Look who's here...Maggie! Maggie belonged to my parents for about nine years. Health matters interfered with their ability to care for her, and, while it was always my intention to take her if something like that occurred, the timing of it was way off on the day they decided they needed to let her go. (Months of caring for my parents and Sophie, spending nights at the regular hospital and days at the vet hospital, pretty much overwhelmed me and wore me down for a while.) Fortunately, Maggie had an angel who came and got her and took her home and cared for her for over a year. After my parents got better and after some of the anguish of losing Sophie lessened, I started thinking about Maggie. I knew I couldn't really think about bringing home another dog without taking Maggie in, so I did!
Maggie's angel was also her breeder, and she gave Maggie the best care you could imagine. Maggie's time away, living with about eight other dachshunds, taught Maggie a lot of dog skills she didn't really have. I think it made her transition to living here easier for her and us. She used to be overwhelmed by different situations, including being away from home, other dogs and wide open spaces. Now, she's only a little scared by Teddy when he tries to initiate play (he is ten times her size), but she patrols the backyard like a pro, she learned all about doggie doors and using ramps while she was away, and she even dropped a few pounds while she was gone. She has been here just over a week, and she has mastered going up and down stairs (but don't get in her way, as she develops a lot of momentum in both directions), and she totally enjoyed the Saturday morning car ride routine.
And just as importantly, my parents are very happy to be able to visit Maggie again.
I can't thank Maggie's breeder enough for being so kind and generous with her care of Maggie. She really, really loves her dogs, and we were so lucky to have her help.
I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post (sorry!), but I have been busy with all kinds of things. One thing I've been trying to do is bring some order to the room I use as my studio. In the process, I came across an "illumination" that I got at an arts festival years ago, long before I started participating in festivals. I liked it so much, I framed it and hung it up in my studio. It's a take on illuminated manuscripts created by monks when they had to record scripture by hand. They would go way beyond the painstaking task of just writing page after page; they would also decorate the pages with illustrations related to the text they were copying. The most famous example of an illuminated manuscript, I believe, is the Book of Kells, located at Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland. We made a point of seeing the Book of Kells several years ago when we were in Ireland, and it was lovely. If you visit, you can only see two pages at a time. By that, I mean that the book is open in a display case, and every day, someone turns a page to display for that day. So, if you visit on Monday, then return on Thursday, you will see different pages. Anyway...my little discovery was a prayer for animals by Albert Schweitzer, which someone reproduced in calligraphy, then added charming little watercolor illustrations. It even has a gold-leaf looking "H" at the beginning. I don't know why I stashed it away and left it for so long, but I'm glad I found it, and I thought I would share it with you. I only wish that I had taken the picture of it before I framed it, because the reflection on the glass required me to take the photo at weird angle. I hope you like it:
Teddy loves to be outside, regardless of the weather. I often wonder if our neighbors think it's sad we make our dog stay outside in cold, windy, snowy weather, but we don't make him go out at all (except for necessary business). Much of the time we would prefer he stay in because it's a lot of work sometimes to dry his paws/underside/legs. He seems to forget that he has four paws. He sits patiently while we dry the first three, then he's done. So we're left wrestling with the fourth paw while he's wanting to walk away. That's why you should always go for the dirtiest paw first...Here he is basking in winter's chill:
He finally decided to come back in, leaving a warm little silhouette on the deck. You would have never, ever caught Sophie doing that!
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."
I've spent the last week being bandaged, then splinted. Whenever someone asks what happened to my finger, I tell them I strained it by over-using it, but the truth is I had some surgery on a joint in my finger. Not a great look for someone who works with her hands on a daily basis, but I'm getting used to it. I never realized how much I use my left hand and, specifically, that finger. For work, I mean...Just another week or so and the splint will come off and I will get the stitches out. In the meantime, I'm still managing to get things done.
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!
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