Friday, September 5, 2008

Otis...A Sad Goodbye

"Grief is so painfully real,
regardless of its origin.
The love of, and attachment to,
an animal friend
can equal that of human relationships.
Likewise, the loss of an animal
can be just as devastating."
- Rev. Joel L. Morgan

Yesterday was a very sad and painful day for me. I had to say goodbye to my little pug, Otis. Otis was the first housedog I ever had, and I had gotten him as a little 10-week old puppy just shy of 12 years ago. He was such a little character!!! His bark was kind of pathetic, because it always sounded like he had laryngitis. In fact, a few years back on Halloween, a little girl came to the door and rang the doorbell for trick-or-treating. And Otis always barked whenever anyone would ever ring the bell. When I opened the door, instead of saying "trick or treat," the girl said, "What's wrong with your dog?" It's true, I swear!

Throughout his entire life, poor Otis always had health problems. For quite a while, we were at the Vet's office on a very regular basis, and I always joked with 'Dr. Vic' that I helped finance a large portion of the new addition they had added to the clinic. Otis finally seemed to overcome many of his ailments, and seemed to be in pretty good shape for many years, with the exception of an enlarged heart, which he took medication for. The last several years of his life, however, his health began to deteriorate. Dark pigment spots formed on both of his eyes, so his vision was impaired; he became nearly deaf, and he had severe arthritis in his back and hind legs. He also had trouble with fluid accumulating in his lungs. Nevertheless, my little O.T. never seemed to complain, and would wag his little 'cinnabun' curly tail in slow-motion when he was happy. For the past couple of months, we noticed a lump inside of his mouth which was getting larger and larger. He lost his appetite and also a lot of weight. Wednesday evening, he began to cry out in a heart-wrenching way, which was so terribly painful to hear. Even our other two pugs raced into the kitchen to see what was wrong with him. I felt so helpless...I couldn't do anything to help him. So early yesterday morning, I called his vet and took him right in. Unfortunately, I knew deep-down in my heart that this was going to be his last visit there. I loved Otis so much. We went through so much together...he was my little pal that I could hold like a baby in the recliner every night when I watched TV. He was the little confidant that I could tell my troubles to. He loved me no matter what. I could never make the choice whether or not to 'put him down' even though he was in poor health for a while, because he was part of our family, and I would feel like I was betraying him. As soon as Dr. Vic saw Otis, he made the decision for me. The lump in his mouth was cancerous. He could see that immediately by its appearance, and also felt that it had more than likely spread to other parts of his body. His heart was failing and going into arrhythmia, his breathing was labored, and his lungs were filled with fluid. He said that I shouldn't feel guilty about doing this, because I had gone above and beyond what most people would've ever done to care for him all these years. Hearing that didn't make it any easier for me, though. At least I was able to be with him at the end, and he layed his little chin on my arm and looked into my eyes before he passed on. I can't stop my tears from falling even as I'm typing this, because it hurts so much to lose such a faithful little friend. I'm going to end this post with the following poem which really sums up what Otis probably would've said to me, if dogs could speak:


If it should be that I grow frail and weak,

And pain should keep me from my sleep,

Then will you do what must be done,

For this, the last battle, can't be won.

You will be sad I understand,

But don't let grief then stay your hand,

For on this day, more than the rest,

Your love and friendship must stand the test.

We have had so many happy years,

You wouldn't want me to suffer so.

When the time comes, please, let me go.

Take me to where my needs they'll tend,

Only, stay with me until the end.

And hold me firm and speak to me,

Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree,

It is a kindness you do to me.

Although my tail its last has waved,

From pain and suffering I have been saved.

- Anonymous

"Otis may be gone from my life, but never from my heart."

Monday, September 1, 2008

I'm Working Away!!!

"The creative impulse suddenly
springs to life, like a flame,
and passes through the hand onto the canvas,
where it spreads farther until,
like the spark that closes an electric circuit,
it returns to the source;
the eye and the mind."
- Paul Klee
Today is another beautiful day outside... the sun is shining brightly, and the temperatue is on the rise. We have had gorgeous weather for the past week, and I'm hoping it will continue for at least another several days. The creative juices have been flowing for me, and I'm presently in the middle of doing a piece for Opie and Linda O'Brien's upcoming book. I am so honored that they love my work, and asked me to contribute one of my creations for it!!! I can remember so vividly the first time I met them at my first workshop, back in 2005.... I knew of them and their work from previous publications I had read, and when I had an opportunity to actually attend a workshop taught by them, I was both thrilled and nervous at the same time! I had never really gone to a workshop like that before, and it was quite far from where I lived. I was afraid that everyone in attendance would be much more advanced than I was, since I was totally self-taught and just created things for myself. The minute I walked in the door, Linda and I seemed to totally connect!! I still have to chuckle to myself about the first lunch break we had. I was sitting at the same table as they were, and I just kept thinking to myself...'OMG!! I'm EATING with Opie and Linda O'Brien!!! I'm TALKING with Opie and Linda O'Brien!!! They're actually talking to ME!!!' The feeling was almost like sitting and chatting with celebrities for me, since they were published and nationally-known artists. And now, 4 years later, I am actually going to be a part of their book! Wow! Linda was the person who originally told me that I had talent and should get my work published, back in 2005. I took her advice...and things really snowballed from there. So to Linda, I want you to know that I am proud and very honored to call you my friend ~ and my soul-sister!!!