I was looking back for Friday Flashback and two years ago I found a lovely memory. It was when Alfie had to opportunity of having a bronze resin cast made of his paw. It’s such a lovely lasting memento of his time as part of the family and Mum looks at it regularly. I thought instead of just bringing you things that happened on 4th September I’d bring you the whole story of his bronze cast from two years ago.
4th September The Kit
As Wilma told you yesterday we’re going to be doing some work with a company called First Impressions. They do castings of paws and noses as well as hands, feet and even whole bodies for humans. Anyway, although you can go to their studio to do the cast preparation I’m not really up to a trip to London so I’m going to be doing all that at home. I’m having a bronze resin cast made of one of my paws and we’re going to try to show you the whole process. I didn’t get a photograph of our Mistress collecting my parcel from the post office, but this is me getting excited about the box when it arrived.
5th September Getting Prepared
Well we’ve got as far as reading the instructions for how we make the mould of my paw. Apparently there might be some mess! Now we’re having a discussion about whether it is in the kitchen or outside. I’ve said that I’m prepared to do it outside as long as it is a fine sunny day, but otherwise I want to be indoors. Our Mistress has looked at the weather forecast and now needs to find someone who can help on a fine day. Anyway, she has to get a plastic container that doesn’t matter if it can’t be used again first too. Old clothes is the easy bit. That accounts for most of her wardrobe!
13th September – The Build Up
Cast of my paw
I don’t want you to think we’ve forgotten doing the cast of my paw in bronze resin. It’s all in progress. The things is, when we read the list of what was needed my Mistress decided she needed a cheap measuring jug that it wouldn’t matter if it got ruined. That has now been purchased for the grand sum of 79p. She has promised she won’t just throw it away, so don’t worry. She says she has uses for it in the garden that mean it won’t matter if it still has the special plaster on it from making the cast.
That was problem one solved. Problem two is that she needs an adult to help her. I don’t mean she isn’t an adult, she just needs another one to work with her on it. If we are going to work outside, that adult also needs to be here in daylight. We’re working on that one at the moment and James may be helping.
However, that doesn’t fix problem three. We need to take photographs of proceedings so we can show you all what happens. Wilma has offered, but quite honestly, have you seen the photographs she takes? She’s quite likely to cut off some vital bits in the process. We may have a solution when my Master comes home next week, but I’m not sure he is going to be around in the hours of daylight. At least not while they are at home. They are going away that weekend without me and obviously it can’t happen when I’m not around. I think my Mistress may have to appeal for help instead, but it’s a bit of an odd request. ‘Do you have some free time and some old clothes you can wear at the same time?’
The Real Work 1st October
Mum takes instructions very seriously. That’s why it’s taken so long for us to get to the point of making the moulds. That and the fact she needed help by another human. One of the things if you decide to do the cast at home is that once the material you use sets it is hard to get off. You can of course do this part outside, but on balance Mum decided that Alfie would be happiest doing this in the kitchen where he is most relaxed. You have to remember too that as Alfie has good days and bad days with his dementia, trying to do something as strange as this on one of his bad days would never have gone well.
She decided that after lunch when he was most ready for a snooze or in the evening would be the best opportunities. She also decided she needed to allow a lot of time for set up and to do things without getting stressed. On a more practical level she needed old clothes, newspaper, an old yoghurt pot, something to mix the paste in and some butter or oil to lubricate Alfie’s paw. She used a 79pence plastic measuring jug from Tesco to mix it in and it was about the right size.
Funny memory of the preparations
First of all, having read all the instructions several times, Mum covered the kitchen with some old sheets and some newspaper. Given how co-operative Alfie was, she didn’t need to go quite as far as she did. Then she did a test cast of her finger tip. She’d already put the gloves in at that point and it was so funny because when she took her finger out they stretched and then pinged back on her suddenly taking her by surprise.
After that she realised how much fun it was and wanted to make moulds of everything! We held her back. We reminded her what she was supposed to be doing and she used olive oilto coat Alfie’s paw thoroughly. That was the point she told him he really needed to cut his claws. Anyway, after that it was a question of mixing the special powder with water and getting it into one of the containers before it set, then getting Alfie to hold his paw still in the container while it set. You know what stage it’s at, as it changes colour from purple to pink to white.
A patient dog
That was the point we all agreed she’d picked the right dog to do this with. Alfie is so much more patient than I am. It might have been ok with Shadow or Ari but I would have been hopeless. I’d have been constantly pulling at my paw to see if it had set yet. Apart from thermometers, which Alfie has a habit of sitting down on, Mum can do just about anything with him. He patiently let her do all three casts and apply more oil along the way. He only tried to clean his paw right at the end when she said everything was finished.
7th October – Lovely memory complete
And this is what it looked like – still looks like!