These are a set of sweet dachshund portraits that I painted for a client over Christmas.  It was a gift to family that had recently lost one of the two dogs, and she wanted to give them something special with which they could remember the pair. I hope the painting brought the family so much joy!

I thought this was the sweetest gift.  Having lost several pets in my life, losing a pet can feel like losing a family member.  You see them everyday and they go through life with you. I even would talk to my pets, and occasionally they would sass back, but most of the time they would give me the look, “Are you crazy?” or “Feed me now.” Mostly the “Feed me now” face.  Especially as someone who works from their studio in their home, my animals give me so much company when sometimes I feel like I am going crazy.  They offer a much needed distraction and help me put life in perspective.

I grew up as a cat person.  Dogs were in the house, my sister and brother had one each, but I didn’t love dogs. I hate licking.  A lot.  Dog licks gross me out, so although I liked the dogs I grew up with, the licking was too much.  Cats provided just the right amount of affection.

However, right before I went away to college, things changed.  My mom had a large horse property that had a swimming pool and was all fenced in, so she would allow people to bring their kids and dogs to run free, get worn out, and then people would take their said children and pets home.  It was good fun for everyone.  One time, a woman (we’ll call her Mary) brought her kids and one Weimaraner, named Sly, to the house.  Sly had recently been present while his sister was hit by a car, and was being terrorized by the family’s small dog. He was not doing well and needed a break. Being the wonderful woman my mom was, she invited the family over for some fun.  Sly mostly hid because he was afraid of everything, but my mom had a magical way with animals and he came out of his shell a little.  I liked him a lot. So Mary and her kids waved goodbye and went out the back gate.  After they left we realized that Mary had forgotten about Sly.  My mother called her, and Mary responded, “Oh sure, I’ll be right back”.  Mary showed up on the doorstep with a bag of dog food and dog bed. She started crying and saying things like, “Thank you so much, he has caused so much angst between me and my husband, you have saved our marriage!” My mother, who was never one for being caught off guard, was dumbstruck.  She came back in the house and said, “I think we just got a new dog.” We were all shocked and although we didn’t bargain for it, I would absolutely do it all over again.

Sly was a mess when we got him, he would run away from everything, even the door bell ringing.  He was scared of cats, loud noises, and rogue pieces of trash.  For some reason he took to me.  He became MY dog.  I became HIS human. Eventually we went running together and he became the dog he always should have been. He was the perfect college dog, as we would run together in the morning and then he would be a total bum all day.  The bizarre story that precedes this was actually a total blessing.

Photo by Jenny McCann Photography

Photo by Jenny McCann Photography

This was a photo of me in my wedding gown with him.  He was hilarious for the shoot and such a doll.  It was such a great thing that I was able to get photos with him in my wedding dress. Sly passed away a few years ago of old age.  I still miss him, but mostly his memory brings me joy.

I now have two great dogs, one Weimaraner and  one German Shepherd.  I cannot imagine living life without these furry companions.  Right now there is a sleeping dog in my studio, offering quiet support.  See, even cat people can become dog people.

 

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