I always think of her on New Year’s Eve even though it’s been 16 years since she died from hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive cancer of the blood vessels. I remember well the day we adopted her, too, and my first impression that she looked like a lioness lying regally in the shelter cage, her paws crossed, with an attitude of “There must be some mistake. I don’t know what I am doing in this place.” As we signed the adoption papers the clerk warned, “She’s been brought back twice. This is her last chance.” In spite of many behavior challenges, we gave her a forever home for the next seven years. When she was diagnosed with cancer, I learned how much I had come to love her for her courage, loyalty, and count-me-in attitude. As a final gift, she inspired me to begin a collection of tributes to beloved dogs, later published as Angel Pawprints: Reflections on loving and losing a canine companion. Although their years with us are never long enough, and it is unbearably sad when they leave us, I have come to think of each of my dogs as a precious gift that has enriched my life and opened my heart in unexpected ways. I am blessed and thankful to have walked beside them.
Archive for December, 2009
Alex and I are digging out from last weekend’s big snow. We are looking forward to a white Christmas and time with family and friends. We wish you a safe, warm, and peaceful holiday season with all of your loved ones.
I am fortunate to live in an area with many talented artists and crafters such as this artist, Nancy Darrell, a member of the prestigious Southern Highland Craft Guild, which operates the Folk Art Center near Asheville, NC where Guild members sell work year-round. Browsing for gifts at the Folk Art Center this past weekend, I discovered these lovely cards by woodcut artist Nancy Darrell of Marshall, NC. Nancy is also a talented potter and often incorporates birds into her work. She has an extensive line of woodcut prints of cabins, wild birds, and mountain scenes. Although I’m more of a dog person than a cat person, I loved this image. It speaks to me of the warmth and love that animals bring to our lives, if we open the door and let them in. This image is also available as a woodcut print for framing, or in packages of blank notecards. Please note, my scanner distorted the card colors a bit; the left border is more of a mustard or pumpkin shade. Enjoy!
Here is a great idea for a gift for dog lovers, or for your dogs – a box of dog biscuit mix from King Arthur Flour. The mix includes whole grains, brewer’s yeast, beef extract, flax, garlic, dried whole eggs, and parsley. Biscuits are easy to make and complete instructions are included. The dough can be kneaded by hand, electric mixer, or bread machine. I have been very pleased with King Arthur products including these dog biscuits. The company also sells a variety of mixes for muffins, bread, coffee cake, and cookies as well as hard to find specialty baking ingredients and tools. The web site has wonderful recipes and a blog. The biscuit mix is also available gift-boxed with a bone-shaped cookie cutter. Happy baking!
If you are looking for a lovely holiday gift for the animal lovers on your list, I recommend Animal Blessings: Prayers and Poems Celebrating Our Pets by June Cotner (HarperCollins, 2000). I discovered Ms. Cotner’s lovely series of books with her more recently published Dog Blessings. Animal Blessings includes writings about all types of animals, from dogs, cats, and horses to wildlife including birds, deer, dolphins, and other wild creatures. (more…)