look for the Dog Lover basket--you can't miss it--it's huge and it's filled with all kinds of things you and your dog will like (Teddy-tested and Maggie-approved) including--ta da!--a little matted deal-i-o that entitles you to redeem it for a framed and matted 9" by 12" commissioned portrait or your pet (doesn't even have to be a dog). If you want a larger portrait, I'll let you apply your portrait prize (that's $175) toward a bigger picture. Want a better chance at winning? Then dig deep, go crazy, buy a bunch of additional tickets, and stuff the box. I bet there'll be a bunch of other awesome raffle baskets, too, so you'll want a few tickets to toss around. After you finish admiring the raffle baskets, go ahead and find something to eat, because you've earned it and there'll be lots of food opportunities awaiting you. This church knows how to feed people. Besides, you need to fuel up for the shopping frenzy that awaits you. Lots of vendors of hand made goods--and Christmas is less than two months away. You need this shopping opportunity. How do you find this place? It's at the corner of County Line Road and Spring Road in Westerville. Here's a link to some more information: http://www.westervillecucc.org/upcoming-events. I hope you check it out!
One year ago today, we lost Sophie following surgery to remove a tumor from one of her lungs. It was the third time in two years that cancer appeared, and we had a difficult decision to make. She was 16 and had had cancer in a less invasive form twice before, but she seemed so happy and otherwise healthy...We knew if we didn't have the surgery, we would soon be faced with deciding which day would be "the day" because she was suffering from coughing spells that were rapidly getting worse. Maybe the surgery would give her some more time and make her comfortable....Tough decisions. We chose surgery. The morning that I took her to OSU, where she would have her procedure, I walked her down the sidewalk a little way, thinking the whole time that it may be the last time I would have that privilege, that joy. So, I videoed that brief walk with the thought that I could experience it over and over again, in case it was her last. I tried not to think of it in those terms, but it did turn out to be her last walk.
She looks so happy, so healthy...not a clue about what was wrong or what was going to happen. Sophie loved an adventure of any kind, whether it was a walk around the block or a ride across town. I'm really glad I have the clip, but I'm sort of wishing I had done it before it was "her last" so I didn't have to think of that every time I watch it. You can see why we wanted to keep things going, to give her more time... It wasn't meant to be, I guess, and until I can walk with her among the stars, I have this, and I thought I would share it with you today, on the anniversary of her passing:
Last Saturday, Canine Companions for Independence hosted Dogfest. I made the 'triever and bone necklace for them to raffle or auction off during their fundraiser. I hope it arrived in time....I wrote down that they needed the item by the 12th of October, but the little secretary in my brain kept telling me that the event wasn't until the end of the month, like the 20th-something. Ugh. I think it made it, but it was unintentionally right up to the wire. Sorry CCI--didn't mean to take you right to the edge.
Also last Saturday, I participated as a judge for a pet parade at Sunrise Senior Living in Bexley. What a delightful bunch of pets, and what a nice group of people.
When they called to invite me to participate, they explained that they are a totally pet-friendly residence. The senior residents are allowed to keep a pet, the facility has three resident pets, family members are encouraged to bring pets to visit, and it's a pet-friendly workplace for employees who want to bring their pet to work. You can't get much better than that, can you? I was so impressed by the way they recognized the value of pets in the lives of their residents that I was really happy to go and be a part of their event, and I'm so glad I did.
There were several participating pets, all of which were adorable and well-behaved and well-socialized. They were all winners!
This sweet guy is Chucky, and he is the official resident dog (and, for last Saturday, the town sheriff). He stole my heart with his calm and affectionate greeting as soon as we walked in to the building. What I did not realize upon meeting him was that he is blind. The vet who tends to Chucky was one of the other judges, and he told us that about six months ago, Chucky lost his vision when his retinas detached. (He also told us another story about Chuck that had to do with his propensity to steal food from the residents' rooms when he was on a restrictive diet. Turns out that not everything he stole and ate was actually food. I won't go into detail, but dogs will be dogs, and I love you anyway, Chucky.) Chucky started out as a pilot dog-in-training (the other judge was from Pilot Dogs--so cool!) but was a little too laid back for a career as a guide dog, so he was adopted by a senior resident at Sunrise. When that resident passed away, Chucky stayed on as the resident dog, and he's perfect for the job. I think he found his true calling.
