Stray Dog Arts

Truth Seeking on the 29th day of September.

Cool fall morning. Lavender scarf. Dogs running through tall grass. Slanting early sunlight. Golden wooded trails. The sharp smell of something green and growing. Frost on the studio roof. A double espresso. Comfortable gray sweater. A long day of painting, beginning with this post.

Anu :: {an update on my girl}

I just want to send a great big thank you for all of the supportive and thoughtful comments, messages, phone calls and emails that I got after writing about Anu this past week. You have no idea how blessed it makes me feel to have such incredibly loving people in my life.

Although I don't have a lot of time to write, I just wanted to let you know that she is doing better. Not perfect, but much better.

For now, we are giving her pain medication to make her feel more comfortable and she is responding really well to it. Her tests showed mixed results. There are some abnormal cells, but no conclusive answers just yet. She will need to get more tests for us to know for sure if it's cancer or not, but since treatment is not really an option due to her age and the size of the lump, we will just keep a close eye on her and bring her back to the vet for another look in a week or two.

In the process of all of this, we've been lucky to find a really wonderful vet in our area. Since moving, our regular vet is an hour away, too far for Anu to travel under the circumstances. Knowledgeable and caring veterinary care means a lot to me--and Dr. Geoffrey Passe of Cannon Valley Vet Clinic is just that. They got us in, despite a tight schedule and took the time we needed to make Anu feel a bit better and to put my husband and I at ease.

I admit that I was a bit of a wreck when I called in. With last minute preparations for a major show and magazine photo shoot also on my plate, this has been a very full week. Anu got sick right smack dab in the middle of it all and I think my heart came just as close as it ever could to breaking into a million peices. I can't even tell you how grateful I am to still have Anu by my side as I continue these long days of working and painting. Every time I look down at her, every time I touch her, every time I kiss her or hug her or feed her or look into her big brown beautiful eyes or even just think about her...I am filled with relief that the Universe decided to give me a break and grant me more time with her.

I was just seriously not ready to say goodbye. I never will be...but I am grateful for every single extra moment I'm given--whether it's a week or a year. I snuggle my face deep into her neck (my favorite part of her) and breathe deep the sweet smell of her wolfie hair. She stays closer to my side than she ever has before. We are savoring each other--all of us. We might have some tough days ahead, but right now there is happiness in her eyes. And I remind myself that this might be nothing at all. Whatever it is, in a very big way, it has caused me to appreciate what I have right here and now.

Thank you, Dr. Geoffrey, for helping us out during a difficult and scary time. Thank you, friends, for doing the same. Your stories, love, and well wishes mean a lot--to all of us.

Sending you lots of slobbery dog kisses,

Love...and all that goes along with it.

Last night I slept on the floor of my studio with my wolfie girl, Anu. It's a garage, really. Complete with mice and spiders and things that go bump in the night. But I would do anything for my dogs. And they would do anything for me. My twelve year old babe is not doing very well. She is one of the most important beings in my life. I am exhausted. My eyes are so swollen from crying that they are starting to hurt. I am beside myself with grief and yet I keep telling myself to buck up because she might just pull through--at least for awhile and, who knows, maybe even longer.

I honestly didn't know if she'd make it through the night, but decided against emergency vet care because I could not stand the thought of being told that I'd have to leave her there, alone, without the ones who love her. My worst fear is of her dying alone. No one should die alone. Not even a dog.

But we made it to morning. Several tests and bloodwork later, we're not sure what's going on with her. She has a large growth that might be cancerous and maybe not. It's been there for a long time, but recently it's started changing, at a rapid rate. Her bloodwork pointed to some abnormalities, but nothing 100% conclusive. If it is cancer, there's not much we can do except make her last days comfortable--whether it be 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years. She is, after all, an old girl. We've been advised to simply take it one day at a time. I'm trying to remind myself of that. I tell myself to stay present, lest I melt into a puddle of tears.

Right now, Anu is asleep on the floor near my feet. Behind me, my other dogs, Louie and Ella, they have their legs wrapped around each other in sweet muggle-puffin play. They know something is up, their movements are especially quiet and gentle. Louie, my Chessie, is the most sensitive. His thoughtful expression breaks my heart again. Both the pups stop and sniff Anu and keep a watchful eye on her. We stay close and surround her with love.

Needless to say, my world is filled to the brim. So much love that I feel it sharply, painfully. Maybe everything is going to be alright. No matter what the outcome, in the end, I know it will be alright. But life just seems to be happening all at once these days. And, damn. This is just a bit too much.

My wolfie girl is my heart.

I don't want to have to say goodbye.

Home Sweet Home: Vineyard views at the new Stray Dog Arts studio.


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