Road Leading Nowhere Road Leading Nowhere

Far From Somewhere Far From Somewhere

Road Leading Somewhere Road Leading Somewhere

Grow old along with me,The best is yet to be. The last of life for which the first has saved. Robert Browning

watercolor paintings by kayti sweetland Rasmussen

Sam and Panda2 Dr. Advice and Panda

Paintings like the words in our stories have a strong basis in fact. A picture, a word, a gesture prompts our creative spirit to get busy. For eleven years our Old English Sheepdog Panda accompanied Dr. Advice on his morning walk, meandering ahead and then coming back to see why he was so slow. Panda knew every bush and squirrel hole on the trail as well as the regular everyday walkers and their dogs. She was the queen of the trail and kept herself aloof from the other dogs after a quick nod of her head.

Panda came to us as a rescue dog having been caught in a flood which nearly took the life of her master, a horse trainer of some repute in Northern California. Disaster had struck in the middle of the night, and about 100 horses had to be quickly removed from the premises and onto higher ground. Our grandson, a horseman living in the area, was among those who came to help in the rescue of the horses. The rancher unfortunately had a heart attack after the disaster and was unable to keep his animals.

Panda, along with several other farm dogs were given to willing people after the action. Our grandson thought Panda would be a grand roommate for Penny our dachshund, and when we came to meet her, she jumped into our pickup truck and made herself comfortable and at home. Once in the truck, there was no coaxing her out again. In her eyes she had found her forever home. I always thought she looked like the Nana dog in Peter Pan whose job it was to look after the children, like Nana, Panda had decided to take care of us.

Old English Sheepdogs are pretty laid back and not prone to sudden activity. On one morning walk late in her life, while walking the same old trail she knew by heart, she became separated from Dr. Advice, and he began driving home before he missed her. Luckily when he realized his mistake and went back, he found her waiting patiently where he had mislaid her.

Unlike the Border Collie, whom we see herding sheep by crouching and staring them down, the Old English is a drover who will push from behind for miles and miles if necessary. Our morning walks always went from about two miles to sometimes 14 miles, and Panda was always trotting along beside us looking for a stray rabbit or two, unaware of who they were dealing with.

Our dear pet friends always know when it’s time to say goodbye, even if it seems too soon for us, and eleven years after Panda came to live with us, that day arrived. Now her quiet, gentle ghost smiles on Charlie, the exuberant Jack Russell Terrier who now demands two walks a day, and Dr. Advice has learned that it is to his advantage to oblige.

Life is a journey, and the companions we take along with us, and the people we meet along our way keep it all new, exciting and worthwhile.


Author: kaytisweetlandrasmussen83

I am a retired fine arts teacher, sculptor/painter, writer, and a native Californian. I love my family,dogs, horses, movies, reading and music, probably in that order. I have been married forever to a very nice man who is nice to old ladies, dogs and children.

16 thoughts on “LIFE IS A JOURNEY”

  1. Really lovely. And a good reminder for me, who’s never had to say goodbye to a pet, that they often know when the time has come. Last night, I awoke to a strange noise, and found that Dixie Rose, who never has presented me with so much as a single hairball, had been sick on the living room carpet. It’s a reminder that she’s twelve years older than when she joined me, and she, too, may changing in ways that require a little more attentiveness on my part. Heaven knows she’s been a low maintenance kitty to this point!

    Lovely post — and I do like Panda’s name. It sounds as though it suited her.


    1. She came equipped with her name, and since she was nearly a year old, I could imagine that she really looked liked a Panda as a fuzzy pup.
      It is hard when pets age. They go through much of what humans do in loss of cognitive response as well as of bodily functions. You never get used to having to lose them, but weighing that against the pleasure you get from them, it’s a no-brainer. Dr. Advice swears that Panda turned and looked one last time at him and gave a woof as I took her in. I told him she was saying goodbye. It took several months before he wanted her picture around. A frisky Jack Russell turned out to be good medicine.

      I do hope Dixie Rose is feeling better by now. She has a lot of miles left in her.


  2. The triptych was quite large, and hung horizontally.

    Of course we each have our own private journey, Richard. Complete with stubbed toes and loss of direction as the case may be. The trick is to try not to rely on your GPS too much. That’s the challenge.

    (Don’t rely on your dog, either.)


  3. We’ve just been through the experience of losing a beloved pet. Our orange tabby, Murgatroyd, had been with us 16 years, since he was a kitten. He lived in four different homes with us and never sulked about the moves. After he died, my husband started agitating for a kitten right away. I was afraid we were too old and cranky for a kitten, but he talked me into it. Now we have little Wolfie, another orange tabby. He’s 3 months old and everything is a game to him. Ordinary tasks, like making the bed, take four times the time and effort with his “participation”. Still, it does cheer us up tremendously.

    I like your “Road” series very much.


  4. I’m sure Murgatroyd would approve of his replacement. He was pretty amazing to move that often and not complain. They are such wonderful companions and so much fun as kittens. Even Charlie thought making the bed was an invitation for him to roll himself up in the sheets. At seven he is beginning to settle down a bit.

    Glad you liked the triptych.


  5. This post has a dreamy hypnotic tone to it. Panda seems almost of another world, as you describe her. I am happy to say that I knew Panda and Penny and the Doberman and so many of your distinctive dogs. What always amazes me is that you and Dr. Advice choose new breeds each time you adopt a dog. How creative of you!
    The paintings, as Richard observes, are enigmas. Life life. Like dogs.


    1. We remember all of your furry companions as well. Even Cherry who gave you an insight into the world of doggy competition. I can’t remember which German Shepherd chased Robert up the drapery, but it was a memorable occasion trying to get him back down. Ugo and Elsa were unforgettable friends. I think we have been fortunate to have known these various breeds and their idiosyncrasies. And yes, they are enigmas for us to attempt to unravel.


      1. Who is Cherry?
        You may have been thinking of the German Shepherds Duchess (White Sands New Mexico ) Dickens, Galaxy, or Chief. Then there was the miniature black poodle, Pepe. In the Sabraw household there were the Springer Spaniels Jenny and Maggie, the Rottweilers Elsa and Udo, and now the yellow Labrador, Dinah.


    1. Thanks Narelle. You sensed the mystery suggested in the paintings, but there is no mystery in knowing that we all need companions to accompany us on this journey through life. Remember the old song “You’re nobody till somebody loves you”? xxoo


  6. What a lovely reminder of how our animal friends enrich our lives with their instinctive wisdom and caring and help is to be our better selves. I remember growing up with some of your pals over the years: Robert, Hilda, Rudy, Tuffy, Emma, Bella, Liza, Max, Panda, Penny and now Charlie. Remembering each of them, along with my own pets: Mandy, Molasses, Punkin, Jessie, Merlin, Buddy, Houdini and Marvin, reminds us of our wonderful responsibility as their gentle caregivers. And we are the lucky ones who get to adopt some of their sweetest traits…and forever remember their gratitude for our kindness and protection. One of my most favorite songs is “Bless the Beasts and the Children”…”for in this world, they have no voice. They have no choice. For this world can never be the world they see. Light their way when the darkness surrounds them. Give them hope. Let it shine all around them”.

    Love you, Mom.


  7. It does us credit to remember these lovely companions. Of course I remember fondly all of your delightful furry friends, and grieve along with you their departure. We forget that their silent language opens a new door of understanding these marvelous creatures.

    Thanks you for reminding me of the “Bless the Beasts” song. It is truly beautiful.


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