It’s been more than a year now since I lost my beloved furry companion, Fiona. And it wasn’t long after she passed that Charlie, a coyote rescued as an orphan pup then raised and loved for his whole live by his heroine, Shreve Stockton, peacefully died of kidney failure in the company of his very best friend in the world. I thought of them both today and am here to celebrate their lives.
When I lose someone dear to me, my instinct is to create a piece of art in their memory.
Here’ the one I did of Fiona. I drew and painted her, and added the collage of gorgeous dahlia blooms from the Swan Island Dahlia catalog. It looks like the background might be watercolor with white acrylic paint stenciled over it.
But the most important part of this piece is, obviously, Fiona. She spend so much time with me in the garden, witnessing both my successes and my failures. One of my more spectacular and frustrating failures was my attempt to grow dahlias. Each fall I'd take stock of the miserable plant and vow to do better the next year. Then the next year would roll around and I still couldn't get them to do well for me.
Fiona knew exactly what to do with dahlias, as she write in the caption: "Growing dahlias isn't really that hard. Plant them in a sunny location. Pinch the center shoots back when they reach 12". Water deeply. Fertilize regularly, and be sure to remove any spent blooms." I can almost hear her asking "so, what's the problem, Mom?"
How I loved her. I can still remember the feel of the fur on her ears and the kind look in her beautiful eyes.
Then there was Charlie. For her subscribers, of whom I was one, Shreve posted photos of him every day. How I looked forward to seeing Charlie each day. What an amazing animal her was, and what an amazing person Shreve is. When he passed, I cried for days, and miss him still.
Here's my tribute to Charlie.
Pink for Fiona, and for Charlie - blue! But I couldn't resist a big patch of pink. Charlie is a print of a photo I had of him (which Shreve took). I enhanced the photo with paint, especially the eyes. The text is about what I remembered and loved about him. In the stamped text, he's saying "come with me," and I answer "I will."
I believe animal companionship is one of the great blessings of our lives. Who do you love? Who do you miss, and still love?