Lightening Strikes at Shepherds Grove

Our new German Shepherd Puppy Zeus

Zeus!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope the holidays were filled with the things you love and that your year ahead is filled with promise.  I’m grateful to say that both things are true for me.  In November I had to say goodbye to Dante and it was one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve ever had to do.  As sad as it was, myself and family knew that we would want another German Shepherd in our lives.  And, as Dante and Boomer have connections in high places, I had them to go to work finding us a puppy.

I did not expect to have a puppy in our home three weeks later.  His name is Zeus and he came into our lives like lightning and captured our hearts just as fast.  He’s now just about 12 weeks old, sweet and feisty with sharp baby needle teeth.  He’s also incredibly smart and already loves to work.  And boy does he have an amazing food drive!  The best part is that when he looks at you with his soul-piercing eyes, any troubles melt away.   Our home feels happy once again.

In other news, the winner of my December contest was Melody – Congratulations!  She will soon be receiving a set of dog breed salt and pepper shakers.  I’ll be releasing the details of my January contest soon so check back!

All the best to you!

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December Dog Gift Giveaway

corgi salt and pepper shakers

This months giveaway is for a set of dog breed salt and pepper shakers with your choice of dog breed (from my currently available designs).   The drawing runs until December 31st, so there’s still plenty of time to enter.  And while the winner won’t receive them for Christmas, it’ll be a nice gift to receive in the new year.  Click here to enter and best of luck.

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November Contest Winner

yellow-lab-sugar-and-creamer

Lori was November’s contest winner and the recipient of a Yellow Lab sugar bowl and creamer set.  I was very happy for her and I learned that she is a fellow artist.  You can find her charming and playful dog art in her Etsy shop, LoriBushArt, on Pinterest, and Facebook.

The December drawing is up and running and you can enter here.  The prize this month is a set of salt and pepper shakers and the winner will be chosen December 31 at 11pm.  Good luck.

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Shepherds Grove without a Shepherd

File Dec 05, 2 40 20 PM

Dante and his favorite hedgehog toy. Photo by Adri

I haven’t written this post until now because I found it too difficult to write at the time.  At the beginning of November I sent out my newsletter and, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, gave thanks for Dante still being with us after 13 years and 2 months.  I didn’t know at the time that I would be saying goodbye to him 2 weeks later.

Dante was very stoic, never complained even though he was stiff.  He would get up, shake it off and go for a walk, or come out to the studio with me.  He was always eager to just be a part of whatever we were doing.  We gave him medication to help with joint pain and he had a good quality of life but, bit by bit, his dignity was being robbed from him.

The weekend before Dante was put down, he fell and skinned his chin (because his back legs couldn’t support him), he had an accident in the house (this had been happening intermittently for the last 6-8 months), and when I gave him a bath, he couldn’t stand for more than 2-3 seconds.  As he sat there slumped and lathered in shampoo, he had a look on his face like he’d had it.  It was in that brief moment (and after months of deteriorating stability) that I felt the time had come, and I looked at my husband and said the words out loud.  It was excruciating to admit, and wasn’t the first time we’ve gone through this.  Things happened very similarly with our first Shepherd, Boomer.  It’s a horrible decision to have to make, and yet I know it’s the biggest act of mercy a pet owner can bestow.

Dante left us on November 15.  The vet came to our home with his wife and Dante was surrounded by my husband, three kids and myself.  I placed my head on his side and treasured every last heartbeat and breath, silently chanting “I love you”.  And then, he was gone.  It was horribly sad and yet such a beautiful thing to be there all together in his last moment.

We’re all ok.  Not to say there haven’t been rivers of tears cried – that’s all part of the process of letting go.   I know he’s in a good place and in excellent company, and I will be happy to see him again, when it’s time…a long, long time from now.  I sure miss that old gentle friend and will always be thankful for the years we had together, and his unconditional love.

It helps to think that Dante and Boomer are sending me emotional support from afar.  I asked both of them to scout out our next dog for us.  I have no doubt they will find the perfect friend, just as Boomer did with Dante.  Things are already happening in that direction and I’ll post when I know for sure.  For now, I’d like to share a poem that my dear customer Terri sent me.  You may have heard it, but I hadn’t, and it really speaks to the doubt and conflict a pet owner faces when they have to make a the hardest decision.

DogPoem

Hug your dogs for me,

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November Contest

pug sugar bowl and creamer from shepherds-grove.com

You could win a sugar and creamer set!

 

Hello.  I meant to write this post much earlier but was derailed by some emergency kiln repairs which ate up the mid-afternoon.  I believe the problem is fixed and will find out when I fire my glazed pottery load tomorrow.  On to the contest…

The November prize will be a dog breed sugar bowl and dog breed creamer (similar to those pictured above) and the winner will choose from over 40 of my current dog designs.  The sugar bowl and creamer are some of my most popular items and would be a great gift for Christmas for the dog lover in your life – assuming you would want to part with them should you win 🙂

The contest works as follows: click the link below and enter your name and email.  You’ll then be given opportunities to increase your chances of winning by sharing the contest with your friends, i.e., you get more entries when you share on social media and again if your friend (or friends) enter the contest.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Best of luck!

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October Prize Draw Winner

MugsFBPost

The winner of my October prize drawing was Jennifer P.  Congratulations Jennifer!!  She will be receiving two of my handmade dog breed mugs with her choice of breed(s).

