Over Thanksgiving break, I had to make so many goodbyes.

To my childhood stuffed animals, the ones I didn’t want to let go, but the ones I knew I wouldn’t really take anywhere with me. So, I gave them away instead.

To the pajama shorts my mom bought for me at Walmart in third grade, the ones that surprisingly fit me all the way to twelfth grade. Even though they still fit, it was time to throw them out when they were ripping away at their fragile seams.

To the room I spent weekends in at my grandparents’ house growing up, Now, it’s being remodeled. Things that meant so much to me back then are meaningless now, packed away in stacked boxes.

But there was one goodbye I haven’t made yet, because I’m too scared to accept the fact that now might be the time I need to say goodbye.

And that’s to my dog. When I was in first grade and my mom went to pick me up from school, she told me she had a surprise for my sister and I. The first thing that came to my mind was candy, but when she was opening the back door to the car, I was not expecting my sister to be holding a six-month-old, Rhodesian Ridgeback-German Shepherd mix puppy rescued from the pound.

Now, twelve years later, that dog is still in my life, but so much has changed.

It started with him being by my side every single day.

Then, when I moved away, I could only visit on weekends.

Then, life went on and visits turned into rare occasions when I’d go to my grandparents house. When I’d enter the house, he’d come running up to me, barking, and wagging his tail.

Now, he’s still there, but he’s older. He doesn’t run, not because he doesn’t want to, but because he can’t. He still follows me around the house, though, his tail still wagging. It’s still wagging even when he lies down, but the pain is still there. It’s obvious and it hurts me knowing it hurts him.

Having pets is one of the most joyful and painful parts about life. Because they bring so much joy, so many happy memories, but, also, so much pain when they’re gone.

But, he fought so hard for so long and I know that it’d be selfish to hold on longer. That if he needs to go and it’s his time, then he should. He should know that he was the best dog I’ve ever had the privilege to have.

I didn’t say goodbye. I gave millions of kisses and hugs, but my goodbye was temporary. It held a promise that I’d be back to see him again, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep that promise.  I don’t know how long he’ll be around and I don’t know how long it’ll be until I visit again.

I’m so scared to say goodbye, so I won’t. I’ll say I love my dog. I’ll say I’m thankful that he lived with me throughout my life and that he is so strong for fighting though he doesn’t have to. And that he’ll always be the best dog, my dog, no matter what happens.

Photo Credit:

Small room, big art.

(Over the summer, I visited a small art studio called “Mascot” at the East Village in New York City. Within a small room, the artist was creating great art.)

The compelling window display is only an intro of this remarkable studio.

The real beauty is revealed behind the door, inside a small room of 250 square ft. with colorful portraits of animals and natural landscapes hanging on the walls.

Since 1982, Mascot Studio has been a landmark in the East Village, which was originally a painting space, and is now established at its present storefront location at 328 East Ninth Street.

For the past 25 years, the studio has continued to offer the variety of artworks from different artists and also personal service to the custom framing.

Peter McCaffrey, the owner of the studio, made the ambience of the room even more like home. The works speak out that McCaffrey was born to be an artist.

He demonstrates the insight of art through his own life experience.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1956, Peter McCaffrey studied at the State Universities of New York at Buffalo and Farmingdale, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1979.

Unlike other galleries or studios, Mascot is particularly known for its eye-catching window displays which invite the passerby to enter the store’s charming ambience.

The studio not only exhibits and sells paintings, but also provides an unusual selection of custom moldings, vintage frames and mirrors, prints and photography.

The theme of nature and the animal world becomes one of the attractive highlights of the studio, which embodies original drawings and paintings by McCaffrey and other artists, mostly from the neighborhood.

The spiritual works of animals, however, became one of the most essential parts of the studio.

Something special about Mascot is its unique “Annual Dog Show.”
Starting in 1999, Peter McCaffrey has curated the “Annual Dog Show” in honor of our canine friends, and opens during the week of the Westminster Kennel Club Show here in New York in February.

The idea was inspired by Anne Watkins, a watercolor painter whose works were posted in the magazine “The Bark – Dog is My Co-Pilot.

Watkins’ works focus on animals, especially dogs’ portraits. She works from life, using watercolor to capture and represent animals’ daily moments.

Within such a small space, people come in and visit the works including paintings, photographs and sometimes sculptures, a full collection of artists’ visions on dogs.

The last Dog Show was held at Madison Square Garden on Valentine’s Day. The show was opened to everyone and there were also works for sale.

Mascot Studio has remained unique as an artist-run business settled in the Big Apple.
Summer days are quiet for the studio, but it never slows down for McCaffrey.

“It is not easy being an artist in NY these days,” McCaffrey said. “The cost of living is high here, so many artists have moved to the outer boroughs.”

The East Village is still a very diverse neighborhood with rare and expensive studio spaces.

“Commercial rents like my studio/store are not regulated so I feel my days are numbered,” said McCaffrey. “Making a living only on one’s work is difficult.”

However, this artistic heart would will be knocked down from of the tough conditions.

“It is part of my nature to want to keep making art,” McCaffrey said. “And it is very satisfying when I am in that ‘zone’ of creativity, It is like meditation which takes practice and discipline.”

