"Miss P" and Brig

     I will always look back at 1999 as the year that changed my life. My husband and I don't have children, and our family consisted of two dogs and one parrot. "Miss P" was the nickname of our 6 1/2 year old English Mastiff, Polaris' Reef by Pocomax, CD. She was a wonderful mixture of angel and prankster. When showing in obedience she would skip around the rink with the attitude that a show of exuberance was far more important than accuracy. With the exception of a few grey hairs she had the appearance and spirit of a puppy and we thought that it would be great fun to enter her in the veteran's obedience class at our National Specialty when she turned 7 in 2000. My 4 1/2 year old Mastiff Brig, was getting the hang of advanced obedience and we were playing around with tracking. In addition, I was looking for a German Shepherd. I am a member of an all volunteer Search and Rescue team and having completed all of my training was ready to begin training my future partner.

Brig is Diagnosed With Lukemia

     CH Polaris Oaklane Brigance, CD, CGC, TDI, WD weighed in at 200 pounds. Whether he was hamming it up outside the show ring, searching out the one person who needed a little extra attention at the nursing home, or just a sofa boy, he always gave 100% and never wavered in his devotion to me. In February of 1999 Brig began to pass out after exertion. Following tests too numerous to list and many consultations with specialists, a sample of his bone marrow came back as 80% invaded by acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was given 4-6 weeks to live if we did not intervene with chemotherapy. I was devastated because I had never shared a bond like this before with an animal. I knew that our journey was not done and that we needed more time together. We made the decision to try chemotherapy and to continue it only if it did not affect his quality of life. In conjunction with this we consulted with excellent holistic vets who helped to support his entire body. On the days that the treatment would last 6 hours or more, I didn't let him out of my sight and spent the day on the floor with him. He lost the whiskers on his face, never missed a meal and took everything in stride.

Jaegar Comes Home - A Sudden Death

     In July, a 7 week old German Shepherd named Jaegar came to live with us. He was a black, fuzzy bundle who loved to chase butterflies across the lawn. Within days we knew that something was seriously wrong and when he was diagnosed with a severe congenital birth defect, we were forced to euthanize him. I had him cremated and brought the ashes home in a plain brown box. The options for urns were cold, sterile and said nothing of "Jaegar, the mighty butterfly stalker."

Miss P and Brig Die

     In August I notice a slight swelling on Miss P's foreleg. When my vet entered the examination room carrying her x-rays, with tears in her eyes, I knew that my suspicion of bone cancer was confined. She passed away a few short months later and another plain brown box came home. There had always been an aura of beauty and humor surrounding her and I knew that her final resting place had to reflect this.

     Shortly after this Brig came out of remission and I sometimes wonder if this was a coincidence or an affirmation of their bond. They were very close and I can still recall the look of wonder and delight on Miss P's face when we brought home this rather large, clumsy puppy.

     In January of 2000 after many long talks with Brig I knew that the corner had been turned where my desire to keep him with me no longer outweighed his desire to be here. The last couple of weeks were very difficult and still he seemed unable to take that step and leave me. I helped him to pass and even though I felt his spirit leave his body, I could still feel his overwhelming presence in the room. The third of my plain brown boxes came home.

A Divine Inspiration

     My inspiration to make stained glass urns and the design ideas that have flowed so easily have been a gift from my four legged friends. The ideas seem to appear as I reflect on each animal. Jaegar had to have a butterfly for eternity. Miss P was captured at a moment in time during an ocean swim - one of her favorite activities. Brig, my boy, was an easy one. He was my heart and my soul-mate . I wanted the moveable broken heart to express the hope that in time the two parts might mend. The design of these boxes became a healing process.

     I have always enjoyed expressing myself through my work be it stained glass, watercolors, or other mediums but none have filled my heart like the creation of this "artwork with a very special function." Each urn is an original signed piece designed to reflect the beauty and individuality of your pet and of your relationship. My pieces can be as simple as a picture frame box or as complex as the moveable heart box, and certainly can be requested for any treasured pet.

     While some may look back on my year as tragic, with the help of some very special people, I have come to see the gifts that I have had the privilege of receiving from my dogs.

How To Order A Beautiful, Hand Crafted Memorial Urn For Your Beloved Friend

For additional information, to place an order, or just to share about an animal friend that you've loved and lost please contact Sheryl Garrison

garrfla@bellsouth.net
  or (954)563-8502.

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