Thursday, October 22, 2015

what I live for

A couple of months ago I was approached by a customer (Lili), who quickly became a friend, about making a ring for her inspired by her three dogs.  Hello!  This was made for me!  As we discussed the ideas for the piece she told me that one of her babies had TCC, the exact same cancer that Clarence had.  Over the next several messages I shared every up and down, every treatment, every food choice and holistic supplement, every. single. thing.  It was such a serendipitous thing that we found each other.  Of course I was even more attached to the project now.  I felt a connection with her and wanted to make her the most badass ring in the whole wide world.  Lili wanted me to incorporate their hair and she didn't mind going big.  Other than that she gave me free reign!  These are the projects I live for.  
Rings. Big Rings. Add in dogs. Done.
Making this ring was a joy.  I was all in from start to finish.  Her precious dogs, Zombie, Frakenstein, and Flower (cutest names ever) were blonde, black, and brown.  I ended up building a sterling silver half flower with a petal for each dog.  A blonde petal, a black petal, and a brown petal.  Each petal had the bit of dog hair and in the center I placed a mix of hair from all three dogs and then covered it with a vintage robins egg blue faceted glass cabochon.  The mix of hair is a little hidden secret, but Lili will always know that it's there.
Sadly, after a hard fought battle, sweet little Zombie passed away just a couple of weeks ago.    Having gone through such a similar fight with Clarence I was just crushed for Lili and her husband.  It is insanely hard to lose any of our babies, but somehow when you lose one mid battle it is more excruciating.  I don't know if I can articulate why...I think it just feels incomplete.  It feels like you were robbed.  I don't know if that makes sense.  Bottom line I suppose it doesn't really matter.  It always hurts.  It breaks our hearts every. single. time.  And we go back for more.  We go back for more because the love, the unconditional, unending love our dogs give us is worth every bit of the heartache.  And if I can make something for people to hold on to, to wear when their loved one is gone then that is an absolute honor.  These pieces are what I live for.  

Monday, September 28, 2015

beach discards series

It's that time of year when we all look up and say, "Where has the year gone?!?"  I actually have one foot steadfastly in the hope of Fall and one foot lingering in the vestiges of Summer.  Actually, the only thing tying me to the warmth of Summer are the memories of the three days we spent at the beach and wishing I could Samantha Stevens my way back there right now.  It was a pretty magical trip, not fancy, but perfect.  Slow mornings with coffee and a thick book, long, hot days on the beach, and sunburnt evenings playing cards with family.  My version of perfect.  

We kinda rushed to plan a beach trip this summer.  I think I was in denial that time was closing in on the kiddo leaving for college.  I just did not want to think about how we really had not done a very good job of cramming 18 years into the one and a half years that we've had her.  We literally had weeks left when we planned this trip - sweet girl had never seen the ocean!  

Our beach is a Texas beach, ie. unfancy.  We don't get big, lovely shells washed ashore fully intact.  We get pieces of shells mostly.  We get everything the ocean has churned and beat up and decided to finally let go of.  But there is still so much beauty in the parts that have been discarded.  We combed the beach each day and I came home with a rather lovely pile of what the ocean gave up.
As I dug through my little bag of treasures I thought how cool it would be to honor it in some way, to pair it with sterling silver and druzies and other stones and create my own little beach discards series.  Texas might not have the most traditionally beautiful beaches, but there is true beauty there, literally right at your feet.

I was so unready to leave when our short trip was over.  But it was nice to close our summer on a high note.  And when I walked off of the beach that last day all I had was a bag full of shells and the promise of what they could become...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

how a little red cotton ball changed my life.

