My most difficult painting ever (but why I will always treasure it)

A painting of MY pet

Junior came into our life from a rescue. I had been looking at adds in the papers because we wanted to adopt a dog into our family. The kids were still young but no babies and they were used to dogs already. It felt like the right time. The dog we went to see turned out to be not suitable for us. But we saw this handsome little Lab mix puppy sitting in a kennel and we fell in love instantly. A few days later, the puppy was brought to us by the nice lady from the rescue and the rest is history. Junior was the perfect addition to our family. Playful, intelligent, cuddly, smart and always up for a game of football or a walk.

The perfect friend

Junior wasn’t just a perfect family member and friend to us. But he also took to the new 4 legged family additions like a star. Nothing faced him. I still remember bringing Red home for the first time. Red came from a less than ideal home. He smelled so bad and his lovely long fur was badly matted, his body way too thin. He was a sorry sight. I picked him up and put him in the car with Junior. You should have seen the look of disgust on Juniors face when he got the whiff of poor Red! I almost couldn’t stop laughing. But like a star, he endured the smell and gave his frightened companion a shoulder to lean on while we drove home. I gave both a bath when we got home and from then on, Junior was the rock in Red’s life. He was the rock in all our lives.

Our worst nightmare

Junior was nearing his 10th birthday. He still loved his walks, even though they were a little slower and shorter now. But one day he stopped halfway and needed a rest. That was strange. Then his ears got a little infected and didn’t want to clear up. So we did a full check-up at the vets and they found a lump in his shoulder. We took blood for tests but we all knew what the result would be. Junior was diagnosed with Cancer. An operation was no option for him, we could only make him comfortable with meds. Our time was limited.

A portrait full of love

I took him out in the garden that day with my boys for a photo session, desperate to get a photo worth painting. I felt the need to get his portrait done before I would have to say goodbye. It was never a question in my mind that it would be a painting instead of a drawing. I always loved his gorgeous eyes and I knew I needed to capture that color of deep amber. He was our first dog and I wanted to create a painting of my pet, my friend. A painting worthy of him.

I got my photo and I finished his painting. It was a labor of love but it was healing and therapeutic. I painted while he slept at my feet. A few days after it was finished, Junior’s meds gave him severe reactions. We couldn’t let him suffer and it was time to say goodbye to our friend.

Years have passed and I still miss him. But I know he is watching us with his amber eyes. His painting gives me the feeling that he is still with us, looking over us. If you would like to see the finished work, here is a link to the painting of my pet.