Just a quick note about an upcoming event... the Wedgewood Holiday Boutique...I am a participating vendor this year. It takes place at the Wedgewood Country Club in Powell on Thursday, October 24 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. There is a $10 admission fee, which goes to support People in Need of Delaware County and buys you access to over 40 vendors, a generous table of hors d'oeuvres, and a cash bar. So, give a little, nosh a little, and shop a lot! Check out the flyer below:
Next Saturday is Old Worthington Market Day, and I'll be there. It happens on High Street in Worthington from 9 AM to 4:30 PM. My booth number is 345. They do the numbering a little differently there, as they order things in blocks instead of rows. There's a 100 block that is farthest north, then a 200 block, followed by a 300 block and a 400 block. It looks like I'm pretty close to where I was last year, which was just across from La Chatelaine (hello, almond paste croissant....). I know...it's an Ohio State game day, but you have all morning to show up, and I hope you do! For more info about location and parking, visit the Worthington Chamber of Commerce's website: http://worthingtonohcoc.weblinkconnect.com/cwt/External/WCPages/WCEvents/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1600 (I think you'll have to copy and paste that into your browser, because it's really long and doesn't appear as a link, but if you cut and paste it should take you there.) I hope to see you'll come!
On a Saturday in May, The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, through its Honoring the Bond program, hosted a Remembrance Ceremony for all the pet patients that they treated and lost in the preceding year. We lost Sophie last October 26th, following surgery for a tumor in her lung, so we were invited to participate.
It took place in an auditorium in the vet hospital which I never knew was there (along with a Subway, which I also never knew was there, despite having nearly starved to death multiple times while camping out at the vet hospital waiting room during marathon visits. )
When we arrived, we were greeted by very kind volunteers and comfort dogs, and given a bag with Sophie's name on it which contained a copy of the slideshow that was to be presented, a small candle, two rocks with "Sophie" written on them, and a package of forget-me-not seeds. The auditorium itself had more boxes of tissues in one room than I have ever seen, with the possible exception of Costco.
There were words of welcome, then a first-year resident vet from OSU (who had also lost a pet in the past year) spoke on gratitude, for our pets and the people who help us care for them, and for the people who help us say goodbye to them. The next speaker was from Schoedinger Pet Services (a funeral home in Columbus that provides cremation services for beloved pets). She spoke on getting through the loss of a pet. One of the many things she discussed in her speech was her belief that ignoring grief results in bitterness, while embracing it, even though it hurts, deepens your soul. The third speaker was a veterinarian who has a practice that specializes in at-home euthanasia. She spoke about finding the courage to say goodbye. In between the speakers, the College of Veterinary Medicine chorus (who knew!?), called "The Hoofbeats," sang two songs, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Homeward Bound" (not the Simon and Garfunkel song), just in case we didn't cry enough during the speeches.
When the speeches were over, the remembrance slide show was played. Everyone who attended had submitted a picture of their pet and a few words of remembrance that were printed below the pet's picture in the slideshow. I believe there were probably between 50 and 70 pets featured in the slideshow. The photo at the top of this entry was the picture of Sophie that we submitted.
After the slideshow, we went out to the little garden along the side of the building, and we all placed our stones with the names of our pets there.
After putting our rock in the garden, we went back inside where we were offered cookies and something to drink, as well as the opportunity to participate in an art project, which was making a memory box. When I RSVP'd that we would be attending the ceremony, they asked how many people would be participating in the art project. I responded that there would be two of us. When I told Art that I had responded for him, he said that he didn't want to participate in the art project, but that he would watch while I did. (I think he was afraid that they were going to have everyone paint their own pet portrait or something....)
Well, when he got there and saw that the art project consisted of cutting up photos of Sophie that I had brought with us and pasting them on an Altoids box (or other box of your choice, which was provided), he picked up the scissors and snipped and glued and ModPodged like a sport. I would even say that he seemed to enjoy himself.
He made the box on the right, while I made the one on the left. I like our little boxes a lot. It seems like the perfect place to keep that little snip of fur you always keep when you lose a pet. I like the idea so much that I plan on making them for each of the other dogs I've lost. I wonder if Art will participate at home?
When we finished our boxes, we spoke with Joelle Nielsen, the social worker in charge of the "Honoring the Bond" program. She had organized the program and we wanted to thank her. She is a delightful person whom we had met before at some art festivals when she stopped by my booth. Then we headed home.