If you know me at all you know that if I have the opportunity to make a short story long I'm gonna take it!  So let me start with the short story: Volunteer.  That's it.  It's good for your heart and soul.  That's the short story.
If you don't have time to read more you can stop right here.  Just volunteer.  Somewhere.
Here's the long story:
Way back in 1999 when Tom and I had just one dog (Seven) I decided we needed a Great Dane.  NEEDED.  Coincidentally Tom and I had each grown up with Danes and wouldn't it be so cool if we had one together now?!?  That was my thinking.  It shocks me now, but back then I started looking in the classifieds.  (wtf?)  I'm actually not sure what led me to start looking at rescue instead, but I did.  I guess maybe I believed, like a lot of people do, that: 
  1. if you want a pure bred dog you go to a breeder
  2. if you want a mutt you go to the pound.
We had adopted Seven from the Humane Society, but she was a mix breed (aka perfection!) so maybe I just thought, hell, I don't know what I thought.  I was young and dumb.
For some reason around this same time I subscribed to a local e-newsletter that had news about local rescue, dogs in need, etc. and in the process I learned about the overwhelming pet overpopulation problem.  It was kind of amazing, shocking really.  At the time Austin was killing thousands upon thousands of animals each year.  It was an eye-opener.  I thought I lived in this progressive city.  I thought Austin was cool, forward thinking, and way too hippy-dippy to ever be a city that was euthanizing more than 50 animals every DAY!  At that point I knew we would never ever buy a dog not ever not in a million billion years!  Instead, not only had I decided that if we were getting a Great Dane he would be adopted, but he has to be the most pitiful, needy Great Dane in existence. And by existence I mean drivable from Austin.  The closest Dane rescue group (yes, there was a Dane specific group...turns out there is a breed specific rescue for every single breed out there, and lots of 'em!), anyway, they had a Dane puppy that was deaf and blind in one eye.  Done!  Well, her foster family decided to keep her.  So...we adopted the second most pitiful dog they had, a 10 month old deaf boy we named Preacher.  And after the entire experience I knew I wanted to foster dogs...
A few months later we found a rescue group and that day we met the cutest little red cotton ball named Martin.  I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that our lives changed forever that day.  
Because of that red cotton ball (whose name quickly changed to Ozilline) Tom and I would spend well over a decade devoted to and emerged in dog rescue.  Because of that red cotton ball a few folks sat around my living room and formed Blue Dog Rescue.  Because of that red cotton ball I would have the honor of loving and being the person to Clarence, Pasqual, Vincent, Monkey, Clishy Marie, Veruca Jane, The Business Man, Horatio, Jessica Beatrice, Delta Dawn, and Angela Lansbury.  Because of that red cotton ball Tom and I would personally foster and essentially save the lives of more than 200 dogs over the course of 13 years.  Because of that red cotton ball I would make friends that I will have for the rest of my life.  Because of one, small three month old, red chow/golden retriever mix puppy my life would become infinitely better.
I had to say goodbye to that little red cotton ball a few days ago.  It broke my heart and left me reflecting on the day we met him and the turn our lives took after that day...You just never know what small (or large) choices you make will go on to influence your life.  Our decision to volunteer, although a seemingly small endeavor at the time, turned out to bring so much more love and positivity to our lives than we ever gave.  
So if I'm ever in the position of giving out life advice it will always be this: volunteer.  Just look at that cute red face I got to love - how can you argue with that?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Month long FUN!

For years I've had this idea...
it's not a new idea actually...
or even my own idea...
so me saying "I've had this idea" is totally wrong!
Lemme start over!!! 
So, I've been wanting to do this thing that was totally somebody else's idea!!
Lemme start over again.  Uggg.
There's this exercise I've been wanting to do for years.
There we go.
A lot of art workshops do it...Basically the premise of the exercise is to make one piece in one day for a certain number of days.  One painting, one ceramic piece, one metal piece - what ever your medium is you make one finished piece in one day usually over a designated number of days.  So say for one week, each day, you start and finish one piece.  I've never actually participated in a guided version of this but I've always wanted to try it.  I constantly have a million ideas jogging around in my brain, sometimes I sketch them out, sometimes I even turn them into an actual piece.  But more often than not they never make it out of my noggin.  Sometimes it's just because there are never ever ever ever ever ever enough hours in the day.  But sometimes, a lot of times, it's because I over think it.  Rarely do I think: oooh, it would be cool to make xyz!  And then go right in the studio and make xyz!  But how cool would that be!?!  Who knows what might come out when you don't let yourself get bogged down in the minutia of it all.
So I'm goin' for it!  I'm saying yes! to my own challenge and for the whole month of June I will make one new piece each day.  No real rules other than it has to be started and finished in that 24 hour period.
But now here's where YOU come in:
Each piece I make will be for sale the day after it's made and 100% of the proceeds will go to Blue Dog Rescue.  I'll post a photo of the piece on Instagram and on Facebook and will list it in my shop and from there you can snatch it up if you wanna!
I'm anticipating that the pieces may vary pretty widely.  By that I mean in metal, in time put in, in price range (which will be determined by the materials and time), in style, who knows...I just imagine the piece may be very different from day to day - since my goal is to challenge myself to new things!  I am allowing for the possibility of pulling out a few old tricks a couple of times over the course of the month.  I have a few days this month that are already pretty jammed (the kiddos's graduation, a quick turn around trip to Houston, the husbands birthday), so I may allow myself a little latitude on the "new ideas" rule on those days, but my goal is still to produce something new Every. Singe. Day.
Today is Day One!  So I am making something new today, I'll post it to the shop either late this evening or tomorrow morning, and so on and so on and so on...Items will be available in my etsy shop under the category: Blue Dog Fundraiser.  Each item will be available until it sells, but there will be just one of each item, so when it's gone, it's gone.
Ok!  Sound like fun?  I'm super excited for two reasons:
1.) I've been wanting to do this for ages and I'm finally just giving myself permission and saying, "no time is ever perfectly convenient.  You'll do the best you can.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  This could make you produce some cool work.  Go for it!"
2.) if things go well, I might be able to raise a nice little bit of money for an organization and a cause that I champion and that is very close to my heart.  A little more so these past few days...I'll explain that, and why I chose BDR to be the recipient for this little project, in a couple of days.
So, because of that last reason there, help me spread the word about my little project!  Tell your dog loving friends or you art-y friends, or anyone!  Let's raise some money for a worthy cause!
The fun starts tomorrow, June 2nd!  Well, for me the fun started today, but for you it starts tomorrow!!
Alrighty, I gots to git!  I don't have to to sit around chattin' it up with you, I've got things to do!
See ya!
"Miss Della Street"
"Mr Pink"

