Tom (Jan 26, 2004 – May 5, 2020)

Tom (Jan 26, 2004 – May 5, 2020)

Beloved canine companion and collaborator Tom died at age 16, in Vancouver. Tom succumbed to cancer, in the late evening of May 5 at home surrounded by us.

Tom was a force of nature and creative spirit. He enjoyed being outdoors and going for walks and hikes. In his early life, he was full of good natured energy, tenacity and curiosity. He had an insatiable appetite for different foods and new experiences. Later in life, Tom became a steady presence and peacemaker. He actively offered comfort during upsets, was compassionate towards children, and advocated for respectful sociability.

I owe my Animal Lover practice to Tom who initially thought up of the idea in 2007 as a sustained body of work. He was always enthusiastic about collaborating on the early projects: EPIC_Tom, Rockstar, Bikeride, Aria, Wait, and Screen Test – Tom, the Tom and Sugi Climate Emergency Blog, and his Twitter feed (with Sugi) @Tom_and_Sugi. He retired from his art career in 2014, but continued to be a strong influence and inspiration in my research and practice. He loved to curl up and sleep in his favourite chair in my studio while I worked. He had the ability to fall into deep sleep and, at the same time, stay alert to the precise moment when it was time to go for a walk or be fed. Tom is deeply missed.

Greg, Sugi and I are mourning Tom’s departure by calling upon his courage and optimism in these challenging times of the pandemic.

Sugi likes to go for a drive

  • Lesson from Sugi: some dogs like to go for a drive even if there’s no destination
  • Sugi says: “please take me with you!”
Recently, Sugi has been protesting my going out without him. Sometimes he runs downstairs as I’m getting ready to leave. He will follow me to the back door even though I explain to him that I have to go out and he has to stay home! I tried an experiment and asked him if he wanted to come with me while I was getting ready to drive around doing errands. He was very enthusiastic about this. (Tom wanted to stay home). While driving, Sugi purred and sighed with contentment behind me! When I made my stops, I left Sugi in the car and told him I’d return shortly. He didn’t get out of the car again until we got home. He seemed perfectly fine with this and told me he was grateful to have accompanied me for those few hours. In fact, he seemed to gloat a bit when he got home and greeted Tom. I think he felt like he got some special treatment!