It was three months ago today that we lost Sophie, and we've missed her every minute.
Best. Dog. Ever.
Teddy's looking swell in his new collar. Handsome boy!
I've been using much of my time making room for and setting up some new tools and equipment for jewelry making, including a laser printer (for transferring designs to a special kind of paper which is then transferred to metal to act as a resist for etching), a roll mill (for rolling metal and making designs in it by pressing a metal plate into the silver or copper), and a light box, which will hopefully help me take some better (at least acceptable) photos of the jewelry I make. Lots of things need some general organization, too, including my jewelry desk and the drawing table I use for pastels. Organizing isn't my strong point, but I'm distracted when it isn't done, so it's a must....at least I have to try. For a while.
We had a good Christmas. Especially Teddy. Here's the evidence:
I hope you had a good holiday, too.
We missed being able to indulge Sophie this Christmas, and we always miss her sweet presence (and her willingness to wear a Santa hat.) By the way, not all of Teddy's gifts were from us. My brother and his wife gave Teddy some of them. Unfortunately, they were the ones that took the harshest treatment. But Teddy thoroughly enjoyed them, and the orange octopus has been re-stuffed (which will only be temporary, I'm sure.) Anyway, we wanted to do something in remembrance of Sophie, since this was the first Christmas without her. So, we donated a bed to the Richland County Dog Shelter in Mansfield, where we found her and adopted her just over eight years ago. I wondered how it would work, as there was a link on the shelter's website, and the bed ships there directly from the manufacturer. It turned out that it worked really well, and I received the nicest acknowledgment message from the shelter the very next day. I'd like to share it with you, just in case it may motivate you to send a bed to a shelter you know about. Here's the email I received:
We received word from Kuranda that you and your husband are donating a Kuranda bed in memory of your precious Sophie who you had adopted from the shelter 8 years ago. Please accept our heartfelt sympathies for your sweet Sophie. She is lucky to have had your love and care for those 8 wonderful years and I am sure you feel the same way about Sophie.
That is quite touching that you want to reach out to another dog at the shelter and make their stay a little bit more bearable with a comfortable bed while they wait for that special someone to adopt them. Thank you for being so considerate and so generous. The dogs truly do love these Kuranda beds and they are very well made and durable.
Whenever you are ready to start looking for another family member, please let us know if we can help you in any way.
Thank you again for wanting to help our shelter. That is such a wonderful tribute to Sophie and we appreciate your kindness more than you know.
for all the dogs at Richland County Dog Shelter
I really appreciated that, and I did respond to her. Just in case you ever want to donate a bed, check the website of the shelter you have in mind, as it probably has a link to Kuranda on it. If it doesn't, just visit www.kuranda.com and go from there. I hope that makes my little Sophie smile. We wanted to do something in her memory that had a lasting impact, so I hope that very soon a dog at the Richland County Dog Shelter is a little more comfortable thanks to Sophie.
This is a huge blog entry for me. I guess I'm making up for lost time. I've been super-busy this past month, with the usual Christmas preparations and such, on top of all the regular stuff, plus a birthday, and nursing my finger and my dog, so I've been really bad about updating lately. Here's a little bit about what's been going on...
Having a bandaged finger doesn't seem like it should be a big deal, but does get in the way more than you would think. Things I take for granted, like the way I hold the leash when I walk Teddy, putting an elastic in my hair for a ponytail, opening jars, flossing my teeth, and trying to applaud at a great concert. It doesn't stop me from doing these things, but it does get in the way. It's also a factor when I'm sawing a design out of silver, because that's the finger I would like to be using to hold the metal against the bench pin. Oh, well. I did get my stitches out, and things were great for two or three days, then the joint got really angry and swelled up, turned red, hurt tremendously and became un-bendable. It's calming down now, and much of the pain is gone, but I lost a lot of ground with physical therapy. Despite the whining, I have managed to get some work done, and here's a photo of some of the jewelry I made while impaired. It doesn't interfere much with my ability to paint. Washing my hands, yes (when it's bandaged), but not in getting them dirty.
Teddy had some dental surgery to remove a cracked tooth. It looked like it should be terribly painful, but he never showed any symptoms of the problem. He was very floppy from the anesthesia and pain medication, and it was sweet to see such a big dog be so...pliable. We didn't want him to fall off the bed that night (he usually starts the night with a visit for an hour or so), so we got him situated in his giant, very comfy Frontgate dog bed, which we covered with a sheet to catch his blood-tinged drool, and we thought he would be out for the night. Not so...sometime around 4:00 AM, Teddy decided he wanted to visit, so he flung his 73 pounds up onto the bed in a move that lacked any kind of grace or control and landed, like a bony sack of potatoes, on Art's legs. And then he wouldn't move. Art actually had to get out of bed and push him over. I was relieved to see that Art still had use of his legs. Teddy is pretty much recovered from his surgery, although we are still softening his food (which smells great, by the way.) He is now being treated for an ear infection. I really hope that Teddy is not trying to compete with Sophie's legacy of vet bills. We're hoping for an extended period of good health for Teddy (and our Discover card).