ps, the jewelry photos are just to give you an idea of the work I do.  Nothing's been made yet, so I can't really share any pictures now can I!
And the dogs?  Just some sweet faces we've fostered, that wouldn't be alive if it weren't for Blue Dog Rescue.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Our little Francy Pants

This is quite possibly very old news but...WE GOT A PUPPY!!!
The last three years have been hard in the dog and cat part of our lives.  To be specific we have lost eight in the the last three years.  Ugg.  All of our dogs are OLD.  We've actually been so lucky that all of our animals have lived to what many would consider and oldish age and most to very ripe old age...but as grateful as I am for that, it didn't make the losses, no matter how old, any easier.
Note to my early 20's self - even though you think keeping one or two pitiful foster dogs every year across a six year period SEEMS like their ages are staggered, they are, as a matter of fact, NOT!  They will all be old At. The. Same. Time.

We needed some young blood in the house.  And no matter how much my dogs disagree, we did!, we needed a puppy.  Like no one has ever needed a puppy.

We started quietly, subtly mentioning it here and there.  Each of us saying it in jest to see how the other responded.  It sorta seemed like we were on the same page.  And without saying it out loud I knew we both understood that when the time was right the right dog would present itself.

Enter the one pound six ounce scabby, patchy haired wonder to be named Francis.

So one day while mindlessly perusing the face books I see this midget of a dog.  His hair, the little he had, was spitting out in a million directions, he had these tiny nubbins for legs, and it took me about three and a half seconds to text Tom and say "can I have it?"
My precious friend Carey... well this is all her fault!  She works at this wonderful grass roots shelter/rescue called Grand Companions in West Texas and Francis-to-be had gotten him self thrown into the clink after having been found hiding under a bush right before the last snow.  Well Carey, being the same kinda animal sucker that I am, fell prey to Francis-to-be's charms and was keeping him in her office (did I leave out that she works at Grand Companions?).  So, long story short, she-posted-him-on-Facebook-I-fell-in-love-Tom-said-YES-and-SaintCarey-drove-Francis-to-be-to-me-that-night!  Six and a half hour drive! That night!  Did you catch the Saint Carey part?

So, that is how Francis came to be ours.  Our dogs couldn't be unhappier about it.  But they are all between 10 and 15 years old.  Shockingly they don't enjoy a puppy chewing on their ears or biting them in the back of the thigh while hot on their heels.  The Business Man in particular ... I heard a rumor that he's starting a My Idiot Brother Club (I've been told that if you share his dispassion for Francis you are welcome to join the club!) where he and any of the other dogs can discuss their grievances and plan how to oust Francis from the family.
Luckily Francis is blissfully unaware of their loathing and thinks their running from him is a fantastic game!  Francis does however, have a favorite.  I'm pretty sure he thinks Vincent is the cat's pajamas!  And really who wouldn't?!?  When you've got a jungle gym (climbing up one side of Vincent's back and sliding down the other), a chew toy (furry, moving, no batteries required, tail), a raw hide (Vincent's ear), and a back and head scratcher (the underside of Vincent's chin/jaw) wouldn't you be in hog heaven?!?!!!

