A Intern’s Journey of Love & Loss In One Summer

Leah Cultice, Summer Graphic Design Intern

This summer I had the wonderful experience of being a graphic design intern at SICSA. You’ve probably seen a graphic I made on SICSA’s Facebook, monthly newsletter or signs around the building. Never before have I got to draw so many cute animals. The staff at SICSA has been so kind and welcoming to me. As an artist, it’s always mixed feelings when I first display my work because I’m excited to show what I have designed but then at the same time, it’s nerve-wracking on what people’s feedback will be.  As an artist, you can spend hours staring at your computer screen erasing the same eye and redoing it twenty times before you feel it’s finally perfect (and yes tilting it one pixel more slightly to the right is what finally did the trick). Seeing the artwork printed out in its final form is so pleasing and knowing that hundreds of people are seeing your work on the signs in the hallway or a graphic on Facebook is very satisfying.

Shortly into my internship, I was given the task of managing SICSA’s Instagram every day. I’ve had a lot of fun with this because I enjoy using social media and love taking photos of all the cute animals there. I do my best to come up with funny or witty captions for the photos and I hope I’ve made some people stop and chuckle while they’re scrolling through their feed. I’ve taken videos of the cats and dogs and searched through my iTunes library to find the perfect song for the animal’s personality. 

While I was enjoying every moment I spent at SICSA, it was overshadowed by my beloved dog growing more ill each day. I was devastated when Lucy passed away this summer in the middle of my internship. Lucy was a beautiful sheltie and was fifteen and a half years old. As her health and mobility began to rapidly decline, my family and I knew that the end was coming soon but knowing that dreaded day is coming doesn’t prepare you for it. Lucy has always been there; she was my childhood dog, my faithful friend. There isn’t much I can remember before we brought her home over 15 years ago so she was here for every event in my life.

It was a tradition to dress Lucy up for holidays (or if we saw something cute) and special occasions. It’s one of my favorite memories. Dressing up might not have been her favorite thing but she was a very good sport about it and would let us put her in costumes and just sit there with a look on her face that said, “Is this over yet?” Lucy is an excellent master of disguise, having portrayed a bumble bee, a bunny, a 80s workout girl, a gangster, a princess and even Santa Paws!

LucyIt has been difficult going to SICSA and seeing the dogs, and even harder talking about Lucy without tearing up because I miss her so much. Everyday I’m getting better at it but the sadness can strike at random times. Every meal I ate, Lucy would always sit politely next to my chair and keep an eye on my plate, waiting for a treat. It seems wrong when I look down at her spot now and she isn’t there anymore. I’ve sworn I’ve heard her nails clicking on the hardwood floor or her barking and I’ve started to get up to let her in before I realize. She had two dog beds in my room because she liked to alternate during the night and now my room feels so empty without them.  Lucy wasn’t just a dog – she was a cherished member of the family.  Every day it gets a little easier to speak about my precious dog and not feel the crushing sadness of her passing and I’m finding I can now smile at all the happy memories of her.

“Those whom we have loved never really leave us. They live on forever in our heart and cast their radiant light onto our every shadow.” -Sylvana Rosetti

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