Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Reflections on Art and Pets

Shortly after moving to our home of 26 years we got a dog. She was discovered wandering with her mother on the grounds of a retirement home. My bosses daughters knew we had just lost a cat and thought that since we had a yard and two small children we would want a pet for them.  In fact she became my running partner and protector from other dogs for most of her 15 plus years. Everyone loved her and she watched over us like a herding dog rather than the Lab mix she was.

When she started acting old at 14 we got another dog, a young yellow lab who was quickly taught his place in our house. A career change seeing eye dog (he didn't make it and was in fact our lovable dumb blonde) they became great mates and so it was an awful day when she began to go downhill with a series of strokes. Putting her down was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

Then our daughter went abroad as an exchange student and poor Max was inconsolable.  He wandered the house for days barely eating, drinking...doing nothing except agreeing to go on his daily walk.  Finally he perked up but an illness made it impossible for me to run so we would walk for hours much to his delight. When he to came to the end of his life, and yes I cried like a baby, we tried living dog less. Since I need to walk everyday I quickly discovered it just wasn't the same. I would call Max only to realize he wouldn't be walking with me anymore.

The hunt began for a new dog. I was hooked on Labs and found one at a rescue shelter who was beautiful. However, he was strong at 3 and had no training. But we agreed to try.  We also found a female Lab who was found wandering. We figured they would be company for each other.

Shadow loved people and would sit all day with his head on your knee if you'd let him. But he was a bully and attacked Maggie when they first met. While trying to decide what to do Maggie walked over again, licked him and he let her. However, it was an uneasy relationship and I was terrified of taking him around dogs. Finally, at Easter he attacked a smaller dog at a trailer park and realized it was time to return him.

Maggie,  my much younger Lab, quickly filled In and became my dog.  She would nag me everyday for a walk and recently has become more vocal. When she began acting strange, stopped eating it became concern and after two visits to the vet yesterday fear that something far worse was afoot. Suddenly your buddy was sick and you realized how much you cared for her.

At the emergency clinic last night another family had to put down their small dog.  Dad held it together but Mom and the son didn't.  Remembering my own two such visits I had a hard time not crying in sympathy.

In many ways I think an artist, of whatever media, has the same kind of love for their art. It has been a long drought at my ETSY store and yet I realized that it wasn't going to stop me from what I loved doing.  In fact I have become more daring, innovative than ever. Sitting here with my hopefully recovering dog beside me, I've realized it's that same kind of devotion that we hope will carry us through.

No comments:

Post a Comment