Dogs Really Are a Mans Best Friend

My family has always had a dog around. In almost every memory of mine, one of our dogs is present. They are as much a part of the family as my little brothers, and a lot easier to get along with.

When we lived in London, we got a labrador retriever named Hattie, which was the first dog my younger brother was introduced to. My dad knew well before getting the dog that Peter was terrified of them, and well, he figured the best remedy for that would be to give him no choice.


Unfortunately for Peter, Hattie took a particular liking to him. She used to chase him around the house and tackle him to the ground, and then spend a good amount of time licking him. At first, Peter was not very pleased. Eventually, you could hear his shrieks of laughter from a mile away, and he became the dog lover of the family. More so than the rest of us that is.

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Thanksgiving Dog Adventures

Alright guys I’m really coming up with nothing to entertain, but if you like dogs enjoy these pictures. Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!

Click the link ^^^ , but don’t listen to the message it is portraying. Turkey is delicious.

So for months I had been talking with a friend about how our dogs should have a “play date” because we both though they’d get along.

Over break we decided to get them together with our other friends’ dog.

I feel like I am talking about myself in like 1o years when we all have children getting together…. anywho we took the dogs to the park and let them meet each other and then off to the dog park to run around and play with sticks.

Now enjoy these pictures of dogs drinking water and playing with sticks. 🙂

Silly Ella drinking water like a person (above)

Kai “The Best Dog Ever” Shiffman trying to attack the water

He decided the water was no threat and that he could then drink it

Very proud of his stick which he is guarding from a greedy Ella who took every stick from Kai

Dog Couture

Archie wanted to sit up front

Well folks this sums up how the end of my break went.

I just wrote a blog about our dogs playing in the park and allowed you to look at pretty pictures……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..dots are interesting.

Have a good one!

Nine One One

It was just a regular sunday night until it wasn’t.

I was sitting at home with a friend enjoying some pizza after playing Madden 13 when all of a sudden my sister bursts in the door yelling.

I was sitting at the table and she rushed in telling me that there is a huge fire right behind a property that we rent out.

She said that she drove by and called 9-1-1 and told them that there was a very large fire and told them the location.

After finishing dinner my Dad and I decided we should probably make sure our property was not on fire and that our storage was ok.

After we had determined our stuff was in no imminent danger and had a talk with our renters we wanted to check it out.

We walked down a long stretch of driveway to see a house engulfed in flames, making loud popping noises like something was exploding, and a firetruck parked right in the middle of two trees.

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Don’t Leave Me.

The warmness in your eyes
Just like how the sun shines
Remember the day we first met
You bit
On my old furry carpet

I always tell you my thoughts
You always sit patiently on the stairs
Although you never speak
But you gently lick
On my left chubby cheek

Chasing a ball
Running in the hall
Come to me happily when I call
With your shaking tail
That’s our life
For all

We had our precious decade
But now you can’t even stand
With your paw in my hand
For the tears that I shed
Don’t leave me
Don’t make it the end.

Finny Tales

Those of you who attend the Ojai Valley School may have heard of, or perhaps even been lucky enough to encounter, the dog Fin. Fin is no ordinary dog. He belongs to the head of the girls dorm, Ms. Megan, and it is perhaps from her that he has acquired his original qualities.

My first encounter with Fin took place the first week of school, during a dorm meeting. Ms. Megan’s sister was recalling a cautionary tale of how, one day, she was bending down in order to give him a loving cuddle, and was snapped at in the close proximity of her face. It was at this point I decided I would avoid Fin at all costs.

For those of you who don’t know, and I’m guessing the majority of you don’t, I am a dog lover. In fact, I love all animals (except insects and snakes, but let’s face it, not very many people like them either). However, the thought of being bit in the face, even if the dog is toothless, is not particularly pleasing to me.

Unfortunately, my plan to avoid what I thought was a dangerous dog did not exactly follow through. One night, which was an especially terrible night, the fire alarm in the girls dorm decided to go off an amazing three times. Now imagine the fire alarm from your high school, the nightmarish one that never stops. Then imagine yourself sleeping peacefully, only to be startled awake and pulled from your cozy bed for a fire drill. We were not happy.

The first time the alarm went off that night, there was chaos as all the girls attempted to go through two doors at once. Ms. Megan was standing off to the side in one of the hallways, ushering us along. For some reason, probably just because I was the closest one to her, she thrust Fin’s leash into my hands and told me to take him outside.

Deciding to put on a brave face, I held Fin at arms length and escorted him to the outside. Instead of ruthlessly attacking me, as I foolishly expected, Fin huddled against my legs and looked up at me with the sweetest puppy dog eyes one will ever see. Besides my two dogs back home, because well, no one can beat them. Not even Fin.

At that precise moment my resolve to avoid Fin dissolved, and I instead decided that he would be my best friend. Of course, surrounded by amazing people at school and in classes, that did not exactly happen. However, whenever I do see the wonderful dog Fin, he brightens my day.

Without even meaning to, I have become that annoying person who uses the baby voice when around animals. I promise I only do it with Fin. I won’t lie, there are a few exceptions. I also bend down and scratch his head.

When he’ll let me that is.

But the lesson contained within the ramble of this story is not that Fin is a nice dog, even though he is. The lesson is that you should make decisions about whether or not you want to be around someone based on your own experiences, not someone else’s.