Miss Emi

2013 July 21
by admin


While this is a very personal post to you, I have to tell you that I do try to keep my personal life, and the studio a little bit separate. It seems harder and harder, as I get to know all of you, and the private and the public aspects seem to blend more. I begin to celebrate your personal triumphs and happiness, and mourn and cry with all of you when things get crazy in your lives, and I feel that you all do the same with me. Each time you drive down the driveway, and are greeted by the animals, our family, and various aspects of our life, you become a little closer, and the divide becomes less and less. While I tend to hold things that are challenging or sad closer to me, in part not to distress you, and in part to protect myself, I feel that I need to share this with you, to honor our beautiful dog Emi that has left us.

So, if you would like to celebrate her life with me, read on. If you cannot bear to read about doggies, best to stop here.

We always wanted an Irish Setter, one of those tall, dark red, regal looking ones. So when the Irish Setter pet rescue told us there was one available for adoption in Honesdale, Pa, near the Poconos, we drove up, 9 years ago, to the shelter there and met Emi.

This dog was for Chris, my oldest, and he was excited. I remember we all drove up in our mini van. When we finally arrived, they brought out this short, bow legged, overweight, hyperactive, golden colored dog ! I asked if that was really her, and the answer being positive we acted on blind faith, and took her in the car with us for the ride home.  She was bouncing all over the car the whole way home, full of unbridled enthusiasm.  We arrived and opened the sliding door and she leaped out, sprinted down the driveway across Stony Hill Road and down the tracks as fast as she could go! Chris was directed to run after her and retrieve her asap, and did so; he had on brand new sneakers and returned disheveled, muddy, with stickers and brambles, but with Emi in tow, none the worse for wear.

She lived in the stone house for a while with Chris and Sebastian, a little black cat, who she took under her wing, licking his face until it seemed that the fur would certainly come off, Sebastian enjoying every moment. She never required much attention after the first few months of acclimating to the property. She was always the free spirit of the doggie group! She lost 10 pounds just running after the geese every day. She became all of ours, Miss Emi, and was the caretaker of the property. Each morning she dove out the door, and made her rounds, her tail constantly wagging, her feet doing a never ending tap dance on the wooden floors, her only request a chest scratch and a cookie upon return. Larry always called her Emi with the Hemi. She and Killian, our first dog, were partners, even once escaping to the neighborhood behind us and Katie found them leisurely walking down the sidewalks together out for a stroll.

Each time the UPS truck came driving up, she would run down and hop in the truck. Those trucks did not make deliveries to us; she knew their main purpose was to bring dog cookies to her!

She loved the pond, and swam every day, several times a day- her legs started to show signs of arthritis in dogs, and swimming made her feel free. She even swam in the winter. Each day, after rounds, she would bark at the sparrows temporarily trapped in the chicken coop, and had it out for the squirrel in the tree next to the house. She loved coffee, and could take a full cup of Starbucks, from unsuspecting workmen at the house, carry it out to the middle of the yard, undo the lid, drink every drop of coffee and then eat the cup. (She loved paper). She ate bills, homework, envelopes and my never ending lists on the coffee table. I have to admit, I always denied knowing what happened to their coffee when they went looking for it!

Every night she would climb up on the sofa, and snuggle with me, her head sleepily in my lap, soft paws in my hand.

She was always very sweet, always happy to see you, always busy, tail wagging, nose sniffing. Her favorite place to sit was underneath the tree, overlooking the pond and with a clear view of everything that was going on.

Each time I think of her, I can see her there, with her head looking out with a soft breeze pushing the long feathery fringe away from her ears, and her feet crossed in front of her in a ladylike and dignified position. She always had a lot of class.

Her hair was so soft, and on the sides of her legs it was very curly. In the winter we would trim it as snow and ice would collect in it, and she would spend a lot of time getting it off of herself.

In the last few weeks she began to lose weight, and it became more difficult to walk. The vet was always surprised to see her in such good health. We truly believed she would live forever. We began to take her down to the pond in the golf cart for her swims, and feed her human food, when she stopped eating dog food.

She lay quietly on her dog bed, but looked up at us each time we came into the room, and still wagged her tail.

As we begin to realize that there is a possibility a life will end, the feeling of determination to stop the process kicks in. The possibility that this dog that has loved you from the moment they came into your life could no longer be here is a hard thing to experience.

You wish for all the years back, all the times you did not have time, all the things you wish you had done differently.  You begin to understand what a powerful and meaningful role these bright and loving creatures have in our lives. They soften the way to understanding, and give us a chance to learn how to love unconditionally, their love being so pure and constantly present for us, no matter what.

I will miss my sweet dog, every single day. Unbelievably, the sun will rise and set, and life will go on. The pain is still so fresh; from experience, I know that as time goes on, it will soften. So if you see me, and I am not myself for a while, you will understand, and just know that I will be ok soon.

I will never forget her. I know she brightened your lives too, and I wanted to share this with you, not to make you sad, but to acknowledge and celebrate her life. I could not let her passing go without telling you how lucky I feel we were to have her here, and how much we love her, and how happy she was each time someone noticed her. Thank you for that.

So take a moment to throw the ball one more time, or give an extra belly rub, to tell your beloved pets how much they mean to you. You will be happy you did.

As I end my letter, I am surrounded by a grey and white cat on one side of me, and a black long-haired cat on the other side.  Lying under the bench is a sleepy husky dog, and stretched out on the carpet is a German shepherd, twitching occasionally. There are numerous cats in the living room, curled up on chairs or in their hiding spots in the garage. Further out the goats are perched as high as they can get in the barn, and the chickens are huddled together. The peacock is on his perch. The guinea hens are experiencing their first night out in the coop. It is peaceful on the farm, and I feel lucky beyond belief to be surrounded by so much creature love.

Emi is sleeping under the full moon, but her spirit self is surely taking a swim in the pond, wagging her tail as she roams the woods and fields.

I love you Emi.

Love always, Liz