I didn't know whether to laugh or cry

Lately, I've been really struggling to settle in to North Tawton. I realised the other day that the only reason we moved here is because it was the only house we could find in Devon that would let us bring Shadow.

Now he's not here, the niggles of doubt I had about the lack of public transport amongst other stuff have just exploded and becoming major issues for me.

I'm really down all the time and I get so upset so easily, I'm worried that it's going to affect me at work. I don't really want to talk to people just because I know they're going to upset me and you kinda need to be tough there. It's not like I'm helping my self either, I just seem to listen to a lot of depressing Morrissey shit.

I feel guilty about feeling this way, most people save up their entire lives to live the country life not to mention it's a lifelong dream for Phil to move back here. Maybe it's the grief and shock of witnessing my dog's death that has kicked everything off.

We finally got his ashes back yesterday it was quite sad, I felt awkward for my friend, who was visiting for a few days, seeing me upset. His ashes came back in a beautiful wooden urn with a little flower arrangement by an engraving of his name.

Like I said, my friend Chris came to visit for a few days we went to a Chinese restaurant which was really good, I've missed Chinese! It was nice to get out around Devon, except when we arrived at Plymouth it was a shithole. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry because we thought about moving to Plymouth until we were told we were better off staying in Wigan.


...And then there were four.

When I was a little girl, when most other little girls were playing "house", I was pretending I had some sort of animal best friend. For most of my childhood it was my beloved cockerspaniel toy called "Lady" after the other famous cockerspaniel of the same name.

While other little girls were planning their wedding days, I was dreaming of owning a dog who was just as devoted to me as I was to it.
Now, after watching countless "Lassie" episodes, my heart was set on a Shetland Sheepdog, I was in awe of her [Lassie was, infact always played by a male] loyality but as I got older, I realised the length of the coat wasn't something I was keen to keep on top of.

Then, after watching Flipper and Free Willy, I wanted either or, again, because of their devotion to their child friends, even to this day I don't know how I thought I could pull off having a whale in my bath! I was downright obsessed with finding that perfect animal companion. You can see in most of these pictures that my adoration for all things great and small was immense.

I have vague recollections of owning countless rabbits in my early years. I think the first ever pet I had was a huge French Lop earred Rabbit not unlike the picture below, his name escapes me but I remember being heartbroken when my dad found him dead in the valley below our house.

When I was four, we adopted a beautiful ginger tom cat, imaginatively named Amber. He was around four years old too and oh my lord, did I enjoy having a cat the same age as me. At the time I was hooked on The Rescuers and, as he resembled Rufus, I tried and failed to carry him like Penny did in the film:

He used to sleep in my bed but he would end up hogging it and I remember there being more than one time where I was up for hours figuring out how to move him off my bed without him scratching me.

I must say he was the most gentle cat but, one day I chauved him to no end and he scratched me so hard I had a fear of him until I was ten, when a few years earlier, my mother was backing out her car and RAN HIM OVER resulting in him having a dead back leg. Fast forward back to 1995 and he was having a lot of problems with his leg which ended with an amputation.

During his recovery he had to sleep in my room with me as my parents did not want him in their room and my sisters was too small. His recovery helped my fear of him scratching me again, but it wasn't until my teens that I appreciated him as a gentle creature. He died ten days before my twentieth birthday, I will always be grateful that my first "real" [and by real I meant lived in the house instead of a hutch in the garage] pet was with me throughout my childhood and my teenhood. It was a heartfelt rite of passage that he died on the cusp of my adult life as if to say:

"you're on your own kiddo, you don't need me anymore".

In 1993, although my parents swore it was 1996 [I read her papers and I remember her DOB as September 10th 1992] I thought my prayers had been answered. We were getting a dog! I was sooo excited. I remember begging for a Dobermann which to this day is a breed I would still like to own.
My parents were under the assumption that big dogs equated to mauled children so they played it safe and got a West Highland White Terrier pup, a bitch no less as females were supposed to be more maternal.
My dreams had come true, I would finally have a loyal companion. Oh how I was wrong. Poppy was a law unto herself. My parents had no real knowledge of training dogs and therefore she was not well trained at all. She had her occassional loving moments, but it was on her terms. She came back when SHE wanted to, and she ran rings around us. In 2000 she ran away not returning until 6am the next day. My mother, being the heartless cow she is, drove her straight to the pound and I never saw her again.

