You Left Paw Prints On My Heart

If you know me, you know I love animals. About 13 years ago, a little fellow came into my life. He was about 6 weeks old and was delivered, as a surprise to me, in a cat crate. Such a tiny little guy, but we soon knew he was full of attitude and would quickly outgrow the cat crate.

He came to us named “Luke,” as in “Luke Skywalker” from Star Wars fame. We decided that name just didn’t fit his personality. At the time, Desert Storm (the first Gulf War) was in full swing and there was one name that was frequently in the headlines. “Stormin’ Norman” Swartkoff. This Army General had an attitude that you knew would win the war, but you could also sense he had a big soft side. General Swartkoff’s personality, matched that of our new German shepherd pup. So, we decided to name our pup in honor of this Army hero. We called him “Storm.”

Storm filled the void of the child I would never have. He and I attended obedience classes and competed in agility competitions. He won ribbons and made me smile. Storm was always the center of attention. Always! And seemed to love letting me take pictures of him, such beautiful pictures. It was a sad, sad time for me last August, when I had to make the decision to put his old body out of pain. Although we had other animals in our home, Storm was my life. Everything revolved around him, he always needed special attention.

Around the same time that I had to make the decision, Quilting Arts Magazine announced their 2012 calendar contest. The theme: “Feeling Pet-ty.” I decided to use this opportunity to challenge myself and apply some techniques that I had been dabbling with. I definitely was feeling “Pet-ty.”

I submitted my entry “A Perfect Storm” and waited. Mid-January (a day before my birthday) I got word that out of hundreds of entries, “Storm” was one of  the 23 finalists. I had to pack him up and send him to Massachusetts and wait to hear the 13 winners. Yesterday, a day before Valentine’s Day, I got the word…Storm made it!!!! My buddy will be featured in the 2012 Quilting Arts Magazine. They won’t return him to me until late 2012, while he’s gone he’ll be traveling the quilt show circuit. I’ll try to catch up with him when I can.

So even after he left my life…this dog continues to be an important part of it. What a wonderful birthday and Valentine’s gift he’s given me! For without him, I would have never entered this contest. Little buddy, you have truly left your paw prints on my heart.

Note: In respect to Quilting Arts, I will refrain from showing a full photo of my finished piece. You’ll have to wait  to see it when the calendar come out later this year.


  1. Jean Skipper says:

    WOO HOO!!!!! Doesn’t even begin to cover it. Your news brought a tear to my eye, and I know how much this must mean to you.

    I love that Storm’s spirit continues to touch your heart. 🙂

  2. Teresa Stroin says:

    I got tears in my eyes thinking about you and Storm. My pets have meant a lot to me, too, and I lost both a dog and cat last July.
    Congrats on the calendar and on the beautiful quilt! Can’t wait to see the whole thing.

  3. niki says:

    I hope they publish your story as well. Tear jerker times 2 pieces of Kleenex! Sorry to learn your Storm has left you but what a way for him to live on not only in your heart but all of our hearts! Since I am not a quilter, will you let me know when the calendar comes out and how to get one? Congratulations – Mazel Tov – Bravo to you and your quilt of Storm.

    • Nanette says:

      Hi Niki,
      Thanks for you kind words. I’ll let you know when the calendar comes out. It will probably be one that you’ll like. I did sent them a “condensed” version of the story.

  4. Mindee Tomlinson says:

    I know how much Storm meant to you. I’m so glad I was able to know him. I can’t wait to see your quilt!!

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