Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A card for Ruby

 On Saturday, I thought a lot about what I could to mark the moment of Ruby's passing, and to help honor her memory in some way. Finally, I decided to create a card that we could send out to all of her family, friends and caretakers. So on Sunday, I did just that. It was hard to do. There is no question about that. A few times, I even thought "I'm not ready for this". But, I was. And in the end, the process was way, WAY more healing than it was hard. In illustrating the card, it not only accomplished all that other stuff, but it also has helped us to heal more. And the process of going through making the cards, deciding on the (small) list of recipients, addressing the cards, and writing some of them out.. it has been extremely beneficial. Plus, I know that Ruby would be so proud to be honored in this way. For being the unassuming, sweet little dog that she was, she truly was the most physically affectionate, huggy little dog I've ever known. So this is also another way of giving more love back to her.

I did pet portraits for five years— so many intimately studied portrayals of other people's dear dogs and cats, but I'd never done my own little Ruby. I've drawn her hundreds of times in a more simple, caricature-like style—so many paintings and illustrations featuring her and Daisy. But to capture a true likeness steeped with the affection, emotion and unconditional love I had for this little pug, now that is something I hadn't done. So, that is what I set out to do with this card.

Her likeness in the card illustration is a little looser in style than the style in which I did pet portraits back in "ye olde pet portraiture" days, but I love how it came out. It's so Ruby. For all it's looser qualities, there is no less purity, impact and spirit in it. It's innocent, unstudied, and delicate— just like her. It also showcases her physical likeness—her quirky little body, her extra tiny, cute little head... Boy, do I miss her.

I made postcard-style cards, as well as full greeting cards in a vertical format. I love the quote "All dogs go to heaven". Religious reference aside, I just think it paints such a broad, true stroke in just a few well-chosen words. I used it for the front of the greeting card as well as for the flip-side of the postcard-style card. I designed it with Ruby in mind—Ruby was baby pink, sweet and innocent. She just was. I know that many pet parents project their own taste upon their dogs, but I absolutely channeled Ruby for this one. She would have loved this.This is who she was, our baby girl.
All dogs go to heaven.


Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

It's so lovely Kath... a beautiful tribute indeed... xoxo

Ann Smith said...

I absolutely love this, Kathy. What a beautiful, sweet tribute to your baby girl. I love the sentiment about all dogs going to heaven. They do. They truly do.
I never really had the pleasure of meeting Ruby - only saw her a couple of times - but it's very clear how much she meant to you. I read what you posted about her life and it's very clear that she was as fortunate to have you in her life as you were to have her in yours'. I'm so sorry she's gone. Thinking of you and Matt and Daisy.xx Ann

Loni Edwards said...

This is just lovely. What a beautiful tribute to your sweet Ruby. Well done Kathy!

Maggie Weakley said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Ruby (((Hugs))) Its so hard to loose our little Angels. You have made a beautiful tribute to her and I'm so sure she is sweetly smiling at her portrait. I do believe that all Dogs go to Heaven and they will be there waiting to greet us when we get there :)

Anonymous said...

Kathy, This card is one of the most moving, beautiful and meaningful things I have ever seen. I was speechless when I opened it, and can't really find the words to express myself now either. You created a unique tribute to your sweet Ruby but you also captured this universal sense of love, joy, hope, trust and-inevitably, loss - that those of us with bonds to our pets can totally relate to. Thank you so much for sharing this. xoxo Lindsey

Colleen Mulrooney said...

Ahh, that is SO beautiful and precious! Simple and lovely :) Ruby was a lucky Pug!