Archive for the 'pet loss' Category

Plant Something, Grow Something

amywink April 17th, 2013


Last year, I placed a daring and expensive order with White Flower Farm for 3 different varieties of “black” Bearded Irises in an effort to memorialize my black cat Fox and my black dog, Lady, in the garden. It was a risky move because they were not rated for this zone, Zone 8/9. And yet, I have plenty of bearded Irises in the yard and had no reason I could understand that the black ones should be any different. I took the risk, ignored the invalidated warranty, and ordered 6 iris tubers: 2 “Hello, Darkness”, 2 “Before the Storm”, and 2 “Study in Black.” I planted them in the fall and caged them because Lily proved that she was Not A Gardening Dog as I planted them and I didn’t want them to go racing around the yard in her mouth. I watched the leaves come up and grow all winter and this month, the buds appeared on “Hello, Darkness”–buds that were indeed a very inky black!!


Now the plants are in full bloom and the gorgeous darkest purple bloom is gracing the garden, along with the Victoria Falls bearded irises I planted to remember my blue-eyed cat, Victoria.


Also in bloom this time of year, the antique Maggie rose, in honor of my wirehaired Dachshund Maggie:

The Kronprincess Viktoria rose for Victoria (a well remembered cat)dsc_1335.JPG

The Blithe Spirit rose, for my last dog Tristan: dsc_1265.JPG

And the St. Joseph’s Lilies (or amaryllis) transplanted from my grandfather’s garden.

All reminders, even in the face of grief, to plant something, to grow something and to remember beauty.

Writing Dogs

amywink March 23rd, 2012

I have been without a writing dog for exactly a year. Lady, the Giant Schnauzer who shared then assumed Tristan’s revered position after his passing March 9, 2010, died a year ago yesterday. March, the transitional month.

Early in the month, I determined to order the roses I had planned to plant in remembrance of the two dogs. The drought had put those roses on hold last year but I had selected to David Austin Roses last year and had simply waited until the timing was right for the roses to be shipped in February. I selected for Tristan, my Bonnie Wee Blithe Heart, the Blythe Spirit Rose, and for Lady, The Dark Lady, of Shakespearean fame. I sent my order in and waited.

Meanwhile, as I have been focusing on Blessing and her training, the dogs, and perhaps even Taipan, the surrogate, have been at work on the other side, moving my next writing dog into being. After a long period of thoughtful research and deep contemplation, a year, I had determined that Welsh Springer Spaniels met my needs/desires most completely (must love cats and people, be a carriage/writing dog) and I set about to make sure of that, attending the Houston Dog Show last summer, contacting a competitor/breeder via the dog show catalog, and slowly, slowly investigating the breed. I spent a great deal of time agonizing about the decision, as if I were Isabel Dalhousie . But I found my way to help very easily even as I dithered. Cindy Rhine, of Bartay’s Gordon Setters and Welsh Springers, was instrumental helping me with my decision. I planned the timing carefully, hoping for a 2012 summer puppy.

A week after I ordered my roses, I was speaking with Eva Svabo and Donna Weber of Avedonn Welsh Springers (website coming soon!) and on their wait list for a puppy, due to arrive in April. That very night, my roses were delivered. I felt the dogs were with me. Over Spring Break, I planted the roses, making sure they could be seen from my writing cottage windows so when I am at my desk at work, I will see the memorial blooms. I spent some time in my cottage clearing out and cleaning up as well. Time without my writing dog has corresponded curiously, or perhaps not so curiously, to a time without writing.

Clearly one needs a companion to head into the unknown territory of the blank page.

Now after a long wait, my puppy cometh.

Avedonn Welsh awaits the arrival of a litter from Lucy (Statesman’s Super Model)

and Filson (Trystyn’s Blue Rodeo)

So sometime in April, I’m hoping to see a scene like this one:

and eventually have an adorable companion like Alicealicewill.jpg

Goodbye to a Great Dog

amywink February 4th, 2012


Since I have been “living” at Taipan Station, one of the most joyous experiences has been the always enthusiastic greetings from all the dogs. It is, after all, a place named for a dog– the original Taipan I who I did not have the pleasure of knowing. Since I’ve been dogless in my own life the last year, the Taipan Pack has been giving me all of the dog attention I have needed while I wait for my own dog to arrive (and I have a plan for that this year). From the smallest, Cookie, to the oldest, Chloe, everyone has been doing their doggie darndest to make sure I had enough dog time.

This past year, Taipan (the 2nd), the chocolate lab, has done his therapeutic work for me, always greeting me with his Labrador grin and always always bringing a stick, or log, or stump, for retrieving, or picking up my grooming brushes to draw my attention away from the horses.



Falling in love with someone else’s dog is always tricky but has some excellent benefits–a pleasant little love triangle with all of the benefits and none of the problems. Of course, falling in love with a dog means opening oneself up to the pain of losing the dog, even if he belongs to someone else.

Yesterday, we all lost Taipan.

He’s buried now in the pasture so his spirit will remain with the place but it’s very hard to say goodbye to such a great dog.


Happy Birthday, Blessing!

amywink October 6th, 2010

This past weekend, we celebrated Blessing’s third birthday. She’s growing into herself and is becoming quite the elegant young lady. img_7762.jpg

We celebrated with carrots, but like cookies, Blessing hasn’t yet learned that carrots are tasty! All the other horses were HAPPY to celebrate her birthday by eating her carrots!

I am terribly behind on writing here because I had a rather sad September. My cat of 12 years was diagnosed with cancer at the end of August and I had to let him go on the first of October. Fox was a fantastic cat. He’d arrived in my life at during a terrible time and had always been a cheerful presence. Out of the 2 litters of kittens (9) born on my porch in East Texas (and their mothers who I spayed), he alone could not find a home since he was a black cat. So he became my good luck black cat and I enjoyed him every day he was with me.


I am very grateful the veterinarians and staff at the Emergency Animal Hospital, specifically Dr. Rae and Dr. Rhyne, and Dr. Balch and the staff of the Central Texas Specialty Vet Hospital , all of whom worked to make Fox as comfortable as possible during his last days.

Because of Fox, I took my grief to the Town Lake Animal Shelter and choose two of the almost 200 cats and kittens currently in need of homes.

I came home with Henry:


And Phoebe:


Both kittens are now helping me cope with loss as only lively kittens can.