Sunday, December 28, 2014

The greatest gift

   I just received the most wonderful birthday gift imaginable: my good friend Joni went through all her photos of the adventures we've shared over the last few years, and she designed a book just for me. Every hike and every kayaking trip are there, surrounded by Joni's wonderful, whimsical illustrations of our pups.
   I have an idea of the amount of time and effort it took to put a book of this magnitude together, and it is beautiful. But the greatest gift that Joni gave me is the gift of her friendship, and now I have this tangible reminder of all the great times we have shared.
   Though these photos span only the last three years, we have already lost one of our human companions, and two of our dogs. A good reminder to live fully in the moment, because tomorrow is never promised--and for pets especially, their lives are always shorter than we would like.
   I've known Joni for many years; she was my second supervisor at Hallmark. Back then I had no idea of the magnitude of impact her friendship would have on me. She is a fellow artist willing to lend an eye, she is an expert dog trainer willing to help up my game, and she's practically a life coach. She has an amazing wealth of experiences she graciously shares. The days I have spent with her and her pack, both human and canine, are truly some of the very happiest days of my life. I am forever grateful for the gifts Joni has given me. And I'm sure I will grow to love this book evermore.