Travel Safe, Girl

4:47 PM

Andi, Gatlin and Susie
Possible Painting Thumbnail
Let me tell you a story about a couple of dogs named Gatlin and Andi.....

Gatlin was a mountain dog. When Chris and I met her, she was homeless and wild. Scared wild. She was so afraid of people, no one could get near her. We were on vacation up in Gatlinburg and had been visiting some friends on the Artist's Loop, when our lives collided.

We told our friends that if they caught her, we'd take her. We tried before we left, but she was too smart for her own good. Fast forward three weeks. I was on location in Atlanta, on a Friday, due to fly out that afternoon. I received a phone call—they'd caught the dog! Did we still want her? Yes!

I turned in my rental car at the airport, rented an SUV and drove to Gatlinburg that night. I picked her up the next morning and started the 12-hour drive home. By myself. With a dog I didn't know. Let's just say it was a memorable experience.

It turned out that Gatlin had been abused by her prior owners. Badly abused. She was terrified of people but wouldn't so much as raise a whisker to defend herself. She had the most expressive eyes of any dog I'd ever known.

Gatlin was an old soul.

We started working with Gatlin, to acclimate her to her life. Turns out, she didn't know how to play and she really didn't know how to interact with humans—nice or mean. Finally, we decided that maybe another dog would help.

Andi entered our lives.

We rescued Andi, our second dog, from a no-kill shelter two months after we brought Gatlin home. The two became fast friends. Andi taught Gatlin more about playing (by example) in two months than we would've been able to in two years.

Andi was a kind-hearted dog who had also seen some abuse in her life prior to coming to us. She loved to chase squirrels, to play, to pull the stuffing out of toys, out of balls, out of beds, out of anything! Andi was as high-key as Gatlin was low-key—the (mostly) perfect yin and yang.

The years slipped by and one day we learned Gatlin had cancer. It was deep inside her throat and it was inoperable. She left us in 2006.

Andi missed her friend, but by then, she had two other playmates, Susie and Specky (both were rescues and deserve a story of their own).

Again, the years slipped by.

As you know, Susie left us on December 30th. We lost Andi this morning.....

Travel safe, girl, and know that you'll be missed!

The image above is a very rough idea I have for a painting....of Gatlin greeting the two latest arrivals at the end of the Rainbow Bridge. I know she'll show them the ropes and help them get settled in.

I'll probably wait to do the painting until our last pup leaves us. For now, Specky is healthy, just very, very lonely.

On a different note, many of you have sent well-wishes for my niece.....who has recovered from her seizure and seems to be just fine. The doctors believe the seizure was brought on by a fever. She's teething right now and having a devil of a time, so it makes sense. It would also seem that these seizures are quite common in toddlers.

Again, thank you for the kind words of understanding as we do our best to cope with our losses and concerns.

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25 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Laure, so many best wishes for your niece! I am touched in reading the history of your beloveds friends, also sad, because I know well what it means. But I'm sure the three friends now have a new happy together somewhere... So I like to think...

  2. Laure, I just read this post and your previous one. What a rough time you've had! Big hugs for you and Chris, for all of your furry family members, especially with the loss of Andi today. I'm glad your niece is better. I love your idea of Gatlin greeting them and showing them around. Keep drawing and painting them to keep them alive in your heart and work through your grief. :)

  3. Laure, you've had a rough couple of months. I'm so sad for you. You seem to be handling it well, girlfriend. I don't know how you can manage to still draw right now but I love this little sketch.

  4. What a beautiful story, Laure. Thank you for allowing us to share some of your pain. Some of my furry children are at the rainbow bridge welcoming others. I'm sure they will enjoy getting to know your babies. Your picture is just perfect. People who care for animals and love them unconditionally are very close to being perfect. I'm glad you were able to give all of them your love and a wonderful life. Hugs.

  5. ...jeeez, Laure...your story was so heartfelt it brought tears to my eyes just imaging the scene. So sorry Andi is gone... I love your thought of the three pals starting an adventure of their own now.

    ...glad to hear your niece is doing much better.

  6. Laure, I'm so sorry that the meds didn't work for Andi. Heavy hearts here in Bluffton for you, Chris and Specky. Kitties must be missing Susie and Andi too. Love your rough l/o for the painting. It will have such healing power.

    It's good to hear your niece is doing well. Now.... peace and love. lots of love to surround you and yours.

  7. I read this and started to bawl. I had to go compose myself and come back to comment since we lost our Nikki, as you know, not long ago too. So sorry about your loses and so close together... but what a life you gave them. All second chances to a happy life. And so happy to hear about your Niece too. Love the drawing. It will make a wonderful painting.

