Sonja Nichols

Illustration/Animation | she/her ︎

BARK is a 10-page graphic memoir based on my Labrador retriever, Arwen. In January, Arwen contracted melanoma and had to be put down. She was only five years old, a stark contrast to our previous family Labrador retriever, Jasmine, who lived to be 16 years old. This abrupt and traumatic event has had a profound impact on me. We had brought Arwen home as a puppy shortly after I was assaulted by an abusive partner, and taking care of her for the past five years helped me heal from that trauma. The bond I had with Arwen is indescribable, she was my sister, she was the one I wanted to spend all of my free time with. Expressing this specific loss is cathartic for my grieving process. This memoir examines these past experiences and emotions and explores the bonds between pets and their owners.