I enjoy making fun paintings of cats as much as I do watching them play.
The love a dog has for his/her human is second only to that of a mother for her child. Even though I don’t consider myself a dog person, I know this is true. Growing up, we had several dogs and cats, but we were not really a pet family. One of my sisters loved horses and dogs, and since we could house a dog more easily than a horse, we had dogs. My sister also likes cats but is highly allergic to them, which is sad, because her name is Cat. But I digress.
Dogs are loyal friends who think their owners are the Best Person Ever. “Be the person your dog thinks you are” is a great mantra. When a dog passes, a part of the owner’s heart is lost as well. I came to better understand this as several of my friends’ dogs crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I felt their sadness as well.
The first painting I ever did of a dog was part of a family portrait. Unfortunately, the person who commissioned the portrait thought the dog looked better than her children. I still have that painting. One day the children in the painting will look like her sons. Anyway, I found painting pets to be extremely satisfying, especially when the picture filled a space in the owner’s heart.
I commented to my husband that it seemed odd people would commission a portrait when there were probably hundreds of photos of their pet on their phone. He said (wisely) that having a painting was a memorial. A memorial to love second only to that of a mother for her child.
Maggie Mae was the beloved pet of my friend, Kathy. She was, according to her Human, a “special needs” child, requiring shots twice a day for diabetes. In addition, Maggie Mae was allergic to grass. Kathy never used the word, “dog,” when speaking of Maggie Mae. She was a member of the family.
After a long life, Maggie Mae finally crossed the rainbow bridge, leaving a vacant space in her mamma’s life. For years Kathy talked about owning one of my paintings with zinnias. (Southern women have a thing for zinnias, but that is a topic for another day.) But for now, she needed a painting of her Maggie Mae.
Kathy sent dozens of photos for me to use. In the picture I primarily used, Maggie Mae appeared to be smiling, something I imagine she did frequently. The painting came together easily but needed one extra element–a zinnia for Kathy.
When the painting shipped, I texted Kathy that I wish I could be there when she opened it. So she did the next best thing and made a video. It was truly emotional.
We have our fur babies for a short while, but memories for a lifetime.