My next step was to drive from California to Massachusetts, to get there in under a week and hopefully in one piece. But first, a detour...
Two weeks before Cody died I got a call from the western rescue coordinator for American Chesapeake Rescue to say that she had in 5 more dogs and was I ready for another? I had spoken with her about my move to the East coast, but also knew that Cody and I were ready to add in another pup to the family. This would add a little bit of crazy to the move but nothing is impossible. Now, with Cody gone, after a great deal of thought and some trepidation, I realized that I still wanted to at least meet the pups and see if there was a good fit. I decided to schedule a side trip to the norther Sierra foothills to the rescue and find what it would bring. And thus entered Rosie. On one level it felt very soon to get another dog, and yet I knew I didn't want to do the trip alone, and I knew the house I was moving to was perfect for a dog (or two or three... ).
Rosie comes from a breeder in Nebraska known for his champion hunting dogs. Rosie was called Major back then, and her crime was she refused to hunt. So rather than force her to do something she had no interest in, he gave her up to rescue. At 55 lbs she is petite, 30 lbs less than Freia and wants nothing more than to play and snuggle. She acts way younger than her four years. She is not housetrained, nor leash trained and really no understanding of voice commands. And she's a doll. I'm of course a bit on eggshells and the slightest sign of malady in her makes me a nervous wreck but hopefully that will pass soon, it's to be expected given that I've spent last 6 months of nursing both Freia and Cody.
The drive was long, 3300 miles long. It encompassed a series of delays but I was in no particular hurry - or so I thought - I just had to get to Massachusetts before the moving truck. Started out with snow related road closures in the Sierras , delaying my departure by 2 days, then an extended day-long delay on 80 - only an hour out of Sacramento - as the freeway became a parking lot (snow again). Utah was beautiful and uneventful and I was glad to get some miles behind me. The next day though was a frightening icy drive in Wyoming, which landed Rosie and me tucked in overnight in a parking lot in the back of the car (the only motel in town - and for 20 miles - was full), but that was a whole lot better than potentially sliding off the road into a ditch somewhere.. After that, the flatlands of Nebraska and Iowa; leading to a stay with friends in Michigan and a nice break. The following day I got a call from the trucker saying he'd meet me in Mass the next day - 2 days ahead of what he'd told me earlier. So it became a bit of a race to the finish, sort of.. the temperatures were low, and after Wyoming I wasn't going to risk the ice, the truck would have to wait. I got to Massachusetts at noon and the truckers arrived ah hour later, giving me time to stretch my legs and get my bearings. (if you want the full picture - with more pictures - of the cross-country drive you can see more, and read more about it on my IG feed here)
And so began Massachusetts...
Well, here I am in Massachusetts.
The challenges of the last few months continued, with the most difficult part being the unexpected passing of my other dog, Cody. To lose a father and two dogs in under a year is emotionally numbing and frankly, soul crushing. To then have running through the background a planned business shutdown and move across country adds a further layer of immeasurable pressure - and yet, the show must go on.
Cody died during the night, a few days after we started to pack up the studio. He had lymphoma, though that was not what directly killed him, he died of oesophagitis, a severe throat inflammation which can be lethal in dogs, his system too weak to fight off what would have been otherwise negligible. I missed his passing only by minutes as I heard his breathing calm, I mistakenly thought he was settling down, only to find a few minutes later that he had gone. I lay with him till daylight and then said a final goodbye when his oncology team kindly came to gently take him away.
With the moving trucks coming in two days I had no choice but to go to work and finish up the clearing of the studio. My team of employees were incredibly supportive and understanding as I was little more than a zombie most of the day.
I was doubly fortunate that weekend when my friends and family descended upon my house to finish up that packing and cleaning, something I couldn't have done without such amazing help.
On Monday the big truck rolled up to the studio and the loading began. Within a few short hours my worklife was packed and whisked away. The following morning was the same - this time at my house, though it took the better portion of a full day. If I had any remaining doubts about my move, this took care of them. My studio was empty, the keys returned to my landlord, my house was empty, with a faint smell of paint from where I'd touched up walls and floors for my future tenant. And so closed a 23 year chapter of my life in the San Francisco area.
ABout Tina Whitmore
Yarn Dyer, Designer, Dog Lover, in no particular order.. Founded Knitwhits in 2003, and Freia Fine Handpaints in 2010, introducing gradient yarn to knitting stores worldwide. Getting Hygge with it - warmth, comfort, color, texture, design, nature.