I will be announcing the details of my November drawing tomorrow, so check back to see what you could win.

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Happy Halloween

German Shepherd and pumpkin

Photo by Audrey Albertini

Halloween greetings from me and Dante!  It’s a beautiful day here on the North Coast of California – perfect for all of the trick-or-treaters that we’ll be getting tonight.  Hope your Halloween is filled with good fun 🙂

Just a reminder that my contest is ending tonight at 11:00 pm.  There’s still time to enter, so if you would like a chance to win a pair of my dog mugs, click this link and fill out the form http://upvir.al/39453/SGOctoberDraw

Best witches (ha ha),

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October Prize Drawing

Handmade Corgi and Cavalier Spaniel mugs

Win a pair of dog mugs!

Win a Pair of Dog Mugs!

You could win two of my handmade dog breed mugs!  I am running a contest through Halloween and all you have to do to enter is click the link below and enter your name and email. The winner will win two of my dog breed mugs, and can choose from over 40 different breeds.

I encourage you to share this contest with your friends because the more you share, the more entries you receive, and the greater your chances of winning.

Click on this link to enter!! http://upvir.al/39453/SGOctoberDraw

Good luck,

Dante the Dizzy Dog

Dante the German Shepherd

Dante – October 18, 2017

The title of this post might be more amusing than the circumstances that led to writing of this post.  You may know from my blog, Facebook, or Instagram that my German Shepherd just turned 13 at the end of August.  This was quite a momentous occasion for me because our last German Shepherd, Boomer, didn’t quite make it to his 10th birthday before degenerative myelopathy made his life miserable and we had to put him down.  Dante is now a very slow walker and naps frequently but still seems content to be with us.  I’m definitely in the icing-on-the-cake phase with him.

I recently went for a two week trip with my mother to Portugal.  It was hard leaving Dante but the rest of my family was here, and my dad flew up from San Diego just to be there for his grand-dog, who he loves.  I was gone a week when I got a text from my husband to call him.  When I did, I got the news that Dante couldn’t get up.  He was able to get up and walk Sunday morning but by early Sunday afternoon, he couldn’t. By the time I called my husband around 1pm Monday, it had been 24 hours since he’d gotten up.  It appeared he had a stroke because of the way he was acting (heavy breathing, and glancing strangely at everything, head tilted) and the fact he couldn’t get up.  This was huge shock to me because I had texted on Sunday morning (California time) and all was well.  Now, all was not well.  None of us wanted Dante to suffer, so the horrible decision was made to have a vet friend come at 5 pm that evening (1am in Portugal) to put him down.

You can only imagine how I felt being so far away from my best boy.  I just couldn’t believe it. I had planned to be there for him in the end, just like I was for Boomer.  Luckily my 14 year old daughter was home from school that day and I was able to face-time all afternoon and into the evening and be a part of what was happening there, even if Dante may not have known it.

My dad was able to get Dante outside during the afternoon by holding up Dante’s back end.  It was a beautiful sunny day and Dante rested on the grass smelling the breeze and taking in all the love from my three kids, dad, and husband.  It was very teary, sweet, strange, and horrible.   At one point Dante actually got up, and I wondered what that was all about.  Then, at 5 pm, the vet arrived and we all felt sick.  Upon seeing strangers walk into the yard, Dante got up to check them out.  Almost immediately the vet said, “this looks like vestibular disease“.  “V” what?  He explained it was a condition affecting balance, like vertigo, the effects of which would lessen over the coming days.  We were all so shocked.  Here we were prepared to say goodbye to him and now it seemed we didn’t have to.  It honestly took me an hour to process this.  I went to bed at 2am feeling a whole lot better.  The rest of my trip was a mixed bag because I was in beautiful Portugal with my mother and all I wanted to do was go home.

You’ll be happy to know that 2 weeks after his episode, Dante is walking like he was before – slowly, but still walking.  I know our time together has to come to an end eventually, and I wait for that sign from him that he’s ready to go.  But for now, I am treasuring his lovely presence and his big brown eyes.  And he’s back out in the studio helping me make my dog breed pottery – by which I mean that he’s supervising my progress from his studio bed….in between naps.

Since Dante’s episode with vestibular disease, I’ve learned of two people I know well who’s pets have had this same condition, and one them had it around the same time as Dante.  So it must not be that uncommon but it was sure a new one on me.

Wishing you and your pets much health and love.

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Shepherds Grove Studio Goes Solar

sky-sunny-clouds-cloudy

My ceramic studio is attached to our family’s home and I love the convenience of being able to wander out to the studio anytime I want to work on my dog pottery.  The combination of our household and studio energy costs/consumption was a bit excessive so my husband and I began to think about solar.

If you’d asked me years ago if one could generate enough solar in our often foggy and overcast coastal town, I would have said no.  But after friends and neighbors started putting up solar, and reporting that the solar production was really good, we looked into it.  Our solar panels went up in July and, now that they’ve run for more than a month, we’re seeing really good output such that our electric consumption is negative.  Pretty darn cool.

I love the idea of my pottery being fired from the sun that hits our roof.  Plus, solar fits with my goals of wanting to run my studio as cleanly and efficiently as possible.  I already recycle most of my scrap clay, keep my water usage to a minimum, and use non-toxic materials to make my dog breed pottery.  The big test will come over the next couple months when holiday shopping drives my firing frequency to its peak.  It will be really interesting to compare last years bill with this years.

Until next time,

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