Posts tagged ‘Springer Spaniel’
My Anna Banana, my best (canine) friend for the past 15 (or 16 … so old we have lost track) years, is getting old. Well, who am I kidding – she’s been old for at least 5 years now. But recently, well, the age is showing in more than just the gray muzzle on her face.
Arthritis has taken over her legs, and some days she can hardly walk. Her legs give out on her. She doesn’t even attempt to get up with out much prodding. She is not very interested in food. And, as much as it absolutely pains me to say so … I am afraid the end is near.
As a result, there has been a concentrated effort to take more photos of her recently. We’ve taken photos throughout her life, but as the end of life nears the necessity of capturing her sweet face is top of the mind.
You may have noticed, if you have been to my blog before … that calling me a dog person would be an understatement. Our dogs are our kids (for now) and loved to pieces. And although I vow to not choose favorites among our kids, when the time comes, Anna is my favorite. The other dogs can move into this position when they have been in my life for as long. My mom and I brought home Anna in 3rd (or was it 4th?) grade. Anna cried the whole ride home, with the stressful cry that only new puppies have as they are separated from their moms. In my infinite wisdom as a 3rd grader, I was convinced I knew the cure – singing her songs from the Lion King. Mom drove us home, me in the backseat holding the 8 pound puppy, rocking her like a baby and singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
Anna was such a chicken when we first brought her home, hiding in terror from our Scottish Terrier, Maggie. (This changed quickly as soon as she realized, a few months later, that she was much larger than Maggie.) My parents let me take the day off school to stay home with the puppy. She had cried all night and no one had slept much, but it was heaven – a whole day off school and a brand new puppy to play with. She hid under my robe at the slightest interest demonstrated by Maggie. It was a day of cuddles and laughs and puppy kisses/breath … heaven.
Anna is truly an outstanding family dog. In her younger years, she was always up to playing out in the snow with me, long walks in the woods, tolerated my uneducated attempt at agility training, happily slept on my bed since I was 10, was there for me through my parents’ divorce and breakups with boyfriends and fights with friends. Anna is a dog who loves all but has a favorite – and it’s me. I thought she would never forgive me when I went to college, and the thing that made me most homesick in college was leaving her behind. When I would visit home, she would immediately jump on my lap and refuse to move, as if she were forcing me to stay put and not return. I would whisper in her ear that as soon as I could find an apartment that let me have her, she could come and live with me. I was worried, as she was old even then, that she wouldn’t make it until that became true.
Alas, it’s hard to find an apartment that lets you have a dog that weighs more than 40 pounds. So in September of 2007, just a bit over 4 years after leaving for college, I bought my first house. Right around Halloween of that year, Anna came to live with me. All was right with the world.
Anna is the dog by which all future dogs will be judged. A sweet, gentle, protective soul. An amazing family dog. Tolerant of all people and puppies brought into her life. My best friend for more than half of my life. My constant companion when I was young, the anchor through my teenage years, the beacon calling me home through college, and the grounding force in our household.
There are two animals in this house that are quite happy I have been feeling under the weather.
Netta, the Cairn, has been permanently encamped at my feet on the couch.
Now that my mom has received her Valentine’s Day gift in the mail, I can share one of my weekend projects with you.
The idea for this gift came from – where else – Martha Stewart’s Web site. You can see it here. I did a few alterations to the directions that I will go over. I have made these necklaces before in blues and greens, and wanted to do some Valentine-friendly colors this time around.
My kind husband was nice enough to document the process by using the photo feature on my video camera. We will never do this again – the quality is terrible. So, I took pics of the finished product with my Canon Digital Rebel and the results were much better.
Here is a sampling of the basic supplies you need:
After you have assembled your supplies, pick a color safe bowl and fill with warm water. Add Rit dye until you achieve a color you really like. I used about 1/2 a box to about 12 cups of water. The less color you use, the lighter the beads will be and the longer the dye process will take.
Throw in wooden beads, and stir constantly with a color-safe spoon to make sure beads are rotating and all sides are getting dyed. When they are the color you are aiming for, remove with a small strainer and lay on a thick layer of paper towels to dry overnight. Beads will get darker within a few minutes of removing, and will lighten a bit when completely dry. A general rule of thumb – which differs from what Martha Stewart’s site says – is that the beads will dry darker overall than the color they are when you remove them from the dye. So, take them out just before they reach the color you are aiming for. You can always redye later.
Our Springer Spaniel Anna was unenthused by the whole process.
The next day, when the beads are dry, string them on your chosen medium. I chose a variety of colors of very thin satin ribbon in contrasting colors. I figured out the length I wanted the finished ribbon to be first, cut it, and then strung enough beads to cover about 2/3 of the length of ribbon. Center the beads in the middle, and tie knots on either side of the beads to keep the beads from sliding too far. On Martha Stewart’s site, the beads go all the way around and to the back, but I find the necklaces don’t lay as well if there are big bulky beads around your neck. Once your knots are tied on either side of your string of beads, tie toggle clasps on to the end of each side of the ribbon, and voila! You have necklace.
Finished necklaces, taken with a much better camera: