Confessions of an imperfect dog mom, Hope after loss, Pet Sympathy

Confessions of an imperfect dog mom…”lean on me”.

Last Friday night our sweet Sam suddenly lost the use of his back legs.  He crossed over on Saturday morning.  We don’t know exactly how old he was…probably at least 14.  At his age and given his health history…we don’t feel surprised that his time came…but we are taken back at how bad we hurt.  Returning home to a house without Sam simply…sucks.  He was always waiting at the door for us…up on this back legs…smiling.  Home will never be the same.

Our three gorgeous boys are re-united…their ashes sit together on the mantle.

Sam’s ashes were ready first thing Monday morning…Bret left work as soon as we got the call and hurried to bring Sam home.  We sat in a bit of stupor as we looked at his ashes and then solemnly went on with our day.  Keeping busy is the best we can do for now.

I have sent a small amount of his ashes off to be made in to a necklace.  We will bury some of his ashes with Luna and Kringles and the rest will sit on the mantle between Hercules & Sparky ‘s ashes…our 3 boys are back together again…bittersweet.

It would have been really nice to “check out” from life this week…but I don’t have the luxury of taking time out for a quick “melt down”…I have two business to run and I have 7 other dogs to take care of.  It is times like these when I am especially grateful for all of our sweet pets…they not only keep me busy but also make it so I can continue to smile in the day.   Life with them, in fact, demands a lot of smiling. Still the pets are integral to each step of my daily routine and each step reminds me of Sam…Bret and I have both broke in to tears a few times a day all week.  Nothing is right without Sam.

My friend Jan came over Monday with a card and a gift…this lovely canvas of two dogs called “LEAN ON ME”.   I brought it in the house, sat down and looked at it… in the white stripes is some light writing…it is some of the lines from the song “Lean on Me”…like “I’ll help you carry on”…all I could do was weep…how completely we “lean on them”…at least how completely “I lean on them”…especially Sam.   Caring for all of our pets is a full time job.  I am wrapped up in cooking for them, exercising them, vet visits, playtime, baths, nail trims…picking up the poo and vacuuming up all the hair.  I lose track in all these moments of busyness at how richly they feed my soul. Especially Sam.  Sam was easy and always a pleasure.  In fact, he is probably the easiest dog Bret and I have had.  He was agreeable, goofy, and incredibly well mannered.  He was also trustworthy and constant…his presence was very big in this house…because we could all count on him.  I now know how much I leaned on him…because I feel it in his loss.  I wonder if he knew how important he was to all of us?

Today I did several hours of yard work. Normally, Sam would be at my side while I worked outside…supervising…it was his favorite thing.  In the past, if I left him in the house he would bark…a low, steady bark that would not stop until I came and got him.  I heard him barking today…but I could not call him out to be at my side.  He is not the first dog I have heard barking for me after they have passed.  I am coming to believe it is some sort of a spiritual goodbye ritual.

There really aren’t accurate words for what I feel when I lose a dog…our language is so limiting…the best I can come with is that each one leaves a new hole in my heart…it can’t be filled by another dog…it doesn’t work that way…the hole will remain there until I see them again.  Over time it gets less painful…but it never heals.

The worst thing about fresh grief is that it reopens the old holes…each loss brings back a bit of the sting of previous losses.  I think we are grieving the loss of Luna and Kringles all over again.  But it also reminds me how richly blessed my life has been by so many of God’s sweet creatures.  Grief can only exist where true love once dwelled.   There has been so much love in our home.

Bret and I realized the night after Sam died that our entire marriage is framed by dogs…we wouldn’t be the same people, as individuals or as a married couple, without the dogs.  When we first married a friend told us that our marriage will “rub the rough edges off of us”…and it sure has…but our life with dogs has polished those rough edges…it makes life bright and shiny.

We are simple people…every penny we have literally “goes to the dogs”…we will leave no legacy…no one will remember Bret or Nancy.   We are not “religious” people but we are guided by the simple spiritual principles of figures like St. Francis and the Quakers…particularly in regards to stewardship of all creatures/creation.  One of our favorite quotes is this; “I expect to pass through the world but once.  Any good therefore that I can do, or any act of kindness I can show to any creature, let me do it now.  Let me not defer it, for I shall not pass this way again.” (Stephen Grellet). Caring for the sweet animals is our way of expressing how much we love God’s good creation and the sisterhood/brotherhood we feel with the animals.

Very often I have to remind myself that “my pets” are “not mine”.  Death is the ultimate reminder that I am just a temporary steward.   Death makes the concept/notion of “ownership” of a pet  a fallacy.  Besides, referring to them as “property” seems entirely inappropriate in the context of the true nature of the relationships we have with them.  If we learn to see them differently…as part of a divine creation…as eternal…well I think the world could be a significantly better place.

This morning I ran in to my friend Jan who gave us the “Lean on Me” canvas at the grocery store.  She asked me what day Sam died.  I said Saturday.  She told me that it was Saturday that she bought this canvas when out shopping for a prom dress for her daughter.  She knew she had no place for it in her house but for some reason she knew she had to get this piece.   The next day she saw my post about Sam. I am grateful for such a profound friend.

As I write this tonite, Millie is sound asleep in a small bed on my desk…she is snoring…like really loud.  I love the sound of her snoring.  It brings me comfort.  Tomorrow I get to wake up and have another busy dog filled day…I will be exhausted by the time I sit down at the end of it but my soul will be fed.  For now we will rest in our grief for Sam…rest in the mystery of life and of death… and be grateful that we live such a blessed life.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

 

 

Hope after loss, Pet Sympathy

Pet Sympathy: What do we say (or not say) when someone loses a pet?

Solidarity in grief…on being a voice of compassion for someone who has lost their pet.

When someone we care about faces the death of a beloved pet we want to say and do helpful things for them.  For those of us who are pet lovers there is a unique solidarity in the grief of a lost pet.  But not everyone

A one week old Golden Retriever puppy asleep on a cloud,
Acting with grace in the face of loss.

is a pet lover and that can make relating to someone grieving a lost pet more difficult.   Over the years I have learned one golden principle before opening my mouth to offer someone else comfort…and that is to always “error on the side of grace“.    Following this principle has served me well.  First though, let’s take a step back and consider a few things that can help us be a source of compassion when someone we love is in mourning.

Grace is patience and understanding as grief is complex.

dog memorial, dog condolences, pet condolences, pet bereavement
Sparky 1999-2015

Grief is complex.  It is a spectrum of deep and varying emotions.   I will never forget the depth of the emotion I felt when I lost my first dog.  I was taken back by the depth of the heart-break. It was the first time in my life that emotional pain literally equated to physical pain.  I was also surprised at how complex my grief was.  I bounced from anger to sadness to extreme guilt; over and over.  I questioned my judgment and felt I failed my dog.

Whether someone has lost their pet quietly in its sleep to old age, in a tragic accident or chose to humanely euthanize a sick pet; the parent is going to experience a range of emotions and all need grace in friendship.  We can’t assume we know exactly what someone is feeling when they are grieving.  Thankfully, you don’t have to understand someone’s pain to “sit with them” in it.  It is always possible to be present for them no matter what they are feeling.   It is helpful to keep this universal truth about grief in mind; WE DON’T GET OVER GRIEF.  Rather, WE LEARN TO LIVE WITH GRIEF.  Learning to live with grief takes varying amounts of time for different people.  Grief is also rarely isolated to one loss.  When someone is grieving the loss of their pet it may open them back up to past losses they have experienced in their life.

dog sympathy, dog memorial, dog condolences, dog bereavement
Pet Rescue Photo Art

Routine complicates grief.  Our pets are creatures of habit.  They love and live for their routines and their routines becomes our routines  For most of us there is more than just routine though.  We have silly and joyful rituals with our pets…around feeding, treats and tricks, bedtime, etc.  When our pet dies the disrupted routines and rituals transform in to a series of daily painful reminders of the emptiness we feel.  When my rottweiler Hercules died I cried twice a day; everyday; for at least a month when I fed the other dogs their breakfast and dinner.  Hercules was such a huge presence at meal time that when he was gone this once joyful task became a sad one.  It takes a long time to establish new routines and rituals.

Grace does not judge

Ok…I will say it plainly as I can.  This is the time to KEEP OUR OPINIONS TO OURSELVES!  This is where the “error on the side of grace” principle really matters.  NOTHING about losing a pet is cut and dry.  When someone is grieving it is NOT the time to share our opinion on whether a pet should die naturally or be euthanized;  nor our opinions on what could have been done medically differently or how an accident could have been prevented or whether a pet should be cremated or buried.  Button up!  Trust me on this one.  If we value friendship and desire to be a person of compassion, judgment should be spared.

Jasmine change the worldCompassion and judging someone’s actual grief process are also incompatible.  Grief is a unique journey for each person in both its intensity and duration.  Everyone deserves the space to grieve in their own way.  Some people grieve immediately and very openly.  Some people grieve privately and at times long after a loss has occurred.   I made the mistake of sharing my own grief with people I thought I could lean on.  Instead of solidarity or compassion I was shamed and diminished for grieving the loss of a “damn dog”; once by a so-called “pastor” and once by a family member.  That experience permanently changed those relationships.  It is NOT childish or silly to grieve a pet.  Rather, it is a mature reflection of love.   It is typical for our relationships with our pets to be more affirming to our lives than our relationships with some people.  When someone is grieving a pet they are on the right side of history.  The bond between people and animals dates back to ancient times.  Countless pre-historic grave sites have been found with people and their dogs buried together.

Grace doesn’t start theological arguments

As a seminary graduate I have a lot of thoughts on theology, religion, philosophy, etc.  I try to live by a rule that I don’t offer those thoughts unless I am specifically asked about them.  As I have grown older I have

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Memorializing our pets

become much more comfortable with mystery and tension…(by tension I mean acceptance that there are things I will never understand).   I have also never met a winner of a theological “argument”…because Truth is a journey…Truth is not something we hit each other over the head with.  When someone is experiencing a great loss, an important part of a normal healing process and their own spiritual journey is to explore and/or reaffirm their own convictions about life after death.  Many years ago the same person who shamed me for mourning my dog also chastised me with the “I suppose you think the damn thing is in heaven now too” line…seriously! The comment literally sucked the air out of my lungs…I couldn’t respond…I just walked away feeling emotionally mugged.  Frankly, at that time I had not come to any conclusions about what I believed happened to pets after death…it was the first time I was faced with processing the death of a pet.  But I will always recall that moment as one of the cruelest interactions I have had with another person.  Perhaps it was the best lesson I ever learned in the importance of extending grace when interacting with someone who is grieving.  Trust me, its a really bad idea to give someone your theological treatise on pets and death…give them the grace and the space to work that out themselves.   Today, I have very strong convictions on life after death for all creatures…but that was my own journey to take.

Avoid campy euphemisms:

Sometimes they slip out; but if we can, it is a good idea to avoid campy euphemisms like, “at least they are not in pain anymore” or “he is better off now”.  Seriously, these are not helpful statements when you really think it through.  No one in mourning is satisfied with the implication that their loved one is better off dead.   Perhaps it might be a factual statement but it does not bring comfort to the bereaved and therefore is not helpful.    I shouldn’t have to say it but I will; “it’s just a dog/cat” or “you can always get another dog/cat”…bad, really bad things to say.

It is normal for us to want to “speak” and “help” and “do” when someone is hurting and that is a beautiful thing.  To keep myself from letting tricky statements slip out of my mouth I try to stick with “you questions” when I have the urge to say something….for example “what can I do for you?”…”how can I help you through this?”…”how can I make this better for you?”.

It also is a good idea to avoid unsolicited advice like’ “why don’t you get a puppy to make you feel better”.  Again, well intended but not helpful.  Some people will get another pet within days of losing a pet…others will never get another pet. Give them the space to work it out on their own.  If they ask for help getting another pet…by all means trot them down to the local shelter!

So what do we say and do for someone grieving the loss of a pet?

Dog Memorial Art
Dog Memorial Art

Here is my unsolicited advice for standing in solidarity with someone who is grieving their pet.

  • Say nothing.  Just listen.  Let’s be honest…we stink at this.  I could write an entire blog post on the “ministry of silence”…maybe I will.  But we don’t have to talk to be helpful.  We can sit in silence with someone who is in pain.  Our quiet presence is often the best form of solidarity we can offer.  For someone in mourning; expressing their range of emotions out loud can be very therapeutic.  Being a quiet and patient listener for someone in mourning is a great gift.  You don’t have to have words of wisdom…just be there.  If you just have to say something…thank them for trusting you with their feelings and reaffirm your solidarity with them.
  • Be honest.  If you aren’t a pet lover or have not yet experienced the loss of a pet BE HONEST about not understanding their grief.  You don’t have to understand someone’s pain to stand in solidarity with it.  Express how much you care about them and your desire to be someone for them to lean on.
  • Ask them how you can be useful.  You can’t know how to help someone unless you give them a chance to tell you.  Grief is a really strange journey and you might be surprised at what someone will find helpful.  We can’t know unless we ask.
  • Don’t pretend it didn’t happen.  Don’t avoid their discussions about their pet.  Share your favorite story about their pet; using their pets specific name out loud.
  • Make a condolence gesture. Send a sympathy card (a real one…not an ecard…hand write your message); I still have all the pet sympathy cards.  They mean a lot to me.  Get the bereaved a picture frame or scrap-book. My favorite memorial gift is a wind chime.  I have wind chimes in my yard for all of my pets who have crossed over and it is my favorite gift for someone else.  Other great ideas are yard stone markers; St. Francis statues; make a donation in their pet’s name.  I am going to do an entire post on unique ideas to offer condolence and memorialize a pet.
  • Check on the bereaved often…remember; grief is journey that lasts the rest of our lives…the most difficult part of that journey can go on for weeks, months, maybe longer.  Check on them and ask them specifics on how they are doing and what you can do to be there for them.

We all struggle with seeing someone we love in pain so I really hope this post is helpful.  I enjoy hearing from other pet parents with their ideas and experiences of grief and healing.  You can contact me by commenting on this post or by email at therescuemama@gmail.com.

If you are struggling with the guilt that often comes associated with the loss of a pet I encourage you to read the post I wrote on euthanasia and guilt.  Working through my own guilt after the loss of my first dog was a long and painful journey for me.  Part of the healing process was finding solidarity with other pet parents who experienced the same feelings of guilt.  Follow this link: Euthanasia and Guilt.

Cat Rescue Art
Cat Rescue Art

I am an artist and full-time rescue mom.  The majority of my art is pet rescue themed or pet sympathy themed.  Pet sympathy cards are my favorite work and also my best-selling items.  If you are looking for handmade pet sympathy cards please follow this link:  The Rescue Mama ETSY Shop.  I offer discounts to pet professionals purchasing 10 or more cards at a time…send me an email or convo me directly through ETSY for a coupon code.

This is the first in a series of posts I am writing this year on pet sympathy related topics. I am going to follow up this post over the next few weeks with a post on writing sympathy cards and other gestures of condolence, a resource guide for those who are in mourning and finally a post on my own convictions regarding pets and the afterlife.

If you are a lover of “all things pet” please consider following my blog.  I blog weekly on a variety of topics related to pet parenting, pet rescue and expressing my life through art.  I also have a The Rescue Mama Facebook Page and The Rescue Mama Pinterest Page. My Pinterest page is a collection of both my original content and curated content.  I have boards that cover pretty much every topic you can think of regarding pets!  If you are looking for pet art, pet cards or some fancy pet accessories please visit The Rescue Mama ETSY shop!

On the journey,

Nancy

The Rescue Mama

Dog Sympathy Card
Dog Sympathy Card
Cat Sympathy Card
Cat Sympathy Card
Dog Sympathy Card, Dog Bereavement, Dog Condolences
Handmade Card for Loss of Dog
Pet Sympathy Card
Pet Sympathy Card
Cat Sympathy Card
Cat Sympathy Card
Pet Sympathy Card
Pet Sympathy Card
Hope after loss, Pet Rescue, Pet Sympathy, Rescue Mama Art

Pet Rescue Art: Some Angels Have Fur

Pet Rescue Art:  Do we see our pets again after death?

cat painting, cat wall art, cat memorial, loss of cat, gift for loss of cat, cat art
Some Angels Have Fur

What I am working on in my studio usually speaks to what is going on in my head and heart…lately is it grief and sadness.  Grief is such a strange journey…its unique…no two losses are the same but no single experience of the loss of a loved one is about the loss of just that one loved one.  When we open up for grieving it usually re-opens many old wounds that never completely healed.  I find that my sensitivity to everything around me is heightened when I am experiencing grief.  My ability to truly feel the experiences of another person or animal is so acute that it is physical.  It is both an awful and awesome place to be emotionally and spiritually.

I am of the opinion that we never “get over” the loss of someone we care about.  Rather, we just learn to live with the pain.  The piece of our heart that breaks when they are gone remains broken and becomes part of who we are forever.  It is part of becoming truly human.

I also believe we see our pets on the other side of life.  Not because I “need” to believe that nor believe it is something polite and appropriate to say when anyone is in pain over the loss of a beloved pet.  I believe it because it is logical to believe it.  It is congruent with a Christian world view to believe it.  And there is tangible evidence that we see our pets again.  To say that a living creature is lost forever when it dies would constitute a belief in a world view called ” annhilationism”.  Annihilationists believe that anything that is alive is gone forever once physically dead.  The problem with that belief is that collective human intelligence (and by that I mean almost every  single society that has ever walked this planet) has rejected annihilationism. Almost every society has believed in the spiritual birth of something new after death.  While those belief systems vary, of course, what they hold in common is that there is something beyond life in the flesh for creatures.  To hold the view that any creature, human or animal, is annihilated after death would put you in conflict with most of humanity…so which view does it make logical sense to hold?   A Christian world view holds that all of creation is redeemworld's greatest doged and part of God’s plan…while I will write more on this at another time…to exclude our beloved pets from God’s redeemed creation would be in direct conflict with a Christian world view.  While it’s not as common to talk about it in a contemporary culture that does not want to deal hands on with death and dying…stories of what happens during the dying process and accounts of Near Death Experiences tell us a lot about what awaits us on the other side.  And these experiences include interactions with animals; particularly pets already gone.

cat memorial art, the rescue mama, cat art
All Life is Precious

I like to think of the pets gone before me as waiting for me…which is selfish…really I hope they are running and playing with others and doing what they were meant to do naturally.  But I know I will see them again.  I hold this belief so strongly that while I love life on this side…I look forward to it on the other side just as much.

I have been painting Sparky, my beloved black lab who recently died.  The painting is taking awhile because sometimes I am too emotional to work on it.  It is a painting of how I picture him looking down on me now.  (ok…tearing up as I write this…).  I will share it when its done.  I believe its completion will bring me as close to closure as one can get when a loved one dies.

Thanks for reading my posts and viewing my art.  Much of my art is for sale at my ETSY shop.  Sparky’s passing has opened a new chapter in my pet journey…one that is very focused on a new member of our family, Buster.  Buster is a reactive dog that came here in a pretty wild state…I have decided to start chronicling the ways I have worked with Buster’s reactivity in hopes it can help other dog parents dealing with reactive dogs.

If you are in to all things pet and pet rescue check us out on Facebook or Pinterest!

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

Family Posts, Handmade Cards & Gift Wrap, Hope after loss, Pet Sympathy

Pet Sympathy Cards…new designs…fresh grief

New designs for my handmade pet sympathy cards…

Pet Sympathy CardI have been having a burst of creativity and inspiration to make some new pet sympathy cards…I am sure it is has everything to do with losing Sparky.  Funny thing grief is…we never “get over it”…at least I don’t believe we do.  We just learn to live with it…and over time living with it makes it an important part of who we are as spiritual beings.  Funny thing too…grief can happen in such flashes…I was at Hobby Lobby, buying some card making supplies, when I felt inspired to buy a wind chime for our backyard…to hang in honor of Sparky. At first I just felt moved as I was picking one out…almost a bitter sense of comfort in the memory of him and for doing something in his name…and then a moment of guilt came over me because I realized that it was the first time I had thought about him that day.  Grief is weird.Pet sympathy card

I believe we are all put here to play a special part…to be involved in a spiritual enterprise that rubs the rough edges off us as we grow…for me it is pet rescue.  I make no apologies for my pets playing such a large role in my life…not to friends…not to family…it is who I am…take me or leave me as I am.  I was made for taking care of them.

Sparky rubbed a lot of rough edges off of me…it was patience and persistence that he taught me for sure…but more important and especially later in his life it was that every day he reminded me to never waste an opportunity to have a little enjoyment.  I had six dogs when he was still alive and I am a bit of nut about exercising my dogs…which takes a lot of time in my day and a lot of my energy.  Sparky was SOOOOOOOOO slow the last year of his life and he had a bit of doggy dementia…so often we would walk back and forth down the same street…he would get confused about which direction we were walking…I always just went with it.  But I had to walk him separate from the other dogs and even a very short walk took an enormous amount of time (sometimes I would even bring a book).  But dammit…I was gong to make sure he had his time…he loved his walks and it was one thing I could give him…I new that one day he wouldn’t be there…if today was by chance the last day…it was going to be one he enjoyed.   I find a lot of comfort today in my patience and persistence for him and his walks.  It has made me a better person.

cat sympathy card, card for loss of cat, death of cat card, cat condolences, cat loss, The Rescue Mama, Nancy Halverson
Cat Sympathy Card

I am one of those oddly wired people that needs to create to be whole.  I lose time when I am creating…whoooda thunk it would be pet sympathy cards that I enjoy to make…but that is how it just turned out….so I go with it.   If I can be a small part of bringing a tiny bit of comfort to someone grieving a pet…I am glad to do it.  I write my own greetings for my cards…they are not poetic…just genuine thoughts from someone who knows a little something about grieving a pet.Pet Sympathy Card

If you ever need a pet sympathy card, keep me in mind…they are available at my ETSY shop…I take great pride in making them and in my customer service in regards to them.