  8. I am so sorry for your loss. But it is wonderful to read about the great home and second chance that you were able to provide for these lost souls. I know that you made there lives wonderful and I'm sure that they provided you with much joy.

  9. Such a touching post Laure, so sorry. Sounds like your little friends were very lucky indeed to have you in their lives.

  10. I just read this and the previous post and am so sorry you had to lose not only one, but two beloved pets in such a short space of time. We love these animals like children and I know it is very hard to see them go. I love your sketch with the thought that they are reunited again. I am also glad to hear that your niece is well now. How frightening that must have been! May things brighten up for you soon! And spoil that Specky :-)

  11. My thoughts and prayers are with you as well as a long distance hug. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of another one of your furry friends. It is wonderful that you were able to pick up a pen and do this sketch as you are grieving their passing. Your tale of the picture is a very touching story. This will make a wonderful painting, and I'd even suggest a mini-book to include the wonderful story as well.

    I'm glad to hear that your niece has recovered.

    Your family has been through so much. I wish for a sunnier path for all of you for the rest of 2012.

  12. it's good news about your niece, but to lose two beloved pets so close together is surely heartbreaking. I am very sorry to hear this today.

  13. I think the hardest thing about having pets is that we lose them all too soon. But how empty our lives would be without them. So sorry you've lost two in such a short time. Your sketch is precious and doing the painting shoud help you with you grief. Wonderful news about your niece.

  14. Oh Laure. I'm all chocked up, but nothing like what you are going through. It is obvious your four footed friends have been very fortunate to have ended up under your roof. Remember... they would happily lick your tear away now.

    And, thank heavens your niece is doing well.

    My thoughts are with you all.

  15. Oh my. Such sadness and loss for you right now. I can't believe you've been able to come up with such a cute picture in the midst of this. I am so happy though, that you took in all these lost dogs and given them a second chance. How lucky for them and you that your paths crossed when they did. Take care.

  16. I am so sorry for your loss.

    So glad your neice is doing better!!!

  17. You are having a rough time lately. I hope your NY sojourn is something that will take your mind off all this. Big hugs.

  18. Thank you for sharing your personal memories and stories. So many of us who have been touched and blessed by animal family members extend our compassion.
    I just finished a wonderful book by New York Times bestselling author, W.Bruce Cameron, "A Dog's Purpose". It may be too soon to pick up but...keep it mind for later.
    Your illustration is poignant.

  19. laure, i am so sorry to hear about all you have been going through. i too lost an abused rescue dog, so i feel for you. my own daughters have had those same seizures. i remember calling 911 and riding in the ambulance with one of them. the most terrifying experience ever! here's to a happy, healthy and creative 2012, when you are up to it! <3

  20. Those toddler seizures are awful scary!

    Love the story about your dogs and I'm sure they're all playing together somewhere over that bridge...but I know how sad you must be.

    Can't say much more - except I understand - as does everyone who loves animals

  21. I'm very sorry about your loss, Laure. I admire you tremendously for being able to turn your sorrow into such a lovely warm and soothing image. I'm certain that one of these days you'll turn it into a beautiful painting.

  22. Thank you all so very much for the kind words. It's not possible to explain the healing that comes from the warmth and care of your comments, but do know that each one is heart-felt by both Chris and I.

    We know Andi's in a better place as is Susie and Booger. We also know that life has a way of tugging us forward even when we wish to linger in our sorrow.

    Slowly, we're beginning to see our way forward. I thank you each for your help in our healing process.

  23. Okay, this made me cry. We've lost a beloved lab to cancer, and now have a rescue dog, Petey. He is 11, but still full of hi-jinks! He however doesn't do well with other dogs, just us! He's the smartest dog we've ever had (many!) but has been the most challenging as his temperament (probably stemming from abuse too) is very protective. We've spent a lot of time training him and folks love him. Our grand daughters too. Will be tough when he goes... my heart goes out to you and your hubby losing 2 family members so close together. Hope Specky adjusts or has her loneliness relieved soon. ;) Hugs, Laure. Katie K

  24. Our dogs are part of our family. We lost Pepper in November and now have a new little Jack Russell that is "in training" with our 6 year old JR. It is fun to watch the dynamics and play.
    Sorry for your loss!

  25. Oh my! It has been a challenging time for you. I am so sorry for your losses and happy your niece is doing better. I continue to see the great teacher in you. By sharing these thoughts and showing us your drawing, I see once again the power of our art to help us heal from whatever ails us. Thanks Laure and here's sending you positive thoughts.


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