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Bright Angels

I write before she is gone. My sweet last yellow dog (we were a 6 pack, then a 5 pack, now we are a 4 pack after losing beloved Fella just after Thanksgiving), Jetzskis, is 18 years old. I have had her 15 of those 18 years, this month in fact. This girl has been by my side through the darkest waters, the brightest hopes and the biggest dreams. She is barrel chested and a tank, half Malinios and half GSD she is richly colored with cinnamon, golds and yellows. Her face was all black in her earlier days, I got her before smartphones existed if you can believe that. Her eyes are deep caramel with flecks of black, over the years people comment on her eyes constantly. She is bright eyed and bushy tailed. She is a dog of grace someone said just days ago.

This resonates with me..... grace. She has given me grace day after day, week after week, month after month. For 15 years. She has given me over 5,000 days of grace. Put up with me for more than 131,000 hours.... (I like numbers). We've had more than 5,400 sleeps and good mornings. In 15 years I have spent one night away from my dogs. And that is one night too many. I have served her more than 11,000 meals (some days had lunch) and it has been my great pleasure for all of these years. One of the worst parts to come will be the bowl I don't need to heart will break all over again at that moment.

On our walk yesterday, she was so excited, just the two of us. Today I have a red wagon for her, should we need it. But we will gear up and go, as we always have. I cried the entire walk yesterday, I tried not to. She was SO enthusiastic to go. She is my last yellow dog........for so long we had 3 yellow dogs and 3 black and white dogs. And soon........we will only have 3 dogs, period. Three black and white dogs. Half of my family will be gone.

For most of the 15 years we've had together (thinking back I believe I got her in August, it was 2006, this is our 15th year officially this month together) we've walked 4-6 miles a day. In her young years she had SO much energy, we did two walks a day. Usually 10-12 miles for the day. Why I know this..... I was a runner for years and wore a garmin to track what we did, and in later years to make sure we didn't overdo it.

I think about how many miles are on OUR feet, together, as a pair. As a unit. My family shrinks...... I try not to cry. I try to hold it together. I am not doing a good job of that. I walk, that's what I do. And she knows she walks with me, beside me, always. And now her walks have slowed down, yet she is still there trotting her best beside me. Yes....that's it. She is her BEST, every moment of every day. We have logged more than 30,000 miles on our feet together. Trotting, together. Walking. Walking. Walking through life. Through the desert. Through the forest. Through the adventures in new places. Through recovery from injury. Through fear. Through tears. Soon, I will walk and she will not be beside me. The tears will fall....and hit the pavement. There will be no Jetzskis for me to bury my face into, no luxurious fur for me to nuzzle and be comforted in. There will be nothing.

Maybe you know me personally, maybe you dig my soap but don't know a lot behind the maker. Here is a glimpse into who I am, to the core. For me, my world is in these eyes. My world wakes up with pointy ears, long noses and everything revolves around my pack. Maybe you are getting to know me through my words. Thank you for reading. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for getting to know someone who is very different from most humans. Thank you for getting to know the soap maker, who for more than a decade has been this pack leader, and as I see my girl at the end of her journey with me.......................................I never want this journey to end. I sad. I think folks without dogs don't understand this, they cannot understand this deep bond. This deep love. This soul mate connection that few humans are graced with in a lifetime. There are dogs, they come and go. They are neat and fun partners. But this pack, this six pack of mine, can never be repeated or replaced. I do not want more dogs, I do not want to fill the house back up. We dwindle and shrink as I love them into their golden years and beyond. It is my GREAT honor to love them for all the days they have on this earth.

She will likely not see the new house with us when we move home....I cannot tell you how sad this makes me. A new chapter starts and I don't have my crew. I have half my crew..........I am at half mast. *sigh* My heart sinks.

With every addition to the Bright Angel heart breaks a little bit more. Soon the Kimberly Blue soaps will be available. There will be a peach scented Georgia soap coming.....and soon an addition to the Bright Angel Collection, called Jetzskis.

Why do I make soap in honor of those we've lost? I dunno. I just do. It is a physical thing I can do, I can focus, I can create with major purpose and intent. I can create something solid, something tangible that exists.....when hearts are breaking and ache for what is lost - the physical hug. The face you've shared coffee with. The friend you've called so many times. The eyes of the creature you've loved for SO many years. The paws that have trotted beside you for so many days...weeks...months... years. My heart breaks as it looms ahead of me. I don't know when the right time will come. It is not here now. But I need you to know her while she is here. And to know me as I go through scary waters. I can allow you to know her through a bar of soap. I can share my broken heart, my great great love, my deepest loyalty with you, through a bar of soap.

Something I hear SO often when someone picks up a bar... "oh my gosh this smells like..." and they REMEMBER. Memories are held in that bar, memories I didn't know were there. It brings such joy to my heart to witness someone become flooded with memories. Comfort, a hug, through a bar of soap.

Together we can honor and remember Jetzskis. I thank you all, humbly. From the bottom of my heart. With all that I am. For the support over the years, for reading my words. For supporting handmade. What is in handmade? Handmade is a focus when life is felt through a wall of tears. Handmade is a purpose when the days are dark. Handmade is an idea when life is calm. Creation truly comes from my soul. When I say from my heart to your shower, I mean it with all of my being. When I say it is a hug in a bar of soap, truly, it is.

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