Paws Across the Pond-

 is a group begun by some of the women on the AOL Weimaraner bulletin board.  One of the women had her husband sent to Iraq.  Although we are of different opinions on the US involvement in Iraq, we all agree that the soldiers there deserve our support.  Here is a group of our men in the "I Love NY" T shirts I sent, a letter from our contact there, and a letter from me to the guys.  It really doesn't matter what you write to them about, they all love to hear news, ANY news,  from the States.  I tried to keep my letters chatty and upbeat.

If YOU would like to send items to the soldiers, here is a great website that can offer you guidance in what items are most useful for the men & women, and how to ship them.  Packages to Iraq must be sent Priority Mail, and it takes about 6 weeks for a box to arrive.  The postage works out to be about $1 per pound. It is best if the packages do not weigh more than 20 lbs.

July 24, 2003

Dear Ed,

I received your letter weeks ago, along with another from one of the women in your unit. It was a real pleasure to hear from you. Johnna got the pictures of the Weim Wall posted on the board and everyone was thrilled to see their dogs on display in Iraq. It sounds so brutal there. When I was shopping for things to send I was trying to think of anything that would be cooling, like peppermint scent, wintergreen flavor, etc.

I have a friend that I met in Central Park who also owns a Weim-  The owner used to be a Ranger in Rwanda . I asked him what was the best present he got while he was in the army and he said "fresh clean underwear" was the "ultimate luxury." So based on the advice from that voice of experience, that is what I am sending!  He also suggested that for fun the soldiers try frying an egg on the hood of one of the jeeps! He said that it takes awhile, but that you have GOT to do it just to say that you have.  I am working on a project for Weim Rescue that I am very excited about.  Every year for the past 3 years some of the women in the WCA have gotten together and made a Weimaraner themed quilt. They sell raffle tickets for the quilt, 3 tickets for $5, the winner gets the quilt and the money goes to Weim Rescue. They have the quilt on display at the National Specialty in June, and on their website. They award the winner of the quilt there too. I went to Nationals this year, as 2 of the girls on the board had their dogs entered in agility and show, and they were held in Rhode Island, which was fairly close to me. The quilt was really amazing!! The best part is that over the past 3 years $20,000 was raised for Rescue!!

This year the theme will be "hobbies". You are supposed to show your hobby being performed by a Weim. I have seen one of the blocks already- the owner's hobby is rafting- she has 2 Weims paddling a yellow raft- and she made the raft out of yellow vinyl so it looks like a real raft. As you might have guessed, the needlework-type hobbies were claimed right away. I am planning to use "art" as my hobby, since I spend a lot of time visiting our art museums here. We have a museum for just about everything here. We have a Museum of Holography, even. My favorite is the American Craft Museum, They often feature great interactive exhibits. One of my favorites was on the work of Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, architect of " Falling Water" home in Pennsylvania built on a waterfall, and the Guggenheim Museum (the one that is a big spiral) He has made furniture as well, and they had some replicas there that you could sit on. The furniture is very large scale and rugged, designed especially for the homes he created. They also had photos of some of the homes with French Provincial feminine looking furniture in it, which was VERY odd.

Anyway, I plan to illustrate my hobby by rendering a Weim in 4 different styles of art. The quilt block must be 11"x 11", so I will divide it into 5 1/2" squares. One square will be an Andy Warhol style portrait, in bright electric colors. Another will be a Picasso style Weim, maybe with 5 legs and both eyes on the same side of his head, and the body distorted. I think the 3rd will be a Pointillist look- the image is made of of many tiny dots of color (I will use seed beads) and must be viewed at a distance to see the image. This one will be the most time consuming to create. I think the last one will be an abstract, maybe a blur of color on a flat plane of color, to represent a Weim in motion. I have made a few sketches, but I'm counting on one of my friends to scan some of my pics of Fog and enlarge and simplify them so I can use them for patterns. As difficult as they are to photograph, they are REALLY hard to draw!! I have until the end of the year to complete my block. I'm trying to get an early start and do a little each week- you know how deadlines have a way of sneaking up.

In the nearer future I have the New York Triathlon August 10. Christophe talked me into this one. He enters Triathlons all the time, and it is his dream to be in the IronMan International competition in Kona, Hawaii. Our little triathlon is Olympic length- 1000 yards open water swim, 25 mile bike and 6.25 mile run. I have been training sporadically, but I have had to stop when I have had visitors in town or when I was working a lot of overtime for the Paris collections. I will be lucky if I get as far as finishing the swim the experience. I'm very intimidated by the open water swim- it will be in the Hudson River. I have taken a few swim lessons at the Health club, and the instructor has advised me to just try to be comfortable in the water, that is the most important thing. The day before the race there will be a practice swim- I think that I will do that to try to calm my fears. I would LOVE to be able to take Fog with me!! That would be reassuring- he is such an excellent swimmer.

Okay, Ed, I'd better stop now so that I can get this in the mail to you! Take care and know that we are all thinking of you and wishing you back home SOON!!


Dear Gail,

Thank you so much for sending all that you did. The items were distributed throughout the battalion. Everyone really appreciated your help/support. I've put your card/letter with the other pics, cards and letters from Paws Across the Pond. I sent Johnna some film and in that film is a picture of the Weim Wall here in our battalion Aid Station.

Life here has been pretty uncomfortable. The temperature stays above 90 degrees 24 hours a day. During the day it can get above 120 degrees! That's really hot! Our unit is working hard 24 hours/7 days a week. They rotate shifts. Some guys are fixing a runway that was destroyed and the "Sappers" (?) are blowing weapons caches. We have had 80 injuries with the Sappers. A truck load of mortars and mines blew up b/c one Iraqi got in our area and put one grenade in the truck. It all went up. It was really bad. One soldier was hurt but not too badly.

I'm very interested in you and your story. I have yet to read your book but will attempt to gain time later today to check it out. (Ed is referring to 26 pages of Fog stories.)

Well, I hope all is well and I'm sure you will be receiving letters of thanks from other soldiers soon.

Take care,

Ed H.

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