Sometimes in life, if we're lucky, we have the great fortune of sharing our path with a few incredible spirits. For the last thirty years I shared that path with Janice…the first twenty from a distance and the last ten in each other’s backyards as sisters, of sorts. For me, these pix of Beatrix and Janice’s Missy, celebrating Halloween in their own special way, will always remind me of the loving, silly and sometimes sad times I shared with Janice.
Damn cancer. I watched, helpless, as Janice struggled through her eighteen month battle with the damn disease. She was so tough and strong through it all – never complaining and fiercely hanging on to her independence. I miss her everyday; but with her passing, she left me two priceless gifts. She is the one who instilled in me the love of Cairn terriers and a passion for rescues. She gave me a solid understanding of the special needs of dogs of any type who by some misfortune in life find themselves in rescue, longing for a loving forever home. Since my move from New York City to this part of the country, I would guess that Janice worked with about ninety-five rescues in her unique way preparing them for a happy and full life with their forever families. I have no idea how many dogs she worked with since her initial jump into rescues in 1957! Some of the forever families include a few unusual situations – living as the house dog at a memory care home, sharing a life with a young boy with autism and jumping on the bed of an eight-year old girl to wake her so she’s not late for school – happy dogs and happy families.
What Janice may not have known (or maybe in her wisdom, she did know) is how she saved me when I moved here. You see, I was a lost puppy when I left New York…but somehow I stumbled into my forever home that helped me heal. Janice and her husband of forty-five years were responsible for making me see that Beatrix had been waiting to rescue me and would be a big part of my healing journey following the passing of Agatha, my Norwich Terrier, who made the move with me. When I was making the unpredictable hellish drive from the small town here to Portland everyday for work, I dropped Beatrix off at the farm in the early morning and then picked her up on my way home. In the morning, Janice would open the front door, I’d put Beatrix over the fence and watch her run inside not even turning to wave goodbye – I was like a mom dropping her kids off at daycare. In the evening, I would park outside the gate and before I could get to the front porch I was welcomed into the house. Without fail, no matter how late I was, I’d see three places set at the table and dinner being kept warm on the stove. Gift two? For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was part of a family and my heart was happy.
This story goes on for years; but I’ll end its retelling for the time being. I just know that I miss her daily…and it gives me great joy to have small reminders of our time together in pix such as these. I will be forever grateful for everything Janice and Jim shared with me – when I look through old pix I have a happy (even if somewhat tearful) heart. In most of those pix, all you can see are Janice’s legs…she hated to have her picture taken!
P.S. While I wish the quality of the pix I have of those times was better, I am happy to have them -- blur and all. That being said, my granny advice for the day: I encourage all of you out there to take lots of pix and save them in some way. Life can be fickle and change is inevitable...it's so nice to have images, not just in your heart but in your hand, that can spark a memory and give you a story to tell.
I thought I would include a link to my first ever video project that shows the farm, Missy and Beatrix and a bit of fall from a few years ago. I've not shared this in the past -- but figure it's time...maybe.