It's been fun having a baby bugger around the house again.  Of course he is into all kinds of mischeif, but he's small, so it's small mischeif.  He's still in the play hard/crash hard phase.  He can be playing at full tilt and then I can pick him up and he will nap in my lap while I work!  Hammering, sawing, it doesn't matter - he's OUT!
Well, that's him in a nutshell!  The only thing left to tell is how he got his name...I think I'll save that for another post!  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

the scariest place on earth

There is no possible way for me to explain, convey, share, describe, depict, illustrate, portray, or in any way make you understand the sheer magnitude of...of...of...well......this place!
Let me back up a bit.  Before our last trip to New York one of my dear friends and fellow jewelers did a little recon to try to discover some possible hidden spots where we might find some great supplies - vintage cabochons, faceted stones, quirky cameos, stuff like that.  Well, did she find it and how!
You might think this is the store room.  It's not.  

This place!  There aren't enough words.  It started when the elevator doors opened and stuff literally spilled into the elevator.  I'm not kidding.  There was no lobby, no entry, no vestibule.  The everything of it all literally began in the elevator.
Backing up even a more.  In New York City space is one of the most valuable commodities.  Most every place is small.  The apartments are small, the restaurants are small, the bodegas are small, the shops are small...with the exception of some chain stores and restaurants, places are small.  Rent is high and space is coveted.  So when I was told that this place my friend had unearthed was 3,500sq feet I thought she had mistakenly added an extra zero.  
But she hadn't.  
It was 3,500sq. ft. and I'm guessing that that did not include the elevator.
Backing up even a bit more.  I don't do terribly well with overly packed spaces.  This might surprise any of you that have ever been to my house because I am a bit of a collector (just hair this side of hoarder!) of things and my house is not, what's the word, um...minimalist.  But when it comes to shopping I'm not very good at digging.  I don't do well in shops like TJ Max or Marshall's where it's just rows and rows of clothes that you have to methodically slide hangers one by one if you want to find anything.  Ugg, just describing it is raising my blood pressure.  So when the elevator doors opened and I saw...well, what I saw, I got weak kneed.  I got a little sweaty, my heart started to race.  I'm not kidding.  This place was no joke!
Let me try to set the scene:  3,500sq ft, boxes stacked 20 high and five to ten deep.  There were five rooms I think, it's a blur.  There were paths and hallways.  The hallways were stacked on either side with boxes and both the halls and paths were littered with the very supplies filling the boxes so everywhere you walked you were crunching over chain and stone.  At first I tried tiptoeing but it was futile so I gave up. 
This was literally what the pathway, if you could call it that, looked like through the entire place!
One room was the chain room.  I'm terrible with dimensions so I can't tell you the size, but it was a pretty big room.  It was wall to wall boxes, like all the other rooms, but in this room there was a clearing in the middle.  But let me be clear about the clearing!  It was somewhat clear of boxes but it was by no means clear-clear.  It was a ginourmous heap of chain.  On the floor.  Chain.  Tons upon tons upon tons of chain.  Imagine with me for a moment, close your eyes and think back on any time when you've gotten a tangle or a knot in one of your necklaces.  It's tiny and you are squinting at it and taking a stick pin to it to try to work out the knot and it is frustrating to no end.  Ok, now imagine that times five hundred and seventy three billion.  There.  You now have the floor of the chain room there at the-jewelry-supply-shop-created- to-drive-me-to-insanity.
That smile, the one there on my face, that is a manic smile, utter delirium had fully set in.
I think I can best describe my mental state by sharing a photo and caption that my dear, sweet, amazing husband, who endured this experience with me for three hours, posted on his Instagram:
"Melt down in 3, 2, 1..."
I think I was saying "uh, uh, umm, uh, uh..." or something akin to that.

Prior to the trip I was describing what I had heard about this place (no description prepared me) to another jeweler friend and she was telling my how I should systematically attack the place. It was a good plan.  It was a plan I was prepared to employ...until those elevator doors slid open and I began rocking back and forth in a ball in the corner.