Today is Teddy's favorite kind of weather: cold, wet and snowy. I took the photos below from inside our enclosed porch. He's watching the door and giving me the, "What, aren't you coming out with me?" look. No, I am not.
Another Ernie Haase and Signature Sound concert. It was their Christmas concert, and it was wonderful. Cute boys on stage. They don't even have to sing and I'd be happy. Probably couldn't get my husband to go if that was the case... But they do sing, and they do it so well. And they are a lot of fun, too.
We were able to take both my parents this time. My dad's recent knee replacement meant that we had to rearrange our seating at the last minute. They were very accommodating at the Midland Theater, and we appreciated that. Want a little taste of the concert? OK.....Here's a little video montage. It starts and ends with a complete "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen." While you may think that I'm using high-tech video equipment with amazing sound capabilities, which I have mastered from years of experience, from a well-thought-out location near the stage to capture my favorite parts of the concert, I am not. I am using my tiny point-and-shoot camera, which has a microphone I can't even see, from the middle of the balcony (thanks, Dad's knee), to capture those parts of the concert during which I was able to figure out which buttons to push on my camera to get the video to work, which I haven't used since the last Ernie Haase concert. So, basically, you're in for a real treat. But if you've got about three and a half minutes to kill, have a look. Then please go visit www.erniehaase.com, because they deserve much better than this. Anyway, here you go....
While you may not think that Ernie and the boys have anything to do with my work or my dogs, you would be wrong. I listen to a lot of music when I am working and walking my dogs (well, "dog" for now...), and that means a lot of Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. It's really exciting to experience their music live when I spend so much time listening to it otherwise. If they only knew that I'd never get any work done or walk a dog without them....
One more thing...It was one week ago that a lot of innocent people experienced an unthinkable tragedy in Connecticut. That has been on my mind a lot, and weighing heavily on my heart. A couple of days ago, a friend sent me something written by someone I don't know. I thought that it took a little of the sting out of what happened, and I'd like to share it with you. It's impossible to understand something like that, but where there is God, there is hope...
Twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
...They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"Where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"This is heaven." declared a small boy. "We're spending Christmas at God's house."
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same,
then He opened His arms and He called them by name,
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring.
Those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
Then He looked down on earth, the world far below;
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"May this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"Come now my children, let me show you around."
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran,
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."
Well, I've thought so for a while, but to have a grooming professional--who, herself, owns two Golden Retrievers--say it carries some weight. Not only did Teddy's groomer declare that he was the hairiest dog ever, she also said that Teddy has more undercoat than any dog she's ever seen. We're number one! We're number one! Teddy is outstanding in many ways, but clearly, hair production is one of his top talents. Here are a couple of pictures of my handsome boy right after his recent grooming. So, these are photos after mass amounts of hair were removed. When I picked him up after grooming, I thought he looked kind of shaved, but looking at these photos of him, he looks normal, not shaved. Hairy or not, I love him!
Wow. I really miss Sophie. She was always nearby, following me from room to room. It's hard to get my head around the idea that she's gone and I'll never see her or hear her or touch her again. I try to take comfort in the fact that I gave her the best life I could, full of walks and treats and car rides, as well as a lot of time together and some travel, including a trip to the outer banks of North Carolina. She was always up for an adventure. I would tell my husband that I thought we should celebrate the dogs' birthdays, and he would always say, "What would we do differently? It's like every day is their birthday." I hope that's true, and I hope she knows how much she was loved and that I will never forget her. I also hope that we gave to her at least a fraction of the joy she brought to us.
I'm not sure that Teddy knows what happened exactly, but I do think he misses her. She was always the leader when it came to those two, and he was the follower. Since she's been gone, he doesn't have another dog to follow. He learned a lot about being a dog from Sophie. He had kind of a rough start as a pup (at 12 weeks old, we were his fourth or fifth home), and I think that made him a little insecure at first. He wouldn't even go out the front door on his leash unless Sophie went first. She taught him how to wake us for breakfast and how to perform at 7 PM each evening for a strip of rawhide. She also showed him that car rides were nothing to fear, even if it led to a vet visit, because a treat was sure to follow. As much as Teddy learned from Sophie, she was probably a little annoyed when he first showed up, all paws and playfulness, but she took much comfort in her big friend when the two of them had to stay home by themselves, as she always curled up right next to his crate to sleep until we came home again. Teddy is doing a good job of absorbing the affection usually handed out to two dogs, and we joke that he is "eating for two," as the treats have been generous during this time.
