Friday, March 17, 2023

A Difficult Goodbye

Plein air painting in central Pennsylvania

Earlier this week, my husband and I said goodbye to our beloved dog of nearly twelve years, Maple.

While still a puppy, Maple was abandoned to an almost certain death in the woods of central Pennsylvania until she was found by a good samaritan who brought her to an animal shelter. Even when we adopted her months later, you could still count every rib on her because she was so malnourished. 

Staking a claim to the map of the world and my world

With that rough start, Maple was severely under socialized when we brought her home. She was afraid of her own shadow, birds, and had a difficult time understanding rainfall. She was extremely anxious. Multiple remote controls, ball point pens, wooden furniture, and more fell victim to her compulsive chewing. 

Lounging in the studio, behind my easel

I didn't think she could grow into a worthy pet and companion. Indeed, some of the worst fights my husband and I ever had in our nearly 22-year marriage were about "that dog," who would often dart into my art studio, grab a colorful pastel stick, and then streak down the hallway, trailing nasty drool stained the same color as the pastel stick. 

Keeping a watchful eye on me while
plein air painting 

Maple taught me patience. She taught my humility. And she taught me that dogs are absolutely amazing. Within a couple of years, she became a wonderful companion, and I always felt at ease having her by my side on remote woodland hikes or plein air painting excursions. She became my beautiful studio mascot, and frequently kept me company while I worked long, solitary hours in my studio. 

The void in our home now is immense, exceeded only by the hole in my heart. We'll eventually adopt her successor. But for now, please give your own pet an extra measure of affection today in honor of Maple, whom I will always miss.