Believe it or not I've barely scraped the surface of what this experience was...I haven't told you about the speed tour/instruction (which I actually thoroughly enjoyed!) given by the very tall drag queen who said, in a nut shell "don't bother me!"  Or about how once I had my pile of treasures I was told that I "obviously hadn't looked at all because you have missed everything you said you have come for!"
This is what the insides of LOTS of the boxes looked like.  Bags inside bags inside bags.  Overwhelming doesn't come close.  It's what overwhelming would look like on steroids for 10 years.
And did I mention that The Business Man was with us on this little adventure?  
I'm considering using this as the cover shot for his new book: Where's The Business Man?
In those crazy three hours I did find some absolute gems and I cannot wait to begin sharing what I've transformed my finds into...
like these earrings:
I found these wonderful neon orange cabs at the heart of insanity.
In fact I found so many wonderful things that I've been inspired to do another fun goodie box giveaway!  It's been nearly two years since the last one and it was so much fun!  I had every intention of doing them more frequently but time flies when you've been sucked into the heart of insanity!  So, I will be creating a piece using one or more of the items I unearthed, I will post photos, I will announce the terms of the giveaway, and we will get to giving!  Look for more info coming in early May.  If you missed my last goodie box giveaway you should check it out here.  It was fun!  I'm pretty much an expert at goodie box assemblage!  Stay tuned...

Friday, February 27, 2015

kicked to the curb, vol. 2

This was the second time I landed in NYC in the weeks following Christmas.  No matter where you go in the city, uptown, downtown, east, west, Brooklyn, Manhattan, on every street there are the carcass's of people's Christmas trees.  I am utterly fascinated by it.  This is the second time I've tried to do a little photo tribute to these discarded trees whose job has come and gone.  I don't think it will ever stop being interesting to me.  It probably speaks to the bigger picture of why I am so mesmerized by this city.  It is just such a different way of life, from the transportation to the grocery shopping, from walking your dog to the home you live in,  from the food to the way you trash your Christmas tree. Living in New York City is subways and bodegas, it's dog parks and apartments, it's every food at any hour of the day.  And in January it is piles upon piles of green trees on every block, in front of restaurants, brownstones, and the most couture shops in the city.
And I love it.  
It makes me sad and happy.  
I love imagining every one of those trees lit, tinseled, and ornamented in the tiniest apartment in the city and in the fanciest store on Park Avenue.               
Some of these trees balsam beauties still smell so strong of makes me wonder why it's people didn't decide to leave it up for just a day or two longer.  I always have such a hard time taking down my tree..Every single year I somehow manage to get emotionally attached to our tree.  It's like the couch my grandmother sold when I was five years old.  I bawled as I watched the men carry it out of the house.  I only regained my composure when my Nana brought be all the change that had been discovered in the cushions.  Or the time I sold my car and then regretted it and went as laid across the hood, the dealership lot.  I have a history of attachment to inanimate objects.  
Seeing these trees is something I oddly look forward to when I'm in the city in January.  
Even though it's a sad kind of beauty, 
it's still beauty.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

a dingo and a pig...

On Tuesday November 25th, two days before Thanksgiving, I had to say goodbye to two of my babies.  I think I'm still in shock.  Even now.  Even nearly two months in.  I don't think it's fully hit me.  Everything was so chaotic around the holidays, Thanksgiving, setting up shows, doing shows, Christmas, travel...I was blissfully distracted.  But now I'm not and I feel like if I fully understood it that I wouldn't be vertical right now.
It's been coming.  Seven turned 17 in October, Pasqual would have been 16 in January.  These two stayed with me, with us, probably as long as they could.  Ultimately we made the decision for them, which was the hardest, hardest part.  And I say "probably" because I have that little voice in my head that says "did I do it too soon? Was it wrong?"  I will always have that.  I can't help but constantly wonder if they would still be with me now if we hadn't decided and I get mad at myself because I think "I could be hugging you right now."  But then I think I did right, that they were struggling.  And so it goes, back and forth...
I feel gutted.
I really just cannot fully understand that it came to this...

Saying goodbye to Seven was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  Except for accepting that she is gone.  That is harder.
She's been with me for almost my entire adult life.  I was only 26 when we adopted her.  We weren't married, we had a little rental house with two cats, and I was working at Pottery Barn. 
 So much changed and she was there for all of it.  She saw hundreds (literally) of foster dogs come and go.  She begrudgingly accepted the addition of three cats and 13 dogs along the way.  She was with us for the loss of Daisy and Suki,  the only ones who came before her, and for the loss of Preacher, Delta, Clarence, Clishy, and Berklie who all came after her.  I honestly feel like I do not know how to live my life without her.  She was a constant.  A strong, almost stoic, constant.  She was tough, stubborn as all hell, not even a little bit apologetic, demanded everything on her terms...and even though it completely contradicted her entire personality, she was chock full of kisses.  Tom getting home from work was the highlight of her day.  Her ears would go back and her tail would wag and she would kiss his face with a vigor no one could rival.  The evening before she had to go Tom walked through that door and even in her wheels she couldn't contain her excitement.  I can't imagine how hard it was for him to come home from work that first day after she was gone...
I can't explain it, but the world doesn't feel right without her here...I don't know how to explain it except that if feels like someone cut off my right arm, like a part of me is missing.  In the small parts of the day where I lose track of what's happened I still have this strange feeling that part of me is missing.  And then I remember...

