Adelie the dog, where this company takes it’s namesake from, passed on to happier trails after fifteen happy years early yesterday morning. Aside from the name; Adelie Studios wouldn’t be without Adelie…the dog. Or at least I wouldn’t be who I am because of her.
Adelie was named after a penguin of all things. At the time we got her we bandied about a bunch of mostly bad names and landed on Adelie. I was reading a book about Sir Ernest Shackleton and how he saved his entire crew after their ship was crushed in the Antarctic ice pack.
These little penguins called Adelie penguins were quirky and humorous and the crew wrote about them fondly. She was quirky and very funny. So the name stuck.
I started freelancing when she was a puppy in 2001. I thought about a bunch of different names for my business. I wanted something memorable, creative and unique. Not something dorky like “Guerin Studios”. I didn’t want to talk about myself in the third person. That would be weird. I thought about “Mudville Studios” which was the section of town we lived in but that seemed way too generic and Casey at the Bat-ish. So Adelie granted me the use of her name and Adelie Studios was born. I even worked a goofy rendition of her into my first logo. Throughout her long life Adelie taught me many lessons. To be a better human, a better friend and a better husband. Eventually, to also be a better dad. She, luckily, was a very noble and patient dog. But I’ll get to that later.
Adelie the dog had a knack for spotting a chipmunk, squirrel or other varmint that was in need of exercise. In her younger days she would draw a bead on a little critter and tirelessly chase it on our woodland walks. She would run full tilt for hours on end. Once it nearly was her undoing.
We were on a hike at Rocky Narrows in Sherborn, MA when she was a couple of years old. A particularly cheeky squirrel taunted her and Adelie would have none of it. She bolted after the squirrel and launched right off of King Philip’s Overlook. King Philip’s Overlook is a cliff with a drop off of about 50 some odd feet straight down into the marshes and the Charles River below. I assumed the worst. As I ran up to the cliff edge I looked down and saw Adelie happily wagging her tail on a six inch outcropping about twelve feet below where I was. I am not a mountaineer. I don’t rock climb. But I had to get down to that ledge and pull her out. Somehow. When I shakily got down on the ledge Adelie was smiling and wagging her tail as if to say “Hey! You finally made it! Now get us out of here so I can go find that clever little trouble-making squirrel!” We went on with the rest of our hike as if nothing had happened. And that is how I first learned of the tenacity and fearlessness my dog possessed. Not exactly afraid of heights but certainly not fond of them, I also discovered some of those traits in myself that day. Traits I’ve tried to use, albeit a bit more cautiously, every day since.
Adelie was always very perceptive and knew lots of things that not even I had realized yet. In the days after the attacks on 9/11, I remember seeing a bus full of school children all waving American flags out the window on the bus and was just overcome by grief. What kind of world were these poor kids on this bus growing up to inherit? What world full of hate and evil were they innocently born into? 9/11 made me reconsider ever having children. I did not want to bring a child into a world full of so much animosity. Never. Or so I thought at the time. Adelie had a sixth sense about these things.
Adelie was patient. She played and snuggled. And she waited. She demanded attention. She made me laugh deep belly laughs. She worked her magic. It took years and years. She slowly convinced me to open my heart to the possibility that I had more love to offer. That if you bring love into this world it can conquer all hate. When Adelie was nine years old, we welcomed my first son into this world. If it weren’t for her, I may never have known the joys a little child could bring into our lives. But Adelie knew better than I. She knew there was more love inside me than I thought was possible. She just needed to coax it out. And she was a loving, nurturing and patient dog with my two young boys as well.
I could go on and on about how wonderful a dog, a friend and trusted companion Adelie has been to me. I hope wherever Adelie is now that she has her eagle eyes again to see little critters to romp with. I hope her hearing is once again as sharp as a tack and she is able to hear the snap of a twig a mile away signaling a deer is ready to play. I hope her legs are back under her so she can leap and run at full tilt again for miles and miles. Hour after hour. I hope one of the best friends I’ve ever had is happy and comfortable. Most of all I hope she’s gratified watching over the family she helped create because of her selfless love. God speed Adelie. You brought more wonderful things and happiness into my life than I could ever properly thank you for. Now…go get that cheeky squirrel!