Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pet Funeral

Mr. Spock lays on his wooly blanket with a slipper snuggled against him. He looks like he is sleeping.

His "mama," Julia Giles, bends over the casket that holds him, crying and telling him how much she loves him and how much she’ll miss him.

This is her chance to say goodbye to the 11-year-old long-haired German shepherd that has been her companion since he was 8 weeks old.

She knew he was sick. She knew his time was coming, but she hoped she would be there when it happened. Instead, she received a call from her husband Randy on a recent Sunday when she was in Argentina.

Randy knew it was time. Mr. Spock hadn’t really moved all day. He wasn’t himself. Randy called Julia, held the phone to his friend’s furry black ear and let Mr. Spock hear his mama’s voice one more time.

Shortly after, Mr. Spock died in Randy’s arms.

"What do I do now," Randy thought to himself.

He found Pet Reverend Arlene Ponack through the Internet.

"Arlene took control of the situation and handled it for me," Giles says. "It was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time."

She contacted Pets at Peace, a pet funeral home affiliated with Fuller Funeral Home in Naples, that just opened on Tamiami Trail East. Licensed funeral director Brian Laurent arrived at the Giles’ Golden Gate home to take the dog in less than two hours.

"We’re handling your pets the same way we would handle a member of your human family," Laurent says.

During the service (the first at the funeral home), Ponack reads a poem: "With my pal gone, my side is bare. Just looking down, he is not there."

Randy and Julia sit in on a bench in front of the casket. They lean on one another and occasionally bend down to pet Tribble, the 7-year-old female German shepherd that was Mr. Spock’s mate.

She whimpers and then lays her head on the ground.

After the service, the Giles’ spend some time remembering Mr. Spock. He was plagued with illness for most of his life, but made up for his physical problems with a sharp mind.

He knew how to unscrew the caps off of soda bottles. He knew how to unlock and open the door. And he knew how to make his mama do something by grabbing her most expensive pair of shoes.

"The thing we enjoyed most about him was how he learned to love us and how he made us feel so content when he was around," Randy says. "He had sort of a magical affect on people, especially his mom and dad."

The funeral gave Mr. Spock the send off his parents felt he deserved and the time they needed to say goodbye.

"It helped my wife and I somehow get through the grief we’re still feeling," Randy says. "It is a Godsend."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

And... another

I know I've already posted so many pictures of this baby, but I really love these pictures. Rebekah is such a pretty girl and doesn't have the scrunched look that so many newborns have. :) I also wanted to post a personal, yet public, message to Sarah and Scott.

Dear Sarah and Scott,
Thank you so much for asking me to photograph the birth of Rebekah. It is the single most important event I have ever photographed. Thank you for trusting me to be there. Thank you for allowing me to witness what will possibly be the single most important moment in YOUR lives. I can't tell you how touched and honored I feel to have been there. I love you both so much and I already love Rebekah so much.

Sarah, in all the time we've known each other, I knew you were nurturing just in the way you have fostered our friendship, the way you have listened and the way you have cared for everyone around you. But Friday, I watched that nurturing turn in to something so natural for you. You became a mother. And in the first seconds of Rebekah's life, anyone watching could tell that this is the life you were made for. It's like your own mother said to me, "Sarah was born to be a mother." She's right.

I can't wait to watch Rebekah grow and to watch as you and Scott become amazing parents.

The Dussault Family

Sarah woke up at 8 a.m. Friday with contractions, arrived to the hospital around 11 a.m. and delivered at 12:03 p.m. All I can say, is she must have done everything right to be blessed with such a short labor. I'm just glad I didn't miss it. I walked in to the room after arriving at the hospital in Coral Springs from Naples ten minutes before Rebekah came in to the world. Here are a few (approved) pics. :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Rebekah Lynn Dussault

She takes the middle names of both her parents. And she is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Sarah did amazing, and as soon as I sift through all of the pictures (and get the approval from the mommy about how graphic they can be), I will be posting photos from the day. But, here is one of my favorites.

It's A Girl!

Baby Dussault (still waiting on a name)
Born: July 11, 2008 at 12:03 p.m.
6 lbs. 15 oz., 18 inches long

Monday, July 7, 2008

Little Miss Firecracker

Brandy Bowen - Age 6
Everglades City, Fla.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Draw 10

Today I was supposed to find a rain feature for a story that was slated for tomorrow's A section. Well, it didn't rain.

So, instead I went out to get a standalone feature at a fireworks stand. I met a really nice family who has run the stand for the past three years. There weren't very many customers so to pass the time they sit and play UNO together while waiting.

The kids, Katlynn and Travis, could maybe get a little bored sitting out there all day. But, the comfort and fun they have with each other, at least while I was there, seemed to override any boredom they may have been feeling. I was thinking how nice it was that the kids weren't around computers, video games, television, cell phones.... just spending part of their summer with their dad, uncle and grandma and having a really good time doing it.