Love your pets today…and everyday…you are their whole world.

Rescue On!

Nancy

Please follow my blog if you are interested in seeing more of my work and hearing more of my opining about all things pet.  I post 1-2 times/week on my blog and daily on my Facebook Page.world's greatest dog

 

 

 

Pet Crafts, Pet Sympathy, Rescue Mama Art

Pet Sympathy: new cat sympathy designs

Pet Sympathy: new designs for hand painted cat sympathy cards!

I have fallen in love with this cat silhouette on these cards…so much so that I went a little crazy a few weeks ago painting a series of different backgrounds.  All it takes to paint on all this lovely card stocks is start with a layer of Gesso.  The card stock is acid free so the painting will be lasting.  I had a lot of fun with these and have started on some other silhouettes to use in the future.  I think the next one will have angel wings:) What do you think?

front mainfront mainfront bigfront 2

Most of my cards are available at my ETSY shop.  I do give discounts to pet professionals buying multiple cards.  Looking for ideas to inspire your own card making…check out my Card Gallery!  If you love all things pets follow my blog for pet news, art and crafts!  I post 1-3 time per week on my blog and daily on Facebook and Pinterest page.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

Handmade Cards & Gift Wrap, Pet Sympathy, Uncategorized

Cat Sympathy Card – new handmade design…what do you think?

Cat Sympathy Card…new handmade design!

What do you think of this design?

front big  I hand painted the cat and heart on lovely card stock that I stained with some distress ink.  What do you think of this design?  I wrote this greeting…

” Sometimes a special animal enters our lives…their presence changes our hearts forever…and we can call ourselves blessed for having known them.”

It’s the first time I have used it in a card…what do you think?

inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of my sympathy cards are available at my ETSY shop and I do give discounts for pet professionals buying in quantity.

Handmade Cards & Gift Wrap, Pet Sympathy

Pet sympathy cards

Handmade Pet Sympathy Cards

big  Just finished these cards for Anima line of products…what do you think?  I am always happy to answer questions on how I make my cards.  I sell them at my ETSY store and offer discounts for pet professionals who purchase multiple cards at a time.

Rescue On!

Nancy

second big

pruple imprint

Handmade Cards & Gift Wrap, Pet Sympathy

Pet Sympathy Card

big frontHandmade card for loss of pet.

I am pleased with how this one turned out, what do you think?.  Death does not break the bond of love with our pets and I hope this card brings comfort to those grieving the loss of a beloved pet.

The front of the card reads…”Love…it is the shortest distance between two hearts.”

The inside reads…”May time heal your heart and memories comfort your soul.  With Sympathy”

Feel free to write to me if you have questions on any techniques I use to make my cards.  If you are interested in purchasing them, most of my cards are available at my ETSY Shop.  I do offer discounts for veterinarians and other pet professionals buying multiple cards at one time.

Rescue On!

Nancy

inside

Handmade Cards & Gift Wrap, Hope after loss, Pet Sympathy

Pet Sympathy Card

imprintHandmade card for the loss of a beloved dog.

 

I just added this new card to my Anima line of products for those mourning the loss of a beloved pet.  Feel free to contact me if you have questions about techniques I use to make my cards.  If you are interested in purchasing my cards, most are available at my ETSY Shop.  If you use the coupon code “NEWCUSTOMER” you will receive 10% off your first purchase.  I do offer discounts to veterinarians and other pet professionals who purchase multiple cards at a time.

Rescue On!

Nancy

big close up inside poem

 

Handmade Cards & Gift Wrap, Hope after loss, Pet Crafts, Pet Sympathy

Handmade Pet Sympathy Card

Handmade card for loss of dog

Sympathy poemThis is one of my original designs for a sympathy card.  This card starts with a base card stock of recycled paper.  I stain it (all sides) and then heavily emboss the front.  There is a distressed, stained and embossed piece of cream cards stock that is largely covered with the poem and embellishments but it creates a lovely accent behind the poem.  All of the embellishments are stained to match and some of them are stamped with designs.

