Monday, April 11, 2016

My Warrior Dog - Cheyenne

Each April I feel a little sad, as I recall saying good-bye to Cheyenne 6 years ago.
This year, instead of reliving the sadness, I am going to tell you how great he was.

I rescued Cheyenne from the Regina Humane Society in Sept. 2000. He was 6 months old and had been locked up for the first 6 months of his life. He was a scared little boy. Driving back from Regina to my acreage he stayed curled up and whimpered the whole trip. I thought "Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?"

I put him in the sunroom which was to be his bedroom. He had his own full sized couch, food and water and lots of windows. The next morning, when I looked at my dog, I saw a total transformation. He was alert, curious and full of joy. Taking him outside the first few days was quite funny. It was all new to him. He was curious about butterflies, he hopped the hills chasing grasshoppers and literally smelled the flowers.  Look out for the bees!

I quickly became aware of what a gift Cheyenne was. His intelligence was none that I had ever experienced with a dog before. I would tell him something once or twice and he just GOT IT. I didn't train him. He just knew. He picked up on the slightest nuances, often knowing what I was going to do - before I did. He had an old soul of a re-incarnated swami.

We became quite the team in the Qu'Appelle Valley. My dog was always with me. His job was to protect. I had no problem leaving my vehicle unlocked with my purse in it, as long as Cheyenne was there. You know that old Peter Sellers movie where they say "Does your dog bit?" "Yes, my dog does bite - if he doesn't know you." As soon as I would tell him "It's O.K." then he would relax.

He quickly warmed the heart of my mother, who would say "No dogs allowed in the house. O.K. maybe he can stay in the porch. " Next thing you know, he was in the kitchen and it didn't take long till he was stretched out on the living room carpet doing some doggie yoga moves. "But don't tell the others", mom would say. I recall one Christmas when there were three dogs bounding across the furniture in the living room, and my mother just threw her arms in the air and laughed.

He was also the avenger of all things unjust. If a neighbourhood dog was getting picked on by another dog, he would quickly take down the bully. He also did his best to keep the coyotes off the property, often chasing them down the road. Cows were allowed only on the other side of the fence.

When I went to Mexico for a month and left him at the farm, I must say I was a bit concerned. My nephews were young and I feared that he might bite them if they got too rough. I obviously had nothing to worry about, as Cheyenne had such a gentle side to him.

My neighbours Ken and Irene absolutely LOVED Cheyenne and he loved them too. On another trip to Mexico I left Cheyenne with them for a few weeks. On my return, I went to pick him up and Irene said "I hope you don't mind, but since it was his last night with us, we gave him a burger for dinner and ice cream for dessert." No I didn't mind. There was a bit of a hesitation from Cheyenne when I told him it was time to go home. He was probably thinking, "Hm, maybe I could just stay one more night?"

Cheyenne got cancer. When I had to say goodbye to my beautiful dog, it was one of the hardest things I have had to do. You may say that I rescued Cheyenne - but in truth he rescued Me.

Thanks Cheyenne!

(oh dear, and now I am starting to cry).

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Monday, April 4, 2016

12 Steps - The Art of Packaging ART

When shipping artwork, I like to go above and beyond when it comes to the packaging. Perhaps it comes from my government employee years of working in the mail room. I like to ensure that the artwork will arrive safely.

Here are my 12 easy steps in the "Art of Packaging."

 1) When packaging acrylic paintings, I always place Reynolds parchment paper on the top side of the paintings. This gives a layer between it and the cardboard, without sticking. (must be Reynolds as it is the only one that I know of that contains silicone)

 2) Cut a sheet of cardboard the same size as the painting, and place this on top of the first painting.

 3) In this case, the second painting is smaller then the first, but the same applies. First Reynolds parchment, then the artwork goes front to front on top of the larger painting. I always like to send a few cards of the image, plus my contact information placed in a plastic sleeve at the back of the painting. It's a great marketing practice.

 4) I have rolls of plastic that I wrap around both paintings, making them nice and secure.

 5) I find a box that is slightly larger then the biggest piece. If the box is oversize you will need to cut it down, which is what I've done. You want to have at least an inch on all sides of the paintings. Do a rough pack for positioning and height.

 6) Cut a piece of cardboard to fit snugly on top of the paintings for protection. You don't want to have any wiggle room.

 7) Measure the distance from the top of the cardboard (step # 6)  to the top of the flap. Mark with a pen. This will help you figure out your fold line to create the box. As Norm on This Old House would say, measure twice and cut once.

 8) Remove the paintings from the box. With a crochet hook, and ruler, I make a score line around all four sides of the inside of the box.With an exacto knife carefully cut down the corner, to the score line.

 9) Carefully fold in all sides of the box. You are almost done.

 10) Place the paintings back in the box. Put the packing around the sides. Remember to place the cardboard on top of that.

11) Fold in the two end pieces first. Secure with tape. Then fold in the sides. Everything should be nice and tight. Don't spare on the tape. I like to go at least twice around the entire box with tape going over the label. Remember to tape the corners as well.

12) Last but not least, I add some bright fragile stickers. This package is ready to go to the post office for shipping, and insurance. Any questions?

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...