When I was newly married, I had a best friend. Her name was Tika. She was a tiny Jack Russell Terrier whose fur was all white with the exception of a single brown patch on her right ear. The runt of the litter, she trotted about like she was the princess of everything.

She was the only one besides my husband and my sister that I would talk to back then. We’d go for long walks, play at Centre Island and she’d cuddle up by my toes at night. When I was pregnant with my son, Tika would place her head on my belly and growl at it when the baby would kick. She made my dad, a man who disliked dogs immensely, fall in love with her quirky personality and unlimited devotion.

There’s not much I can say here about her without bursting into tears like a complete idiot at my keyboard.  Therefore, I will keep this post brief. She passed on when she was in someone else’s care in 2002. Tika, the most amazing dog in the universe, is no longer with me and hasn’t been with me for the longest time. However, not a day goes by when I don’t think of her and her following me and my husband everywhere we went. Sure, I have cats now, and they’re an amazing pair, but they’re not Tika.

Once upon a time, I sat at my keyboard about to reach out to strangers that were soon to become good friends. My anxiety and hermit-like cocooning was at its worse. Tika sat on my lap and I thought up this plan where she and I would travel all around the world together. I wouldn’t need anyone, but her at my side to show me to live for the next scent, the next fast moving object, or the next opportunity to run for it.

Since those plans can never be, I decided to sketch Tika and myself as astronauts in my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project.  This way, we’d travel the world together as I saw us exploring the universe.

I miss you lots, Tika.

You can a few of my sketches for the tour here: https://jacquelinevalencia.wordpress.com/sketchbook-project-2012/


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