blog posts

Dog hugs couldn’t fix everything

Whenever he did not feel good or was afraid of thunder or a flying insect, Nemo would come running to me for a dog hug. If I didn’t feel well or he sensed I was upset, he came and offered a dog hug.

On Friday, we started out for our usual walk to the boat and got to the end of the driveway when he stopped. I asked him what was the matter, and he told me with his eyes that he suddenly didn’t feel well. So we went back in the house and he drank a bunch of water, then went down the hall and flopped onto the floor by his favourite air vent. His breathing was a bit more than a pant, so being the devoted human, I turned down the A/C for him since it’s his first love.
A few hours later after he made several unsuccessful attempts to get up, I had been down on the floor with him and realized it was more than just heat getting to him. His legs were weak and attempts to stand exhausted him. He clung to me and offered dog kisses as I tried to comfort him.

While my mother was on the phone with the emergency vet, Eenie Meenie My Nemo, The Chosen One, looked at me with panic-stricken eyes, panting more pronounced, hair suddenly standing up on his back, and mouth open as I desperately clung to him and cooed every comfort word he knew. It was our last dog hug.

Nemo passed away in my hands as I stroked his head and velvet ears and realized his breathing stopped. I’m still choked up and crying about losing my dog child. He had just had a physical and removal of a lump on his lip three weeks ago. The vet indicated he had no signs of heart or blood trouble, yet the symptoms he exhibited in his last few hours were those of dog heart failure.

My Nemo was born almost into my hands after I rescued his pregnant mama, chose to stay with me when at four weeks he discovered the Holy A/C Vent, spent his life as My Dog, and left this world embraced by me and the coldest air vent in the house – his two favourite things.

For most of his life, he outweighed me. That’s how big a chunk out of myself is missing right now. Although I hugged and cuddled him continuously until his last breath, this was the first time that a dog hug didn’t cure all. That is a paradigm shift in my world and will take a long, long time to heal. Because the one thing that would make me feel better is the one thing I’ll never get again: a dog hug from Nemo.

What’s in a name?

I know that I haven’t been very active online in the past two years since going through chemo. It wiped me out and getting back up and to my memory of “normal” has been a long haul. Talk about the cure being worse than the disease.

In the meantime, I have been the victim of a few attempts of identity theft, all of which, thankfully, have been thwarted. Seriously. My name and my business name are obviously so incredibly in demand that people will stoop to new lows to try and claim to be me. You’d think I’d won the PowerBall or something. Smh. Good thing I am well connected with some awesome lawyer friends in a few states and the treasury department.

In the meantime, I do have some pictures I want to post of Nemo helping me at work, because, after all, isn’t that what everyone really wants to see more of anyway: my Big Black Dog?

Doodle sketches

I did some drawings to go on the back of the activity/word search pages we put out each weekend at the church. The original idea was that there would be a coloring page for any kids who come, but also a difficult enough word search that the adults would enjoy it as well. These are a few of the church doodles.

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Post Hurricane Irma

It was our first hurricane to live through in Florida and it was stressful, to say the least. Nemo and the gang also felt the stress. Thankfully, we sustained no damage to the house or boat, but we lost a lot of pieces of trees. Since some lost a whole lot more, we have nothing to complain about. Power came back up within a few days and after a week, we needed some relax time. Since he’s not overly fond of being actually ON the boat, he’s very happy to chill at a dock party.

Happy birthday, Shermie

Remembering Shermie on his birthday today. The Sherminator was my original Big Black “Dog” when I first started pet portraits. He would come when called like one of the dogs. Better than the dogs, actually. Philphil trained him well.

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Paint and Sip class – Winter in Florida

Paint & Sip with BigBlackDogStudio at Grand Bay Mobile Home Park’s Club House: Wednesday, December 7 from 7-9pm. Door opens at 6:30 (arrive no later than 6:45 to claim your seat and get settled).

Painting: “Winter in Florida” – Monochromatic study background—you choose your main colour (see samples in photo). On top, we layer on bokeh style bubbles or lights and dangle decorative beads. And since this is Florida and nearing the holidays, our featured ornament is a stylized orange.

Samples shown are a grouping of three oranges or one large ornament, eh, orange.

BYOB, adult party. Feel free to bring snacks. Please RSVP to hold your seat. Must arrive no later than 6:45 to claim your spot, otherwise, seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Looking forward to this fun night with you!

Your background can be any base colour. Some possibilities are……

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Finished Orange Grove mural

Finished up the Orange Grove storefront mural at SJ’s International Food Market at 1108 Overcash Drive in Dunedin, Florida over Thanksgiving weekend.This area of town used to be part of a large orange grove back in the day. Dunedin is known as a very walkable and bike-able town, hence the nod to the  antique bike with market baskets. The town is also the spring training base for the Toronto Blue Jays. Since SJ’s IFM is family owned and operated, the Blue Jay are represented as a family of birds. The faux wood signs pointing around the corner to the patio with picnic benches and herb garden tie in to the recycled pallets used for the fresh herbs the store’s owner, Som, uses in her fresh Thai cuisine made to order and available for dining in or taking out. Find them on Facebook or @SJSINTERNATIONALMARKET.

65 painting hours went into laying down multiple primer layers for a thick, almost vinyl-like base, followed by the actual mural painting, then finished up with multiple layers of clear polyacrylic to protect the design from scratches and curious fingernails. Here are some highlights of the design, including the antique bicycle, faux wood signs and a Blue Jay family.

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Starting new mural

SJ International Food Market has opened in Dunedin, Florida and the owner, Som, has asked me to paint a mural on the front windows. There is an orange grove going across the entire front and then a few other key focal points. I had painted the windows of her other business two years ago. Was working this past week on the antique bicycle and filling up the market baskets, adding metallics and glitter. Progress shot to date:

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Diva flashback

Oh my goodness. One of the annoying things about having gone through being the recipient of toxic chemicals being pumped directly into your heart (aka chemotherapy) is the memory loss, or rather memory vagueness of my past self. I mean, I can still sit down and type 99 words per minute and Grammar Cop the heck out of anything written, but remembering that I used to sing in a three octave range is sketchy.

Don’t remember what I started looking for on YouTube, but one of my old videos popped up in the search section, which then reminded me I had an old Caffeinated Music YT page (formerly under suzysunshineobx) with music videos I had done to either post songs I liked whilst playing with MovieMaker or to teach my past choirs songs we needed to learn. Anyway. I came across this Mozart piece that I have sung for years and recorded quickly for someone who called me from far away and who needed to learn it quickly so would I please record it for them. Talk about long ago and far away.

Try not to laugh.