I finished my May BJP back in May, but it has taken me this long to catch my breath and tell the story. For me this is becoming the most creative part of this year's journey with beads...telling the stories behind the items. I usually can whip up the beading in a day or two, but pulling that story out from my gut is hard...especially about May. Why? Let me first tell you what I found and what it means to me.
I was cleaning my bedroom closet which is no easy chore as it is stuffed from floor to ceiling with boxes of Scottie things that I've collect over the years. There are cards, novelties, scarves, shoes, and shirts all stacked one of top of the other. Do you really believe they are NEATLY stacked? NO! So I decided to reach back in there & pull some things out just to see how big of a chore this was going to be. I reached way back between two big tote bags (Scotties on them of course) and my fingers touched a plastic bag the likes of which you bring groceries home from the store. I couldn't figure out what it was. So I tugged it out, sat on the bed and opened the bag. It was fur-black and gray fur. It was Fala's fur from the very last time I cut his hair two weeks before he died. I pulled the fur out, lifted it to my nose and breathed in Fala...it still after 10 years smelled exactly like he did. In the very bottom of the bag was a small pin of a Scottie angel that someone sent me the month he died. I'm sorry, that I can't remember who gave it to me as that was a very terrible time of my life. Fala touched so many lives besides mine, and so many people gave me something or wrote me wonderful messages about Fala. I have them all printed out someplace (probably in anther box in that closet) and someday will find the strength to get them all out and read them over again.
Now why did Fala touch so many lives? LOL! Let me first show you this picture of me & Fala when he was barely 4 months old. He came to live with us back in 1989 in our brand new house. I'd always dreamed of having a dog of my own. I grew up with dogs, but they belonged to the family and mostly either to my brother or one of my sisters. So I'd never really had a dog all of my own. At first, I wanted a wire fox terrier like Astra in the Thin Man movies, but I could not find a puppy back then. I wasn't very well educated on exactly how to buy a puppy, so I searched the want ads in the Columbus Dispatch. I found an ad for 3 black male Scottish Terriers $250 each. I took the ad to Chris and asked him what he thought. Well, he'd never had a dog in his life...ever! So he wasn't sure he even wanted a dog at that point, but I can be very persuasive when I want. I promised we'd go just to see. When I saw the two remaining puppies with their Mom, I KNEW I had to have one. The next day, I went back with a box and brought my puppy home. Next the hard part. What to name this living breathing creature a name worthy of their love and devotion. I agonized and finally came up with Fala after Franklin Roosevelt's Fala. I'd seen a picture of Fala hanging out the side of FDR's convertible while at Hyde Park and fell in love with that doggie smile. So he became Fala, but he needed a middle name...I finally picked Pink...for...wait...Pink Floyd as I adored David Gilmour at the time. So he became FalaPink.
Did I say I'd never raised a puppy before? Now that can be an entirely different story in itself! I had to figure out how to house break a rambunctious puppy in a house with beige carpets, a yard with no fence, a crate that was too big, and a husband who was on the verge of a nervous breakdown with each puppy accident. Finally I figured it all out, got a smaller crate, gates for the kitchen, and A FENCE! As Fala grew and grew and grew, my love for this dog grew even more. He loved me no matter what I did...cut his nails...loved! brushed his teeth...loved! He loved to lay on my lap, sleep on my feet, and do just about anything I would do. He and I adored each other. I felt that the big gigantic hole in my soul was filled with this one medium size Scottie dog. Fala became very protective of me. He and I would be sitting on this atrociously ugly blue couch we had at the time, and Chris would decided to come over and sit next to me. Fala would lift his head, glare and Chris and give him the "elvis snarl". Chris told me Fala hated him...well, no not really...Chris had to learn to relax. He did finally, and I saw him once on a vacation show someone a picture of "my boy" so proud of Falakins.