I still begged my parents for a Doberman but they downright refused "when you move out you can have whatever pet you want. So I did. First, I got the black kitten I had been craving for a while, then a few months later I got a beautiful tortoise shell who loves the bones off me and I her. But cats, they are very solitary and they sleep for 21 hours a day and, while I had two loving moggies, I still wanted that loyalty from a dog.

On the 4th November 2008, Shadow came into our lives aged 10 weeks old. We didn't hit it off too well at first for I stood on his tail while we were at the breeders. We sat up all night watching the US elections and I was mesmerised by him, I knew we would go on to have a very special bond, the kind I hoped for. And we did.

Although it was not for long, in Shadow, was my protector, friend and fellow conspirator against my husband, all in gest I may add, we were like Turner and Hooch but without the initial hatred, or the crime fighting. High fiving when our latest trick at annoying Phil pulled off.

I have always wanted five members in my family, if I were to have kids, I want two boys and a girl. I had three pets, two males and a female and the Burton household was complete

...And then we become four, and my whole world fell apart.


My family feels incomplete

It's nearly been 24 hours since Shadow left this world. We are both walking zombies.

I have never seen Phil cry and to see him break down every half an hour crying is unbearable. There is an atmosphere in this house that I do not like at all. The house feels cold and empty and I wonder if it will ever change into the house it was before yesterday's events. It still hasn't hit me properly that he has passed one thing for sure, is that my family feels incomplete without him.

Shadow is coming home in two weeks. I thought it would be sooner, we have never spent more than a few hours away from each other. These two weeks will be the longest of our lives as we feel we can have some closure when he returns. Thinking about bringing him home breaks my heart.

We've been sobbing so much these past 23 hours that, when we think we have no tears left, we either think we hear him or we smell him and the sobbing starts again. I did not expect there to be so much sorrow so soon after the move.

If there's one thing that I admire, it's the unity that Phil and I share as we lie in bed and weep for our friend as we play over the events of yesterday. He has been a tower of strength for me and I hope that he can say the same about me.

I just can't get it in to my head that Shadow was fine that morning and 9 hours later we were saying our goodbyes. We did our little routine where I say in a stupid voice "What are YOU doing?!" and he stuck his tongue out and wagged his tail, then went for a shit.

I feel guilty that we didn't see what the prognosis would have been like today, but he had been seizuring for a couple of hours from when we found him, to when he was put to sleep and no matter how much I wish for this, and I wish for that, there was nothing anyone could do for him.

We said our goodbyes and he sat up and for that moment seemed normal then his eyes rolled back and he started seizing again. It would have been cruel to keep him alive.

Watching a loved one go through a seizure is terrifying and I couldn't give him a proper goodbye as I was so scared watching him seize. I wanted to hold him and hug him and kiss him but I just crouched beside him and babbled on about how he was a good lad... Served us well.

I am extremely grateful that Phil thought nothing of being there for his friend in his time of need when I couldn't.

I will never feel safe at night knowing he is not there to "go protect the kingdom" as we often told him to do before we went to bed and he'd have a scan round the house, with such purpose, making sure everyone was safe and there were no burglars around.

We honestly believed he would see us well into our thirties, I had always looked forward to turning thirty with my beloved German Shepherd at my side, at least now, he can spend the rest of our days with us in some sort of physical form.


The light that burned twice as bright burned half as long

It is with great sadness that I have to report Shadow's death today due to a seizure that he couldn't come round from.

Shadow was our friend, our companion, protector of our kingdom, whose unconditional love for his family showed no boundaries during his short life and for that we will never forget him.

RIP Shadow, You Are The Light That Burned Twice As Bright But Burned half As Long.


Project 365

Today, I have reached the six month mark of my Project 365, Since January 1st I've been taking photo's everyday and I upload one to deviantART.

I never thought I would make it this far in. I once read that around 85% of people who start the project don't make it past the 27th day.

"Yep that'll be me!"

I have very little creativity or rather, the creativity I have is taking it's time to show its self. I'm definately seeing improvements in my creativity and how I work my camera. It's not always spot on but the good stuff, I'm really proud of

June 30th

June 25th

June 27th