In October of 2000 Tom and I were in the market for a new foster dog.  We trotted down to the local rural shelter and met a few dogs.  I wanted  to take a two year old Heartworms positive boxer.  Tom wanted to take a one year old pit bull named Conan.  Tom won.
But in the long run Tom was far from the only winner... Conan quickly became Pasqual and as quickly as he changed names he won over the hearts of everyone he met.  He was the first pit bull to Grace our little rescue group and he broke stereotypes right and left.  Soon nearly every foster family in Blue Dog was not only fostering pit bulls, most of them ended up adopting one of their own.  When we had dogs who needed to be tested to see if they got along with other dogs, they came to meet Pasqual.  He was perfect.  Even keeled and calm.  He wasn't submissive and he wasn't dominant.  All of our little dogs bossed him around, even the cats could tell that big ole lug what to do.  Poor boy had scars on his face that probably led a few folks to think he'd been fought, but in fact the scars were from Clarence blighting his face as he ran out the door.  He could've eaten Clarence whole but instead he would just cry and look at us begging for help.
If I could've I would have introduced Pasqual to every pit bull naysayer in the world!  He was handsome and friendly, a love bug like you wouldn't believe, and he never met a stranger.
In the last year my handsome man developed dementia.  He started to get confused, would get stuck under the it got worse he could get stuck just in the corner of a room.  The other dogs made him nervous so we had to give him Xanax just to keep him from being upset.  It was easy to put off worrying about him because he wasn't "sick".  It took my little brother sitting me down and saying "Laura, it's time.  This isn't fair to him."  
I sat with him on his dog bed in his favorite spot in the living room, his head in my lap.  I felt him get really heavy when the injection went was so fast, but very peaceful.  It felt surreal.  His personality was bigger than life.  To have it leave so quietly, it was so different than how he lived...such a bull in a china shop.  He barreled through life with tenacity, fervor, and boundless love, always coming at it with full force...
I lost the yin and the yang of my house.  The polar opposites on the personality spectrum. 
It has left our house unbearably quiet.  
Unbearably still. 
 There are pill bottles and empty bowls.  Feeding time is fast. Seven's wheels are just sitting there.  I can't move them, I can't look at them...  Everything feels different. 
How can two dogs change my life so much?

Seven and Piggy,
I miss you.  Sometimes the ache feels like its gonna swallow me.  But it's all just sadness, there's no anger.  You both gave me every last minute you had to give.  I don't feel cheated, I feel grateful.  It tough though, you were here so long that you became part of the fabric of who I am and I have a hard time knowing how to be without you here.  
I miss the distinct sound of your barks, the sound your collars made as you moved through the house. Seven, I miss the demanding way you would let me know that there was something that needed my immediate attention.  I miss the way you would almost hop when you got excited, like dinner time or running through the yard.  Your yard.  No matter how many dogs come and go that will always and forever be YOUR yard.  I'll never forget how excited you were the day we first brought you to this house and you saw that yard.  I think it was as close as a dog could get to a kid on Christmas morning!  
Piggy, I miss your kisses so much.  I miss that flat, pink piggy nose snorting at me when you gave your kisses!  You did everything with great tenacity and force.  Some dogs live quietly in our house - you did not!  You barreled through every move and that makes your absence so palpable...
Making the choice to let you both go might have been the hardest decision I've ever made.  I still have times where I wish I would have been selfish a little longer and kept you with me even though I know that each passing day was harder and harder for you...  I think your bravery is what gave us the courage to be able to finally know it was time.
I love you both so much.  I miss you every day, every minute of every day.  My world is far too quiet now.  Hoping, believing that I will see you again is the only thing that keeps me going...
Go find Preacher and Clarence, find things to bark at and people to kiss.  Stay together, have fun, just don't go too far, when it's my time I expect you to rush the door, barking all the way.
all my love,
your mom