When Fala was about a year old, Chris was upstairs while I was down in the family room doing what Fala loved more than anything in the world...brushing his fur until my arms ached. Chris said..."Dot, there are Scotties on the Internet". This was 1990 and the internet was not at all what it is now with Facebook, blogging, twitter, and probably more new things that I know about. It was pretty clunky back then and most of the "chatting" being down was on bulletin boards or e-mail groups. Up until then, I had no interest in the computer at all. I worked with one and that was enough for me. Why would I come home and spend hours on end trying to get the computer to draw a circle inside a box? But when Chris said there were Scotties on the Internet, I was intrigued. That is when I found an e-mail group called Scottie-L. How it worked was that you would join the group, the owner would approve, then you send an e-mail to their server and that e-mail would got out to all the other people who had "subscribed" to this e-mail group. So every day, I'd get between 10 to 20 e-mails from strangers all with one thing in common...the love of the Scottish Terrier. I was thrilled to write to people and find out their Scotties had done what Fala did and slowly built up a group of online friends. It was miraculous! I had to have my own computer as I spent hours writing to these people long e-mails. I bonded with them, and even would exchange phone numbers and spent hours chatting on the phone about our dogs.
Then Chris asked me if I was interested in having a webpage. Our server was introducing something new. I believe this had to be around 1992-1993. I said sure! It was tough going as everything had to be coded to be downloaded to the big server. Chris did a great job formatting all the stories I wrote about Fala. He then started to format pictures. Suddenly there was our FalaPink out on the internet. It was called Scottie Obsession, and it was all about Fala. I have to put a little brag here as it was one of the very first personal webpages about a dog on the internet. Every day I wrote more stories about the adventures of FalaPink. Every day, I'd get more and more people finding the website and writing to me. I'd point them into the direction of Scottie-L to join the wonderful online community of crazy nutty Scottie people. Then one day a person wrote and said, she didn't have a way to post a picture of her Scottie. Back then you could not embed a photo into an e-mail on the early groups (this was way before Yahoo came along). So I told her to snail mail me a picture, I'd scan it, and post it to my Scottie Obsession webpage. We called this "Fala's Furry Friends". Soon we had over 100 pictures of people's Scotties from all over the world on Scottie Obsession. Most people did not know how to scan or convert the the photos to a .jpg format to post on the internet, so I'd get letter almost every day with photos of stranger's beautiful Scottish Terrier. With each photo was also a letter introducing that person to me starting the beginning of so many friendships with people from as far away as South Africa, Norway, Japan, and all over the United States. It grew and grew and grew! Then I began to travel across the US meeting some of these wonderful Scottie people. We shared a glass of wine, a good story, and lots of laughs about our favorite dog in the world.
Me and Fala when he was 8 years old
I cannot tell you how many people I met over the years that Scottie Obsession was live. I still know many of those people, and have watched as the Scottie folks have come aboard the Internet each making it a place for someone to share stories and met friends. It even changed me by introducing me to a crazy woman from Seattle who sent me a picture of her Lucy the Scottie and Darby the Wolfhound. She and I met at Scottie antique conference and instantly knew we'd be friends forever. We tried to figure it out and think that has been almost 15 years ago! She was the first person to drag me to Byzantium to buy a pair of ear post. She was the one who told me about a group called BeadArt on DelphiForums. She was the one who sent me ultra suede, beads, and talked me into at least trying bead embroidery. Yes, I met Cynthia online may years ago on Scottie-L and through my FalaPink's website.
FalaPink and me about a week before he died
Scottie Obsession brought other people together also, and though it hasn't been on the Internet it over 10 years, I still have people write and tell me that it was one of the first things they found when first on the computer, type in Scottish Terrier in the search, and found Fala's face looking out at them. So this wee rascal of a puppy brought me into a different world than the one I had thought would be my destiny. Because of that one loving dog, I found friends all over the world. I found communities of like mind people who wanted to share and link with each other. Fala died 10 years ago this coming August, but he is still living with me every single day. I love my boy, and think that now I can possibly find all those stories about him and share them with the World Wide Web again.