These past couple of weeks have been a little rough, getting used to the loss of my beloved Boston, Adie. It’s still strange not having her here by my side every day, following me from room to room, especially by my bed when I wake up every morning.
This past week, her ashes were returned to us, which I knew would be a little rough, but when I saw they had included a set of her pawprint impressions, I broke down all over again. I had gotten an imprint of her nose before she passed, but I didn’t think to get one of her paws. I didn’t think I even needed one, but it was such a lovely surprise, it makes me smile.
There are several ways I’ve been trying to feel better. I’ve been drawing portraits of her before she was ill, because I knew it’d be hard afterward. I tried drawing her later, but it was difficult, and made me sad, and just didn’t look right. So I went to a different medium, and tried embroidery, stitching this little portrait of her, surrounded by her favorite thing, popcorn.
I loved spending time with all the little pieces of her face. I like that the popcorn ended up looking like little flowers, in a way.
Someone on Instagram sent me a message, saying “maybe you could make one of your Dream Creepers for yourself that looks a little like Adie?” It was a good sign, as I had already been tossing the idea around for a little while. I chose the fabric, something soft (because Dream Creepers make great neck pillows for long trips), and my husband helped me put it all together.
If you look closely, you can even see I added a little something on her snooter: a little foil heart on her nose, sealed in resin. She ALWAYS had something on her snooter from sniffing the floor for crumbs, and people used to laugh at my photos with the same caption over and over again: “Adie, you’ve got something on your snooter.”
I started to realize that those funny moments, the ones that made me smile, were where the healing was. The best memories were the happy ones, and instead of dwelling on how much I missed her, I started remembering all the funny things.
Recently I visited a friend who is a tattoo artist. Annie and I have known each other for awhile, and she knew how special Adie is to me. She drew up the most perfect design of Adie with her favorite thing–popcorn–and added a piece to her snooter. She tattooed it on me, and I was floored at how wonderful it looked (because Annie is an amazing artist). I love it immensely, and I love that I get to carry her little happy face with me wherever I go. Instead of being a super serious portrait, it makes me smile.
Like the time I sculpted a goofy portrait of her, and she was less than impressed…
One of the biggest realizations for me was this portrait I drew. Initially, I wanted to draw her sitting in her “old man” pose, with her little pink belly hanging out, which always made me smile. But it ended up looking sad.
…Until I added a fart. Because my hairy girl could clear a ROOM. You wouldn’t expect something so small would make a smell so obnoxious, but it always made me laugh as I was gasping for air. And it didn’t bother her in the slightest.
So that helped a lot. For some reason, something like that goofy drawing makes me instantly remember the funny side of her, and makes me feel happy. It wasn’t something I expected, but I’m grateful for it, that something so little helped me heal with a smile.
And in a perfect moment of great timing, my husband sent me this image, which happened to be in his Instagram feed DIRECTLY after my post of how a little toot-doodle made me smile again…
And it’s the truth.
I had to say goodbye to my sweet dog this week, and my heart is broken. It’ll get better in time, but it hurts a lot right now. I won’t flood you with every detail of my dog’s life, but I wanted to share the process of my memory bracelet, and how I made a mold of Adie’s snooter.
Adie was 11 years old and had been sick for awhile, and battled both cancer and seizures. And while medication was helping, I didn’t realize my remaining time with her would be as short as it was. In the very end, I held her face and kissed her snooter, but she had had so many seizures that her little body couldn’t handle it. She was already gone before they told me she was gone.
Adie (named “Awesome Dude” after a line from an SNL skit–A.D. for short) was my baby before I had a baby. She was pretty sure SHE was my baby, too….
She was a tiny thing when we first got her, only 2 pounds (and rescued from what I’m pretty sure was a puppy mill), and we brought her home with worms and ear mites, and made her good as new. She grew up around our gentle boxer, Scout, who was so sweet and careful with her, that Adie lived her life assuming she was as BIG as her.
She licked my face constantly, because I loved her doggy-kisses. She followed me EVERYWHERE. She cuddled with me CONSTANTLY. She had to sit by me ALWAYS. And she could clear a room with her toots.
