Dear FETCH Friends:

History has never sparked a sense of wonder in me until lately. Over the last month or so, I have binge-watched every season/episode of “Reign” on Netflix (not to be funny), and I’ve become extremely attached to the characters, the plot and often find myself daydreaming of what it would have been like to live in the 16th century. Would I have been lucky enough to have been born into royalty, or would I have died in the streets of France with some type of plague? It’s fascinating to think about, isn’t it? Would I have been a man or a woman? Would I have had children? My kids give me a heart attack now when they get a slight fever, so I can’t even imagine surviving with kids during a time when the Black Death was lurking around every corner.

I can tell you one thing is for certain, I would have had a dog—my own stray to cuddle up with on cold dark nights—and someone to share my scraps of food with. Because there is one certainty in my world, and that is I can’t seem to live without a dog. Sophia (the dog pictured above) was a stray in Mexico. She followed me around a village for three weeks, sleeping outside the gated complex my friend and I stayed in. And each day when I awoke, she was right around the corner looking for me. She saw me as an easy target as I stood in that village—a victim of culture shock. It seemed as if I was the only person with a dog in my suitcase on the flight home.

But that’s all history now. Eight years later, Sophia is quite heavy and happy. She is a cherished member of my family and one of the best dogs I’ve ever had.

In this issue, FETCH explores and celebrates the rich history of dogs. Therefore, we are extremely proud to bring you, “Old World Dogs”—The History Issue.

To a past that has steered the course on a better understanding of canine companionship and its importance—one we definitely benefit from today,

This theme really resonates with me. I’ve always been an artsy person that finds peace in those precious moments when I am creating. From poetry to photography, from writing a story to collaging, I just find it so rewarding to create something that I consider to be an extension of who I am. And not to sound vain, I just can’t help but leave a piece of me everywhere I go. Dogs are a huge inspiration in my artwork. Why? Because they are a huge part of my life. They leave a lasting impression and are the ideal muse for me. A dog is truly your best friend. And they make perfect Alebrijes.

Note: A vet is just as much of an artist as a painter or musician…wouldn’t you agree? Anyone can be an artist. That’s why it is such a great theme. The type of art you create, the passion that drives you is completely subjective and not everyone will relate. But that’s ok. So I challenge you to let go this summer and make some art. You deserve a break!

To the art of living life your way,

NPutz

Dear FETCH Friends:

Feeling helpless and in a constant panic is how I would describe being “homeless.” And not just in the tangible sense of the word but rather the notion of not having a family. As I sit here writing this, both my kids are sick and my dad is in the ICU dying from cancer. I’ve never watched someone close to me die this way. My dog Tess and my other dog Gracie were both so unbelievably dear to me that watching them be euthanized will forever be trapped inside my heart and head. The pain I felt in those circumstances is now once again surfacing as I watch my father struggle to breathe. I feel like my heart is dying.

And then just like that, I snap back and remember to breathe. My daughter takes my hand and says, “Come on mommy, let’s go read a book.” I sigh in relief because for a moment I am present again and the joy in her voice takes precedence over the horrible stuff going on in and outside my home. The constant internal struggle between wanting to be by my dad’s side and wanting to be with my sick kids is very real and present. No matter where I am right now, I feel guilty and sad that I’m not with the other. But what I keep forgetting is that even though I am not physically present with everyone, my heart is.

When I’m with my kids, my heart and head are still with my father and vice versa. My home doesn’t only include everyone and every pet that is in close proximity to me.

It includes my dad in the ICU, it includes my sisters who live an hour drive away, it includes my dogs who have died and so on. A “home” encompasses a whole lot more than four walls and a door. It’s the individuals and animals that bring love and joy into our lives. And bring so much pain and sadness when they leave us. This conglomerate of emotions and experiences is what makes life worth living. Every being deserves a home.

To having a sense of “home” no matter where life takes you or your loved ones,

Dear FETCH Friends:

Since my kids were born, I have been told that they will be alright as long as they are loved! And as a mom of two kids with autism spectrum disorder, my automatic response inside my head is, “yeah right.” It takes so much more than just loving them to help them succeed. They need therapy, special toys, extra socialization, more routine and structure, etc. Most of all they need a strong and functional mom and dad. There are so many days I just get down on myself wondering what I did wrong. Because yes, I am that powerful to have caused this right? Ehh, wrong!

But aside from all the self-pity and isolation one may feel at times, isn’t the bottom line for getting them all of this “extra stuff” they need, love? Yes, it is! Love and support.

As long as most of us receive an adequate amount of love, recognition and support in our daily lives, we will continue to persevere throughout the day. Just knowing we are good at our jobs (even if we don’t like them) can be enough for us to show up. However, to perform above and beyond our own expectations, we need to know others appreciate us as well. We need continued support and recognition to really conquer the unexpected.

Regardless of my childrens’ disabilities, they will flourish in life. Why? Because God and other caring individuals (dogs especially) will help them in their darkest of times.

The way my son lights up when he is around our rescue pittie Sophia is just heartwarming. He always makes sure to hug and kiss her goodbye before going to school in the morning. And for that minute, he is present and experiencing joy.

Life is so unexpected. And appreciating those that love and support you in the toughest of times is incredibly important. We need others. We need our canine companions.

To exceeding beyond your own limitations,