October is nearing its end, but this month marks the one year anniversary since Tess joined our family. Much has changed since then, for us as well as her. We moved to a new state, live in a new home, and both returned to school as non-traditional students. My husband is still teaching people to write, I'm still teaching art and music, and our schedules are much more full than they used to be. Overall, we are making rapid progress on slow moving goals--and while the busy nature of our schedule can be eye-widening at times, I can easily say that we are more fulfilled than ever, and very much looking forward to what lies ahead.
I've described some of the changes Tess has experienced during her time with us, but it really is difficult to convey how dramatically she's evolved over the past year. She was once a creature so frightened that all she could do was lay still in a corner, tremble with nerves, and not even stand to eat her food. Her body would stiffen when we touched her, and walking outside or being around strangers was nearly impossible.
Now, she is a wild, loving, energetic dog who we lovingly refer to as "Maniac" and "Tess Monster". She knows her routine, knows she is safe, and knows she is adored. A frequent scene in our home involves my husband stomping theatrically towards her in slow motion, arms raised above his head, hands curled into menacing claws, while making Frankenstein-esque grumbles and growls. Tess' eyes fill with delight; she stretches her face into a dog smile and scurries in a mad dash around the living room, coffee table, kitchen, hallway and bedroom, as he chases her in slow motion. Eventually it dissolves into a pile of tickles and wrestling. In the meantime, I laugh and giggle at the melee, and sometimes the kitties join in the game. We have so much fun, and Tess is often at the heart of it all.
Here's the most recent photo of Tess--who is notoriously difficult to photograph, since she usually flees as soon as she sees the strange black box--and definitely my favorite to date:
Appropriately, this month also marks the welcome of a new canine family member. A few weeks ago my sister began exploring the option of adopting a dog, and after several starts and stops and dead ends, finally found a lovely basset hound who was available for rescue. Like Tess, he came from an abusive and neglectful home--and since he was being fostered in my city (my sister lives a few hours away), I went to meet him on her behalf. Knowing his background, I thought he might be standoffish and people-shy, but as soon as I sat on the floor he immediately curled up in my lap, and completely stole my heart. At first he shook lightly, but as he began to relax I took these photos to help "introduce" him to my sister:
She picked him up on Tuesday this week, and since then, he's been adjusting to his new home and thriving under the abundance of love. In just a few short days he already knows his name, comes when called, and is learning how to walk on a leash. And having spent more time with him, I can easily say Wesley is one of the sweetest, most endearing dogs I've ever met. Even Tess, who is still a bit wary of other dogs, likes him and played with him--which is the first time I've ever seen her play with another dog. I'm really excited about them being cousins, and can't wait to see how he grows over the next few months.
My sister has been sending me regular iphone photos of Wesley for me to edit and "Aw" at, so here are the latest for your enjoyment:
Between him and Tess, my cup runneth over. I am in love. <3
Songwriting has always been something that's eluded me, but now that I'm in music school it's a required task. Last week we had one night to whip something up, so here's the first complete (albeit short) piece I've ever composed--more to come, I'm sure!