One year ago...

I feel like I’ve written this post a million times in my head. It always starts with tears (yep, here they go again) and a lump in my throat. Memories come flooding in, I laugh at the good and sob when the end comes crashing through. 

16 years ago we found Opie- ok, he found us. He was our boy- our good GOOD boy. Floppy ears, floppy tongue- the perfect ball hound who wouldn’t stop chasing until you forced the ball out of his mouth or hid it out of exhaustion (your exhaustion not his!) He burst into our lives, quickly taking over car, couch, bed and our hearts.  He was decorated for every holiday and doted on like the 1st baby in a family.  Oh yes, he was our boy. 

About a year or so later Adam brought up the idea of a second dog. ABSOLUTELY NOT. WE HAVE NO ROOM. REALLY? MORE POOP TO CLEAN UP?

But then I saw HER. I was taking photos of homeless dogs and cats for a rescue group back then.  I saw cute puppies all of the time, and outside of Opie none of them really tugged at my heart, but THIS girl DID. She was sitting at the back of a crate all curled up like a cat.  She was the smallest of her siblings but she was way too cute to ever be called a runt. She had perfect circles around her eyes that looked as if she was wearing glasses.  Oh, my heart leapt and I immediately called Adam.  He laughed at how quickly my adamant “NO” turned into “but we have to have her!” She was still too young to be adopted but I filled out an application, snapped her photo and rushed to get my film developed (yes, before digital thank you). 

She briefly had the name Mini and almost ended up as Elvis, but in the end we laughed about a really long name and the song Inagodadavida came up. And there she was, our Vida.

Opie loved her - and he slobbered on her and drug her around until she got to be bigger than him. They were buddies from the beginning.

She hated that he was so obsessive about tennis balls and would even steal them and force him to chase after her to get it back. And so it went for a good 10 more years.

Their age would eventually catch up with them and there was less chasing and more exploring, more sleeping, rolling in the grass and catching warm summer rays.

The end isn’t as important as any of this, but it happened one year ago today. Our girl, our Vida traveled from this world, embraced in our loving arms and washed in our tears.

Exactly one month later, almost to the hour, we held Opie in the same way and said our second round of goodbyes and another downpour of tears. 

So what is this all leading up to? Both of our 4 legged children found us through my work with a pet rescue group. 16 years later, the work that this and other Central Texas groups have done is phenomenal. Austin is now a No Kill city thanks to a spark in a friend’s eye that would eventually become Austin Pets Alive! Dogs, cats, bunnies and even guinea pigs are finding loving, forever homes through the tireless efforts of groups like this one.  

During the months of March and April in honor of our Vida and Opie, I will be donating 10% of my profits from commissioned portraits to Austin Pets Alive!

Give a gift to another –or even yourself! Pricing can be found here. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me.  And even if you don’t purchase from me- give a little something to your local animal shelter – it doesn’t have to be monetary! Your time is precious to them–a special walk, a scratch behind the ears, someone who stops and talks to them-  you can be a source of happiness for them even if it is brief!

As a friend of mine pointed out, one day our packs will run together again…

 

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.

Anatole France

 

Comments

Dearest sweet rebecca, such a beautiful story of your 2 lovable pets. A really beautiful tribute and it made me teary. I always love your illustration and these are just so perfect and meaningful.
Thank you so much for your kind words, love and support in my little creations over at my bubble space. I really appreciate it so much. Have a good week sweet friend and love to you!

What a wonderful way to give to a worthy cause. Loved the stories of your sweet four legged family members. It made me cry. My gal Rose (11 yrs.) is in rapidly declining health. She now needs our help to get around. Every time I hug her, I weep a bit. There is no love like that of a dog.

What a beautiful tribute to Opie and Vida! How lucky you all were to cross each other's paths. Thank you for sharing your story.

Stephanie
xo

I'm trying not to cry 'cause we've got company coming over in 10 minutes.

that was really sweet, becky!

hi lady :). It's Jess from HSHB. you got me with this one. i'm a teary mess now. wow. I saved a puppy from APA and sadly he died of Parvo two weeks later. it was so hard, and we barely had/knew him. I cannot EVEN imagine what you went through but you tell it with such grace. BTW, Austin Pets Alive was super about refunding the adoption fee right away!
Can you put an RSS button on your blog? I can only find the bookmarking tool...or am I a dunce and don't seee it?

your words & art brought tears as i'm remembering companion pets that i've known and lost. thank you for posting such a though-filled and touching post, and especially for being so thoughtful as to donate a portion of your profit towards helping other pets in need! i am forwarding your article to pet lovers in my life :).

Thanks for the cry! I never knew I could love any animal as much as I LOVE our 5 dogs. Jack is the caregiver, feeding, watering, picking up poop, and walking all 5 every day, but I love them, too. I'm just lazy when it comes to the other stuff. My bed has become the couch because I can't sleep with 5 dogs anymore. 29 years ago I would have said you were out of your mind if you would have told me I would love these dogs as much as I do or that they were as important to me as my children or grandchildren, but they are. Becky, I am not looking forward to the day you have already experienced, but I know it's coming because like me, they aren't getting any younger. It helps knowing they will have cousins to show them the way! Thanks for sharing. Your cuz, Monica

Your drawings are AWESOME!

Oh my goodness - you are crazy talented! Not only in your drawings, but your writing, everything. Hugs to you about your two loves. xo. I'm so happy to have 'found' you through my birthday blog post. Thank you for visiting me there!

Beautiful angels <3 <3
I love the quote at the end-- so true, will have to quote it myself!

dearest friend, i've got tears in my eyes, i just now saw this. i know you loved them fiercely and still do and they love you back. thank you for drawing my morris. they'll always be our dogs. you wrote a beautiful memoir for your fuzzy kids. hugs.