When my children were young, every stuffed animal in the store was a homeless fluffy soul, begging for rescue. My youngest daughter would agonize over which toy most need her love, and would still feel sad about the ones left behind. We aren't much different as adults, adopting our dogs from rescues and shelters, our heartstrings pulled by the hundreds we could not bring home.
Until recently, we had two rescued dogs in our family. One remains, a 14-year-old mixed breed terrier with a big attitude. His companion, an albino Great Dane named Simone, passed away in the fall. Simone was our big doggie. 120 pounds of love, drool and muddy paw prints. A ball catcher (but never a returner), a tug-of-war champion and an ice-cuber cruncher, she touched our hearts the way none of our prior (or current) dogs ever has.
Recently, I was invited to a friend's house for turmeric tea. Much to my delight, she has two large dogs, both Golden Retrievers (George and Molly). Within 30 seconds, I was in big dog heaven. Oh, the leaning for love! Oh, the ball squishing chewing noises! Oh, the soulful eyes and soft muzzles! Oh, the resounding echo of my hand firmly patting a big dog's side! How I have missed that. For a few minutes, it was all I could do not to sob out loud. It had been four months since my own furry friend moved on, and I was unprepared for the intensity of how much I missed her.
The afternoon was delightful, and my friend and her dogs left me feeling connected and content. Of course, I had to go home and bring big dog energy back into my life. This piece is based on a random photo of a large dog at the beach (I could not paint my own dog's image or I would be a weepy mess), but her soulful gaze and ears down stance is so similar to my own lost love, I could not help but paint her. Simone, wherever you are, this one's for you.
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