What a great response from Shellie Lewis to a heartfelt request!
Excellent artist, by the way — www.shellielewis.com
Emma’s Mailbox: A Blog Response
A Place to Love Dogs blog post cropped up on my personal Facey Book page since my BFFs all know me to be a dedicated hound hugger. A seven year old little girl, Jane, wrote an open letter request that was posted on this blog, a letter that asked for people to send “happy things” about an animal, any animal, that they had loved and had lost.
The letter has an eloquence to it; this girl isn’t asking for sympathy or a hand out, she’s asking for empathy and understanding. She wrote this in a way that shows interest in the positive offerings of others. Also, there is underlying interpretation [for me] that if others have loved an animal which died, it is only right that we grieve the loss; the love necessitates this grief. Not long ago, animals were not considered worthy of grief; previous generations held animals to be our inferiors, maybe some of that still exists in our culture. Regardless, empathy and connection help to anyone who has suffered a loss.
This letter really got to me because I know that pet loss is traumatic. I used a small little paper scrapbook and carried around some colored pencils and sketched out the story of Dolly, an old dog that I adopted and had for two and a half years before she died. I detailed the story of her joy of having an indoor home, the puppy I adopted to keep her company, her raids on the garden to eat tomatoes, her triumphant deterring of a burglar and her innate sense of knowing when to comfort a person in need.
Here are some of the drawings starting with a scan of the book’s cover. I drew an imaginary portrait of Emma, a yellow Labrador retriever, the dog lost to the family of Jane. I dropped the finished sketch book in the US Snail Mail today and hope that it is received with interest and enjoyment.
And I miss my Dolly one hundred million billion times over.