Six months before her ninth birthday in May 2002, Nessi was diagnosed with kidney failure. At the time, her vet said she would only live a couple of weeks. I researched naturopathic diets, vitamins and nutrients that have been shown to help the immune system in dogs whose kidneys are failing. I talked to vets all over the U.S. Finally, I had enough information and I put together a special diet and took my research to my vet. The diet I suggested passed my vet’s scrupulous requirements. I began making her home-cooked meals that included feeding her only the freshest chicken, eggs and fish, plus assorted vitamins. Nessi lived an additional six months beyond what our vet thought she was physically capable of.
Her last months with me were spent sharing all of the special activities that she loved most in life: car rides, visiting her canine friends, rolling in the grass. Her last wishes were my first choices. Unfortunately time marches on, I may have successfully extended her time on earth, but no one can stop the march of time.
I knew fate was catching up with us. Some people would put their love to words. I put mine to paint. During the last week of life with Nessi, I created this water-media painting. It is called “Friend for Life.” This work describes our experiences together. Nessi passed on at the end of October 2002. Creating this painting helped me to deal with my loss. In this work I have a memorial not to her death, but rather to her life and our exceptionally fun experiences together.
Thank you for allowing me this moment to share my memories of this long lost friend. But fear not for I am not alone. Two years later, Big Dawg Bella Blue tumbled into my life and now I share my journey with a new furry friend and muse!
Elise Meredith Beattie is professional artist in Paducah, Ky. For the past 29 years, she has shared her life with one blue Great Dane or another. Baroness Blue (Nessi) was her best pal, constant companion, confidant and model from 1993 to 2002. embart.com
"Friend for Life" courtesy of Elise Meredith Beattie.