I am trying to focus and get some work done, but it is hard. There has been a lot of activity surrounding my dad's recuperation from knee surgery which has kept me busy, and that's been a good thing. I am hoping that, with time, the sadness and emptiness will gradually be displaced by the satisfaction of helping a great dog live a happy and fulfilling life, and I hope that the immediate memories of that post-surgery horror will be replaced with the happy memories of a spoiled (in a good way), happy dog. In an attempt to get to that point, here is a little video of Sophie doing something she loved, and something I loved watching her do, as well as some optimal Sophie moments. I believe that all dogs go to heaven, and if they get to choose how they get there, I think Sophie may have chosen a car ride...and as soon as she got there, I'm sure she found some pillows.
Note: I'm not great with making videos, so the transitions aren't as smooth as I'd like. Please cut me a break. Also, the music is "Sometimes I Wonder" by Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, with Doug Anderson handling the vocals on this song. I hope they don't mind me using their beautiful song...We actually went to their concert on the night of Sophie's passing, so she was very much in my heart when they sang this song. I'm not sure they wrote it with dogs in mind, but I think they would be pleased that we connected with it. This song seemed perfect for Sophie because she was very frightened of thunderstorms in her later years, so the idea of no storms in heaven is nice. And no...we didn't feel like going to a concert following her death that morning, but we'd had the tickets for months, and we also took my mom, who needed something uplifting after a lot of care and stress following my dad's surgery. My dad was supposed to go, too, but he was still at rehab. And my dog-loving friend, Judy, insisted it was the best thing to do, as she had gone to a concert the day she lost her dog a year ago, and was thankful for it. It wasn't easy, but we went, and it was a good thing. Anyway, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound are great. Check them out: www.erniehaase.com. Thanks, Ernie, for a little light in the darkness.
I lost my precious Sophie today. Such high hopes after a good visit last night, but she took a turn for the worse. An early morning phone call. A mad dash to OSU. Goodbye. Things can change in a flash. We are devastated, broken and sad. I am grateful for the time I had with her, but it is never enough. I will love her forever, and I will miss her forever. Goodbye, sweet girl.
Look at my brave girl! She was much peppier this evening when we went to see her. She sat up and whimpered the whole time, and downed two sticks of Puperoni, like a champ. She was not into her canned dog food, but took two bites for us. I wish I had taken her some chicken, but she was so uninterested in food last night that I thought I'd be lucky if she took the Puperoni. She is still in her oxygen cage, but they are decreasing the oxygen, and soon she'll be on air. There's a possibility that she'll be coming home tomorrow. If she does, I'll have some chicken waiting for her. Go Sophie!!
Sophie did well with her surgery, and she is still recovering in the ICU at OSU. She's in an oxygen cage while her body adjusts to breathing with considerably less lung space than before. I got to visit her last night for a little while. (The photo at left is her in her oxygen cage with the doors open. I caught her with her eyes open, so she looks a little more alert in the picture than she did most of the time I was there. Art wanted me to take a picture for him since he couldn't go last night.) She was pretty sleepy with pain meds, but I think she knew I was there. Who else would be rubbing her ears for twenty minutes and kissing the top of her head and her nose all the time? She probably couldn't hear me talking to her because her oxygen cage makes some noise and she's a little hard of hearing, but I still told her how much I love her and how brave she has been. Art and I will go back tonight to see her again. I miss her so much....
Well, we did make a decision, and we opted for surgery. Sophie is just too spunky and well-loved to give up on her, and it became apparent that not doing the surgery would mean saying goodbye much earlier than we originally thought it would, as her coughing increased dramatically in the last week or so. As a result, my little girl is headed to the operating table at OSU tomorrow morning to have the mass and a part of her lung removed. So, if you're saying a prayer tonight, think about my scruffy little poodle-doodle, and wish her well.
If you're wondering why I haven't posted much about my jewelry or painting lately, it's because my energy (or what's left of it....) has been focused on Sophie and my dad, who recently underwent knee replacement surgery and had some complications with it. He's doing better, but there hasn't been a lot of time to do what I usually do. Here's hoping that tomorrow is a new beginning.
All images and designs are copyrighted and the property of Dana Keating Marziale and may not be used or reproduced without express written permission. Copyright 2011