Dog Children and Grieving

Today is the first day that I have been able to sit down and type this.

On Monday, January 30, 2023, our beloved Chloe moved on to the Rainbow Bridge. John and I are still trying to make sense of this. One day she was normal and the next, we’re saying good-bye. She was only 12. Chihuahuas can live much longer than that.

Chloe was a spunky Chihuahua that we had since she was two months old. John and I had been married a little over a year and Chloe was our first “We” dog. She was so tiny but she had such a huge personality. She let us know from the beginning that she was a little Princess but she was also fragile and vulnerable and needed us for love and comfort,

Portrait of Chloe the Chihuahua.  Lavender background with fawn colored dog, pink collar looking off to the left

When you take a dog or cat into your life, and fall in love with them. You know from the first day, that you have to make ALL of the days count. When we are younger and have families, we sometimes forget this and miss bonding opportunities with the four legged family members. We forget in the chaos of life that our four legged friends are only here for so short of a time. But they wait patiently and unconditionally for that love and attention. We take them into our lives, knowing that we’ll have good times, and then we have to make the hard choices for when they become terminally ill. When you bring a dog into your life, you “sign up” for the whole enchilada; the beginning, as well as the end.

Fortunately, Chloe had the best life ever for a dog. We could work from home. There was always someone home because we also shared our former home with my husband’s parents, who lived downstairs. If John and I went out, there was Nanny and Pop pop downstairs. Two of our daughters were still living at home so Chloe always received a lot of attention.

When we traveled, many times, Chloe came with us. She was smuggled into places like Panera and fancy Italian restaurants. She watched her “daddy” drive his racehorses from the backstretch at Monticello. She’s been to the beaches of New Jersey, Virginia and Florida. She rode on a bike in Cape May, helped with horseshoe crabs on the Delaware Bay. She rode the Cape May ferry and even flew on an airplane. She’s been to Chincoteague and many hotels too countless to mention, She even traveled to Key West.

Scientists say that dogs have a limited vocabulary. That’s a bunch of BS. They didn’t know Chloe. She knew every meal related word, she knew our names, she understood so many words and when some words got too well known, we started to spell them and she figured those out, too. She would stand in the kitchen, look at us then up at where her food and treats were kept, and then back at us. “Hello, Human, feed me,” her eyes would say. When we didn’t react quickly enough, there was a sharp bark to keep us in line until the humans were trained better than she was.

She had a daily schedule and we were trained to stay on it. In case we would forget, we would get pre warning alerts. Especially for meals. We would crack up with the pre meal alerts.

She would stay, sleeping in our bed until SHE was ready to get up, then I could make the bed. She and her half brother Mack (who came into our lives a little later) had a doggie door so they could go in and out whenever they wanted to. Chloe was trained to go potty on command and then we were trained to give her a treat after she went potty. (My daughter swears that Chloe would “fake Pee” to get a treat.)

When we moved to Florida and she didn’t have a doggie door, she would walk to the door and announce that she had to go out. Usually this happened when an episode of our favorite shows were on and when we just at down to veg for the night. Chloe had a bewitching hour around 8PM where she wanted to play and move around.

She was healthy and her passing was like having the rug pulled out from under us. She was fine over the weekend. The only bad thing that had happened was that she fell down stairs back in November but she seemed ok. She had a nice Christmas. During January we noticed a cough. We called the vet to have her checked and we mentioned the fall but there appeared to be no ill effects from it. However, from that vet visit on a Tuesday, to a second visit on Thursday, to another visit on Saturday and then off to the pet ER that same day, she went from a cough to the tough decision of doing the most humane thing for her.

Her last day, we took her home, and spent the day with her. We took her for a car ride. Gave her whatever she wanted to eat, although the growth surrounding her trachea made it difficult to eat hard food. The tumor in her brain was killing her as well. We held her and loved her and kissed her and in the hour before the end, we took her to the park so she could see the squirrels one last time and then she was gone.