She loved me, and I loved her, and she made me smile. She was a food-junkie, and constantly sniffed our floors looking for any possible scraps of food…which left her inevitably with some random scraps of paper or dirt stuck to her nose. Family would laugh when I’d post a picture with the simple caption–over and over and over again through the years: “Adie, you’ve got something on your snooter.”
I had the feeling she was getting pretty bad. We made an appointment to talk to the vet, hopefully about upping her medicine to help with the seizures. I started thinking of the worst, and what sort of thing I’d want to remember her by.
She didn’t wear her collar at home, so I didn’t have an emotional attachment to it. I’ve seen art made from whiskers or toenails, but that just didn’t seem like my thing. What I was going to miss most of all was kissing her little snooter.
I looked around the internet, and found that there are artists on Etsy that would send you a moldmaking kit, you’d send it back to them with an impression of your dog’s nose, and they’d make a lovely piece of metal jewelry. It’s a beautiful thing, but I wondered, since I have worked with moldmaking and resin, if that would be something I could do myself. I didn’t find much online, so I thought I’d walk you through the process I had of making my own, for those of you who wanted to give it a whirl, or–like me and Adie–whose time was short.
1. First off, I got this Amazing brand mold putty at our local craft store. It’s a nontoxic 2-part quick-curing mold formula. As you can see in the top right of the box, it comes in two tubs. You pinch equal parts of each, and squoosh them together in a ball and mix it until it doesn’t have any streaks in it. You have to work fairly quickly, as it starts setting once it’s completely mixed.
2. Next, I held Adie gently, and quickly pressed the ball up against her nose, making sure to keep her mouth open to breathe. She was tired and lethargic anyway, and didn’t seem to mind much. She just kind of let me hold it there for awhile, and if you press gently (not completely squooshing), you should be able to pull away after awhile with a decent nose print.
3. So here’s a picture of the nose print (minus a few shedded hairs–don’t worry, it didn’t hurt her at ALL and she’s shed WAY more than that in a day–but maybe be more careful if your dog has long hairs). Next up, I set the mold carefully in a messy container (because I knew it would be messy) and poured my resin mix in it, waiting for it to cure (the kind I got takes around 10 minutes).
4. And here’s the little resin cast of Adie’s lovely little snooter. I used my little hand-held dremel sander and shaped the edges into a smooth sort of oval.
5. Next up, I painted it solid black. I didn’t want it to be realistic or anything; this is just an undercoat of acrylic paint, in preparation for the next step.
6. I found this water-based Metallic Lustre by DecoArt in “Iced Espresso” to match the wrist bracelet setting I had found at the craft store, and painted it over the black.
7. Look how pretty! The black undercolor really makes the details pop.
8. Here is the blank bracelet base I found at the craft store. There are several options you can choose…this one is a leather adjustable band with a flat panel to glue things on. I knew I didn’t really want a necklace–I felt like it’d be comforting and easier to give her snooter a kiss if I wanted to, to have it on a bracelet.
It’s glued on with E6000, and I later went back and sealed it in clear resin, to avoid scratching it up (which is what happened the first day I wore it, even though it had been sealed with clear varnish).
And there it is. And two days later, she was gone. And I miss her so much, but I’m so glad I had a chance to do this.
Whatever people need to do to grieve, as long as they’re not hurting anyone else, it’s okay. There’s no “right” way to remember a loved one. For me, having a mold of her little kissable nose around isn’t nearly as good as her real nose, but it helps the hurt a little.
Myla handled it well. We cried a lot about it. She asked if I could make her a bracelet too. (The next day, a kid at school asked if she cut her dogs’s nose off….because kids can be insensitive jerks sometimes.)
So there you go. I miss my sweet Adie. I miss the spot by my bed where she slept. I keep looking down and forgetting she’s not there. It’s weird feeding only one dog instead of two, and the boxer isn’t NEARLY as excited about food as Adie was. It’s strange sitting on the couch and not having her snuggled up against my side.
I miss kissing her little face.
I got so many kind words over on Instagram about losing my sweet Adie. She made people giggle in the IG Story posts I made of her whining while she was waiting for dinner (two hours early). And many people asked me about the process of making the bracelet.
It’s not the same as having her back, but hopefully, if you’ve got a hairy baby, you can make a nose mold too, and have a snooter around to kiss goodbye.
Goodbye, sweet Adie.