"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.
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.
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