It’s been one two weeks and we are still in shock. We are still adjusting to life without her. We didn’t realize how big of an impact she did have until she was gone. There was no one to remind us to feed Mack. No one to wake us up early in the morning. No Chloe to keep us on schedule. No yips or yaps. No gentle snoring from under my desk when I work. No more cuddling her in bed at night. It took me a week to be able to sleep without her snores. No little doggie sleeping in the living room. It’s so quiet now.

Mack has had to adjust to a life of being without another dog in the house. He’s spent his whole life with Chloe, going from his biological family to Chloe. He used to drag Chloe, bed and all, across the floor just to annoy her or to try to get her to play with him. He used to lay in her pretty floral bed just to annoy her. He won’t go near her bed now. He comes in now and grumbles when it’s meal time. But he doesn’t sleep at my feet and I miss that so much.

The French call pets “l’animal de compagnie.” I think they have it correct. Dogs aren’t pets. They are companions and our dog children.

Don’t forget to hug your ‘animal de compagnie’ today and every day because each day you have them is a blessing in disguise.

Mixed Media/Collage

Well, it turns out that the Inchie challenge was only 11 days, not 12. I was surprised when I pulled up emails Saturday morning and there was no prompt. Well that was a bummer because the Inchie challenge was fun. I’ll probably keep 2×2 squares with me to work on when I am out of the house. They would make cool thumbnail squares and I have plenty of art that I haven’t posted yet.

That being said…

Several years ago, before Teesha Moore had her stroke, I was a member of Teesha’s Artstronauts Club. I really miss that club. It was chock full of mixed media collage (MM/Collage) goodness. I started a few mixed media collage sketchbooks that I still have to finish. Some morphed into my Zombie doll Sketchbooks and my creepy portrait sketchbooks that I did finish. I never really thought of myself as a collage artist until I took a few of Carla Sonheim’s classes and things started to click. I have been playing with patterns, lettering and other techniques that gave me the skills I need to finish some of these unfinished sketchbooks.

Most of my MM/ collage sketchbooks are home made and hand stitched so that they would could be a specific shape or size and they have a theme. Most have a limited amount of pages which makes the project easy to finish.

This sketchbook is a mixture of cut collage from pretty much anything; some collage is home made from paint drips and such. I used Teesha Moore’s “Amazing 16 Page Journal” format. It’s a full sheet of 30 x 22 hot or cold press Fabriano watercolor paper that’s cut into 3 10×22 pieces and are folded into pages and stitched to create the 16 page sketchbook. On my mixed media pages I use paint markers and gel pens, fortune cookie fortunes, cut out lettering and quotes, basically a miss mosh of pieces assembled to make a whole page.

This has been in my “to do” pile a long time and I and finally posting some of these pages. The page size is 8×10 and the excess wasn’t trimmed, it is a flap that became a design of it’s own on one side and on the other it was part of a full page spread. I had a ton of chihuahuas from a 365 desk calendar that I save and used in various art projects. Lots of paint marker embellishments.

8x10 Mixed media collage sketchbook page using various bits and scraps of collage.  Chihuahuas, old ticket stubs, embellishments with paint markers. The Chihuahua heads were added to "bodies."
Pages 2/3 Mixed media collage
8x10 Mixed media collage sketchbook page with lavender background  using various bits and scraps of collage.  Chihuahuas,  embellishments with paint markers.
Page/Flap 1 Mixed Media Collage

Live Critter Sunday

The “posse” came up to my desk and gave me the “eye.” They also smacked my legs. I have no idea what they wanted because they already had their dinner. I got down on the floor beside them to play with them. Then John and I took them for a walk which seemed to make them happy. They came into the house and took a nap after that.

Live critter Sunday

I have so many photos of real animals, especially of Chloe and Mack, that I think I’ll make Sundays a real creature day.

Today’s photo is of Mack. He’s hiding under the end table because Chloe and Mack needed baths. Chloe went first so Mack ran for cover.

“I don’t think they’ll find me here.”

Friendly Faces Day 27

Today’s prompt is “bashful” and I thought Chloe needed a turn since Mack’s portrait was done last week.

Chloe doesn’t like to be photographed. As soon as she sees a cell phone she closes her eyes or looks away, lol.

Friendly Faces Day 19

Happy Memorial Day!

