As an Art Connection artist donor since 2006, umpteen pieces of Susan's artwork have been selected by, and adorn, dozens of Greater Boston non-profit facilities. A list is included under Exhibits. In 2017, opportunity finally arose for Susan to spread her love for giving art to Toronto. CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) chose sixteen pieces for permanent display at their groundbreaking Toronto Community Hub.
Appointed as Goats Ambassador for International Students House (2015), Susan painted a "50-Goats" commemorative piece to help celebrate the charity's first 50 years. This is now on permanent display in their landmark Park Crescent lobby. She also collaborated on a video showcasing Canadian Goats (alumnae).
A 2014 - 15 board member of the Toronto Heliconian Club, Susan participated regularly at its Sketch Group and in collaborative shows.
Lev and Sage: Always on the Job with Susan
New book manuscripts are always in the works (dogs being a special interest for these), Editorial assistants of blessed memory, Lev and Sage showed great patience through Susan's longer spells or writing and painting. Sweet is learning… In 2016, sixteen years after it was first published, Susan's book, Therapeutic Art Directives and Resources: Activities and Initiatives for Individuals and Groups is still going strong. Commentaries within are by popular Psychology Today columnist, Cathy Malchiodi. Foreign language editions are in Hebrew (2006) and Korean (Sigma Press) respectively.
One of Susan's Many Self-Help Doodles
Susan is available to consult and present internationally, as well as locally: in person, by phone, or on-line. Educational, therapeutic, creative, organizational, or motivational, she is committed to meeting client needs practically and expeditiously, in English, ou en français. Unique among her tools are personally produced self-help image cards. These confirm what many feel, but may be less comfortable to share. The image above is just one example. Information about Susan's latest coaching offerings are included at Shop & Services.
Lev and Sage: Canine Nuptials
Never too late to get married! Lev and Sage (of blessed memory), art studio assistants and DocSusan website developers, set an example in Summer 2009. Older woman (12 years old then) and younger man (9 years old then), with him letting her win every time, participated in special high-tea nuptials. Setting: Méridien King Edward Hotel. Cause: precursor to Woofstock, raising funds for canine cancer research through Ontario Veterinary College's Pet Trust.
Sadly, both Lev and Sage have since passed. Lev's death was unexpected and traumatic, October 20, 2014. following veterinary slip-ups. Sage passed more peacefully, thankfully, but following months of bravely resisting age-related conditions (and being nursed lovingly), November 12, 2016. Life is just not the same without these two special companions, who are deeply missed in every way every day. Fortunately, during almost 18 years of wonderful togetherness with Lev, and also most 17 with Sage (and an overlap of 15 when the three of us were together), incredible experiences were had.
After eight months of Sage being an "only dog," Sweet, a brown female Toy Poodle, joined the DocSusan family, July 2015. Sage and Sweet were a perfect example of how puppy and senior can get along. Now, Sweet is an "only dog," but was trained by the best: Sage. Sweet is one of the youngest applicants to have passed her Pet Therapy Certification with Therapeutic Paws of Canada, and did so at the end of 2016. In 2017, she achieved her Canine Good Neighbour designation, then Susan and Sweet's volunteer work at Toronto's UHN (University Health Network) began.
The below is an acrostic, the shortest of many pieces written in wake of Sage's passing:
Simply the best
Angel on earth
Gracious, insightful, inspirational, kind
Eternal love and light, joyous, and fun
The below is a spontaneous poem/death announcement/obituary for Lev, written day after her passing:
LEV IS DEAD
My “angel” really is an angel
The love of my life
Best friend, tear licker, wagging tail
Without her, everything will feel pale
Everywhere, anywhere, the people and pets she touched
Many more than just me and Sage
The love she gave, without limit
The joy she brought, friends, smiles, “trials”
A life without her, hard to imagine
House feels empty and quiet, even after a “no sleep diet”
Lots of “work” (love) the last few months
Many diagnoses, varied prognoses
Waiting, wondering, watching, willing
Had we known what we do now
We may have done differently
Never took a day/night with Lev fore granted
Treasured each precious hour
Had she not hidden her pain
Never tried to complain, always ready to please
What could we have done more?
We did everything, or at least tried, no limits
Her partner, Sage, knew, now I am sure
Bright eyed, he’s at my side
Has wiped every tear I’ve cried
He may not have as long as I would like (which would be for ever)
Getting up there at almost 15
But, for now, together, we can be strong
Pink Buddy Belt in hand and leash returned to us
It was a long 24 hours
The end wasn’t ideal
Closed off my birthday for which she struggled to stick around
Life won’t be the same without her
A heavy care descending
Always tried to put her first, no plan made without considering her
Sneaking her in and including her somehow in bag or on bike
In my/her sight all was right
We were ONE
Three souls together, intertwined for ever
Proud of who she was
And who she will be from above
How she made me a better person
How she trained Sage and he her
Lev means love, and heart and lion
Which she was, and so much more
My little luv, my little dove
She is free of a pain that she tried to mask
Free to travel to wherever she wishes and or hang tight
I will always feel her and be there for her, as she has been, and will still be, for me
Impossible to forget
Though hard, in the moment, not to regret
Kilimanjaro Summit: Susan and Climbing Buddies
November 2007, Susan reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. After 10 months of uninterrupted painting for her Florence Biennale exhibit, she was ready for a different type of challenge—physically and emotionally. Not the fittest in the group and not having done enough (any) training, how did she make it to the top—one of the 50% who do, and the only female? She believes three factors helped: proper attire, not trying to be clever, and not being competitive. She was on more of a spiritual quest: enjoying the wonder of being there and experiencing whatever was meant to be. What kept her going on the final ascent? Three gifts: camaraderie of peers and guides, not knowing what was (really) coming next, and an inability to give up (with anything).