Flavia PotenzaBy Flavia Potenza

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Transitions
Photos by Flavia Potenza (Left) Tippy before. We loved Tippy’s furry look but it was a foxtail magnet so during the pandemic my neighbor would tidy it up with scissors while he sat on my lap. (Right) Tippy after. You could only tell he was a poodle after his visits to the salon.
My little guy, Tippy, a Parti Poodle, crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Thursday, January 9, after a long bout of metastatic cancer with ugly tumors erupting that were surgically removed. I inherited him three years ago when he was seven. A friend’s mother had passed away and her daughter was looking for a home for him. Since I had lost my Papillion, Pip, earlier that year, of course I said yes. At Thanksgiving I discovered Tippy was a foodie and when dinner came, he jumped off my lap, working the room like a pro. Food and laps were his thing. He liked being close. 2022 was a year of adversity like no other that has carried into 2023 with Tippy’s suffering and passing being the latest. Big transitions like people close to me dying, an auto accident, learning to live without a car, and now, having to find another place to live are big transitions all happening at once. So I sat in my grief and let the welcome rain keep me company. The music of the creek, like movements in a symphony, accompanied my rage as I watched Tippy struggle to live.
As the rain subsided, so did the creek doing its job of watering the parched earth deep below until it became a gentle flow with refrains of comfort and joy...yes, joy in the memories of Tippy with me, three cats and then Birdie the energetic Border Collie arriving to turn our lives upside down. Vet bills of $3000 later, I had to let nature take its course. Tippy never complained until the last day when he issued a resounding howl of complaint that would never bring the miracle we prayed for.

On Saturday, friends gathered and we gave Tippy a funeral, wrapped him in a flowery shroud, put him in the little red wagon and marched with him to his place of rest. We thanked him, shared memories and wished him peace.

Birdie has been very quiet now that Tippy is gone. She goes to the empty bed that he inhabited and died in. Sniffs around it, glances at me, then goes to one of her corners and curls up without an answer. The good thing about Border Collies is that they are irrepressible and soon she found a toy and shook it, inviting me to a tug of war and other frivolities in an explosion of joy.

Adversities are meant to be overcome; change is inevitable.

Life is still beautiful.

With that, I’ll leave it to you—the beautiful community of Topanga, that continues to nurture all those who live here—to discover what affirmations of life are waiting in the pages that follow.
Flavia Potenza

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