Today’s prompt is Pet’s face. I was going to sketch Chloe and Mack together, but it’s a small sketchbook and I would have to squeeze both on a 5×5 page, so I opted to do Mack this time. I’ll do a Sketch of Chloe later.

This is Mack just before his summer trim. Mack is a long haired Chihuahua and is the half brother to Chloe, who is a smooth coat Chihuahua. They share the same mother.

AEDM Day 16 – Watch dog FAIL

Last night, I opened a window a bit to let in fresh air. John, Chloe and Mack were in a coma. Chloe’s snores are pretty loud…Mack is still have sinus trouble poor thing….

Around midnight….

That sketch pretty much sums it up. The howls were very disconcerting. There is something primal about how we reacted. I love wildlife of all types and I am all for living harmoniously. That was the first time I heard coyotes in the dark and it took me off guard. The neighbors told us coyotes lived in the area. And bobcats. Oh. and a Florida panther is in the area, too. Even as I write this I am listening. Yesterday people put their trash out so they were probably doing a trash raid and the raccoons will get blamed for it.

Alligators? Hell yeah, seen those plenty of times. It’s Florida, you assume every body of water had one. We see them all time. Even on the Florida turnpike.

Turning in for the night with ears open.

Sketchbook fun

It was a wet stormy day the other on Independence Day. Usually we get hit by a passing storm in the evening. Sometimes we just get “heat lightning.” Other days we get the whole kickass “boom- booms- light- show” and then no rain at all.

On Independence Day, we got the whole show and we kept our fingers crossed that it would wash out the neighborhood armageddon of fireworks. It didn’t, but gratefully it wasn’t as bad down here as it was when we lived on Long Island.

Chloe and Mack do not like “boom boom’s” of any type. Chloe shivers the whole time and if a thunderstorm happens during the weekday, either John or myself get a Chubby Chi cemented to our lap. Mack barks at them as if that actually would make them go away. Doesn’t work. Don’t tell Mack. He thinks he does a great job protecting the realm.

This has been a difficult time for us and we know we are not alone. We are doing the best we can and trying to be smart about when we leave the house. We stick to a routine of working from home (my temp studio is in the garage) and around 4:30-ish we make dinner. After dinner we might take a ride to sit by the Indian River or the beach (it’s usually empty later) and sit until sunset. Sometimes we take Chloe and Mack. We have our daily routine, with or without rain.

Below is a page out of my sketchbook. The furred babies would not be happy to be out in the rain. Although Chloe does appreciate umbrellas. Mack could care, wet is wet. He’s a pig, he’d roll in the mud if we weren’t watching him.

Last but not least….

Here are the last three doggies of the book. It was a wonderful project and I truly enjoyed it so much that I am looking for another tiny project. Though I am looking to get or make books where the pages don’t chop my image in half. The PAGE size was 2.33 x 1.66 and that’s small.

A reminder that the book is at the Brooklyn Art Library in Brooklyn. You will be able to check this one and last year’s out similar to a library. I also have regular sized ones there as well but I think the two tiny ones were my best. You can go to for more information.

Chloe is the finale image. We got Chloe several months after Troy, our beloved Min Pin passed away at 16. Troy was a good and loyal dog. Chloe picked us. I wasn’t looking for Chihuahua. We were looking for a Papillon. I picked up Chloe and she snuggled up under my chin and let this sigh of “please don’t leave me” and she came home with us. She is 9 and still snuggles into my chin when she needs comforting.

“Paris a la Frida Kahlo” Reference photo courtesy of Marian Glaser on the Sktchy App

Mack is Chloe’s long haired half brother. He came to us knocking over things like doggie gates and earned his name because he was a tiny, tough, furry truck. Hence Mack. Mack is a badass until we start cooking things in a frying pan. He’ll disappear and bark from the back yard. We laugh and say he’s yelling “Fire! Fire! Fire!” Idiot would be out there in a snow storm and we’d have to go get him. Not the brightest bulb in the box but his loyalty is without question.

We love both and they are our dog children. I am glad many of you enjoyed this sketchbook.

The last Mackie of the book
Chloe – Finale