Hello world, I am sad. Yesterday, Georgia died.
Over sixteen years ago my niece Aubrey, while completing her first college year at Southern Georgia University, saw a puppy run into a street and nearly run over by a car. She scooped up the puppy, cleaned her up and not finding her home, brought her back to Vermont. I wasn’t looking to bring a pet into my life, though when Aubrey introduced the puppy to me, I realized her home would be mine.
Since then, Georgia has been part of my day-to-day life for almost all that time. I am grateful for her unwavering companionship, for the beauty she brought into my life and for all the doors she opened. The “doors” were places, experiences and people. Georgia expanded what it meant to be patient. She reminded me to look upward while seeing all the little elements of life … from the slight movement in a branch above or the invisible secrets found in a clump of grass, fence post and broken twig on the ground. When I felt lost, she helped ground me … for a short time, to be present.
Georgia loved people, anyone. She had more friends than I will ever have, most I did not know. From the UPS/FedEx/School Bus drivers who would stop to toss her a treat from their side door, to the tellers at the bank drive-through, or cashiers at dog-friendly stores who would walk from their stand to visit her. To the countless drivers who would stop and roll down their window or children who would brake their bikes or run up to say “I like your dog” (even though I never felt that she was “my” dog, she was everybody’s). And to anyone who broke out singing Ray Charles’ song “Georgia” when they met her.
People loved Georgia. I am grateful for all who helped to nurture and care for her. For Aubrey, who rescued her then delivered Georgia to my home. For Cindy, who cared for her when I needed to work during Georgia’s puppy years, introducing her to Shelburne Orchards (and by extension, bringing the Orchard into my life). For my parents who adored her, letting her roam their farm.
For Mike and Tristan, who kept her when I moved west until we could reunite. For Linda, her dog walker in Vancouver, Washington, providing fun and love during my days away at work. For Rob, who would give her his “finished” jars of peanut butter, which Georgia would clean out (once her teeth could no long chew bones, it was both an activity to engage her and meet an immeasurable appetite). For Rachel and Markus, her dog walkers these last six years, giving more love while I worked along with guidance as she aged, until her last day.
For Dan, who (before the pandemic) met us each Sunday. We would visit the local Ace Hardware store and their free popcorn machine, where Georgia was their “unofficial floor cleaner”, making quick work of any free-range popcorn that strayed, I would fill a bag and then walk to the banks of Bear Creek with Dan, all the while feeding Georgia like Hansel and Gretel.
For Connie, who has known Georgia almost all her life. Whose support and love were always there, to the point of throwing her body across Georgia when we were attacked by a Mastiff. Connie was there when Georgia died, I cannot imagine making it through the day without her.
This site and blog are about creating. Georgia was, in part, responsible for the resurrection of my desire to create. At a time in my life where I had lost the sight to paint, her connections with the world inspired me to open my eyes and start again. Her presence created great light. Her light created joy. A joy and love we will always have. Thank you Georgia.