Last month we lost a major source of inspiration when our dog Boo died. She was such a presence in our lives and with us constantly for ten years so it has been difficult trying to adjust to the loss. There are things we still do automatically: glancing out the screen door to see if she is waiting to be let in or looking for her in her favorite sleeping places or anticipating her welcome when we come home. Then we remember that she's gone and the feeling snags our breath. The emptiness is palpable.
It was a cool autumn morning when we found Boo at the Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC) in Spanish Harlem. We had wanted a small brown dog. For some reason, we had always talked about adopting a brown dog. Then we went to the animal shelter and it was overwhelming. All these dogs staring at us from behind metal bars. We wanted to pull a Pee Wee Herman and just open every cage door - let all the dogs run free.
We did meet with a couple small brown dogs, taking them to an outside area in the back of the animal shelter but they all seemed more interested in scaling the chain link fence then in getting to know us. Of course, we couldn't blame them for wanting to escape all those cages but we just didn't connect with any of the dogs.
So we were on our way out of the place, walking past the rows of cages when we noticed one dog curled up sleeping in the far back corner of a cage. We stared in and saw the tiny tip of a tail start to wag and we were smitten. She was pretty much the opposite of what we were looking for - she had the longest of legs and she was mostly black with a few white spots but the connection was instant. Since it was just before Halloween we named her Boo.
Our work space back then was a dark and damp tiny basement room in Chelsea. It was filled with three work tables, a sewing machine and floor to ceiling boxes of fabric, trim and beads but Boo could always find a spot to curl up and take a nap. She became the official greeter whenever a visitor came to the studio. Her tail would wag so fast and hard that her body seemed to be swinging like she was hinged in the middle. She was a terrific fit model sitting patiently while we tried new felt flower hair accessories on her head and wagging her tail non-stop when we played deconstructive fashion designer wrapping her body with yards of shredded fabric.
One of our first bags to get a lot of press featured a felt applique of Boo complete with a safety pin piercing and pearl bead teeth. It was one of our best selling styles and buyers were so pleased to meet Boo in person after seeing her on a bag.
Since Boo died the overwhelming support we've received from family and friends has shown us how much she touched people's lives. We've received some beautiful flowers and very thoughtful cards that have touched us during this sad time.
Our good friend Suzi Johnson of Souchi knew Boo very well. When Suzi came to visit last Thanksgiving, Boo made herself right at home in the guest room climbing into bed for a night of snuggling. Suzi send a card and wrote that even though it sounds corny maybe we could think of Boo as our guardian angel always watching over us. We didn't think the idea was corny at all. We thought it was perfect.
Her spirit is curled up in a warm corner of our hearts forever.
Boo Carney Ross 1997-2007