This is one of my favorite cards, what do you think?

Sympathy cards 015(inside of card)


Hope after loss, Pet Crafts, Pet Sympathy

Handmade prayer candle for pet sympathy

feb 10 185

Prayer Candle

Pet Sympathy

One of the product lines that I design is called “Anima”.  “Anima” is the Latin word for soul; all of my products in this line are meant to bring comfort to those who are mourning the loss of a beloved pet and to celebrate the joy that our sweet pets have brought to our lives.

I recently finished this candle; it is the end result of about five designs landing in the garbage can in my studio.  I designed these to match my favorite sympathy cards.  These are really not too hard to make they just take some time as it is several layers of work that needs to completely dry in between applications.

I started with a basic prayer candle; you can find these in Catholic stores, Dollar stores, etc.  I used 8 inch pillar candles.  You could use any size candle or candle holder to make this project just remember to stick with tempered glass.

The first thing I did was print out the poem on white card stock with my laser printer.  When I print lettering from my laser printer that I want to use for crafts I spray the printed paper with Fixative so that it will not smudge.  You could use a multitude of things on the front of one of these candles; a photo or a card for example.  I loosely tore the edges of the poem, stained the paper with black Distressed Ink and sprayed it with Perfect Pearls.

feb 10 182I put a thin layer of mod podge on the candle and then rolled it over a pre-cut piece of tissue paper.  Here I used a tissue with paw prints on it but you could use any kind of tissue or even plain tissue that you stamp your own images on with Archival Ink.  I let this first layer dry overnight.  When I work with mod podge I use the general rule that less is more.  I always apply it fairly sparingly so I don’t tear the paper I am working with, cause bubbles or make a big ‘ol mess.  For the second application I put mod podge on the back of my poem and pressed the poem down on the candle – again I let it dry overnight.  The third layer; I put a layer of mod podge over the candle (not on the poem) and sprinkled glitter generously (I used a clear large flake glitter here).  Again, I let this dry overnight.  The final layer was a layer of mod podge over the glitter (applied with a paint sponge).

The reason for the last layer of mod podge was to avoid having a situation where the candle flaked glitter every time someone touched it.  When I was finished I did spray the candle with a glaze (if you do this step make sure you cover the inside of the candle as glazes are flammable so you don’t want any residue in the candle).

The reason I let my projects dry for at least 24 hours between steps is to avoid having a finished project that feels tacky.  If you have ever done a mod podge project that felt tacky when you were done (which really makes it useless) it is either because of the humidity where you are working or the project didn’t dry long enough between coats.

feb 10 107To finish this project off I attached a small black ribbon at the top of the candle.  I am fairly happy with how these candles turned out and the project has inspired several other ideas for me.

How do you like these candles?

I hope this was a helpful tutorial on how I made these.  If you are not a crafty person I do have several of these for sale at my ETSY store (use coupon code “NEWCUSTOMER” for 10% off).

Rescue On!

Nancy

Handmade Cards & Gift Wrap, Pet Crafts, Pet Sympathy

Handmade Pet Sympathy Card

february 6th 088Pet Sympathy Card

I finished this sympathy card last night.  I spend quite a bit of my studio time on pet sympathy cards.  I know all to well the grief experienced when a beloved pet dies and hope to provide sentiments that can bring comfort to others.

This card is made from a base recycled card stock.  I stained it blue with Distress Stain and dry brushed it with cream acrylic paint (you can see the effect in the second picture).   I hand painted a silhouette on the front of the card using a layer of heavy gesso first and then black acrylic paint.  The heart, lace and flowers are all stained to match the rest of the card and finished off with perfect pearls.

The front of the card reads; “How blessed we are to have loved them so much that it makes saying goodbye so very, very hard.”    I print my greetings on to card stock with my laser printer and then spray the card stock with fixative so they won’t smudge.  This is a far more cost effective method than buying stamps.

The inside of the card reads; “with sympathy for your faithful and loyal friend.”  If you are ever in need of any cards or gifts for pet sympathy; I have a nice selection in my ETSY shop (www.etsy.com/shop/TheRescueMama).  Use the coupon code “NEWCUSTOMER” for 10% off.

february 6th 091Rescue On!

Nancy