It was a very nice program and it served an important purpose. I think that when other people acknowledge the loss of a pet as genuine and deep, it validates the grief you are experiencing. So I really appreciate Ohio State for doing that. It also gave me a chance to really experience the grief of losing Sophie. I mean, I do and I have every day since she died, but right at the time it happened there was a lot going on with my dad being hospitalized and having complications following his own surgery, and I don't think I absorbed the loss in a way that I needed to at the time. I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to experience the remembrance ceremony for Sophie. I will never stop missing her.
Many thanks to all who braved the heat over the weekend to come out to the Westerville Music and Arts Festival. I appreciate you stopping by my booth, and your business and support mean a great deal to me.
My next event will probably not be until the end of September in Worthington, at Market Days. I haven't sent in my application yet, but I plan to do so. I will post on that later if I am going to do it for sure. I hope to see you then
It's almost time....The Westerville Music and Arts Festival is coming up shortly, and I will be there! It's on July 13th (11 am to 8 pm) and 14th (11 am to 5 pm) at Heritage Park. That is located at the corner of Cleveland Avenue and Main Street in Westerville. If you need more details about the festival, or directions to get there, click here and that should take you to the informational page from the Westerville Chamber of Commerce. I will be located toward the north end of the blacktop walkway that runs north and south, and I will be on the east side of the walkway.
I usually send out a coupon to my mailing list members for a little something off a jewelry purchase at the festival, so if you would like to receive one, just go to "contact me" and send me a message saying "Add me to your mailing list!" or something like that, along with your email address, and I'll add you to the list.
I have quite a few new jewelry designs debuting at the festival, as well as lots of samples of my portraiture. So, if you've been thinking about commissioning a portrait and would like to see some work in person, the festival is a great time to do it (although you're always welcome to set up and appointment to come by at other times.)
I hope to see you there!
Check out this sweet little guy. As I was working on his portrait, I just wanted to squeeze him, he's so cute. Unfortunately, that won't be possible. Like so many of my portrait subjects, he has departed this world. It happened just a few months ago. He was 16 (like Sophie!). He was a much loved dog, with an owner that was crazy about him. I enjoyed meeting his owner, and she and I shared lots of stories about our recently departed loves. I think it was a little bit of therapy for each of us, and I was thankful for the experience. My job is about more than painting portraits, and I am grateful for the people I meet while doing what I do, and the bond I share with them that comes from not only loving our pets, but also knowing the pain of losing them.
The owner was given a paw print of her dog by the funeral home that assisted her when Nicho passed, and she inquired about having a pendant made with his print on it. I had never done one exactly like this before, but I knew it was possible. I scanned a copy of the print and reduced it, then transferred it to a special kind of paper that is used to transfer the design to the silver and create a resist for etching. After a soak in an acid solution, a very meaningful piece of jewelry emerged. (See below.) You know that as soon as I finished it I was wishing that I had a paw print of Sophie's to work with, but not so. I do have a personalized pendant with a stamped paw print on it, and the pendant that's a little figure of her, which I shared with you on 4-29-13, which I'm very happy with. But still....the etched paw print was very cool.
Have you seen my tennis ball? The yellow one...I feel like stripping the rest of the fuzz off of it, then biting it 'til it busts almost in half. I started the process a few days ago and lost interest, but today's the day I'm gonna finish it off. I'm just in that kind of mood...
"The yellow tennis ball? I just saw Maggie with that..."
Maggie has it? That's funny!! What would Maggie do with a tennis ball? Tennis balls are retriever things...it's in our blood, the whole retrieving thing...carrying stuff with our soft mouths. Tearing the fuzz off is my own twist on the habit, but definitely still a 'triever thing. Maggie's a dachshund, and a mini one at that. She would probably need a mini tennis ball to even get it in her mouth, but she would probably just look at it, anyway.
OH MY GIANT POODLE! Maggie has my tennis ball! And what is she doing to it?? She's pulling the fuzz off of it, then nibbling the rubber part into tiny bits! Not fair! She doesn't RESPECT THE BALL...Where's the tradition in a dachshund destroying a tennis ball??
It's painful to watch, yet I cannot look away.....
Finally! ...but now there's only a half left, and what's left is all spitty and wet, and not in a good way...
Never mind. I'm over it...
"Teddy...I scraped up your tennis ball. You're not going to l like it. Sorry, buddy. I'll get you a new one at the store. Here...have a piece of cheese...better?"
I'm okay. Cheese makes everything better, but could you keep Maggie away from my sock monkey?