Pet Rescue Art: If I am breathing I will be rescuing.
I just recently finished this little diddy…I decided a long time ago that since we all exit this life the same way eventually (empty handed and six feet under) that rather than accumulate “things or experiences” that I wanted to be completely used up when I die…I choose to use up whatever energy and resources I have being involved with pet rescue…whether its using my art, caring for my own house full of rescues, training rescue dogs or fostering homeless dogs…it is truly the highest privilege in life to find the vocation God destined me for…I live a blessed life.
This painting is an acrylic on canvas…11×14…glossy archival finish. This and many other of my paintings are available at my ETSY shop. I donate a portion of all of my sales to pet rescue groups.
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I firmly believe that what we do in this life will follow us in to the next life. We all leave a trace while we are here…some call it a legacy…be it small or grand though it will follow us. My trace, like most people’s I suppose, is a mix of good and bad. I had my wild years…the years where what I left behind was more like a stain than a trace. But my animals continue to rub my rough edges off. I will leave no grand legacy…just a trace of life with animals. I hope that trace is learning to work with difficult dogs (who for some reason are the one’s that steal my heart) and sharing the realities of how poorly animals still fare in our increasingly complex and unfeeling world through my art.
I started painting just a few years ago. My muse was my Rottie Hercules. He was also the reason I had to learn to train dogs. Like his human mama…he was head strong, difficult, didn’t always play well with others and enthusiastic about everything he did (good and bad). After he died I had a broken heart for a long time. It seemed like no time had passed at all before I was losing my clear mental picture of him…I felt like I was losing his face. So I started doodling/drawing him and then one day picked up some cheap pastel paints and painted him. On the left is this very first painting.
I was hooked after this..painting became my outlet. Every time I felt moved in regards to my own animals or the fate of other animals…I turned to painting to work it out. I am what they call in the art world an “outsider”. I have no formal training…actually I do not even have any informal training. All I have is a desire and passion to speak for animals through art. It was therapeutic for me…I never thought that what I was doing would resonate with others.
Two year ago I finally had enough paintings finished to open an ETSY shop. I started my little art shop with the hope that it would be a way for me to give voice to homeless animals and raise money for homeless animals while still being able to be present at home for my own house full of rescued pets (I have eight of them).
In the last two years I have shipped art to 29 states (CRAZY) and the momentum continues to build. The first three months of this year allowed us to raise our largest amount of funds so far …just over $1,200.00…I hope this momentum continues and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate everyone who frequents my shop, sends me referrals and connects me with rescue groups running large auctions.
I raise money in two ways…the largest portion is from my original paintings that go straight to charity auctions to raise money. My highest single auction sale to date has been $700.00 for one painting. If anyone had told me that I would make a painting that fetched that kind of money I would have laughed at them. I also donate a percentage of any sales of my art and handmade leashes from my ETSY shop to rescue charities.
Parting with my art is an odd thing. I am of course happy when I sell a piece or ship one off to auction. But there is also a strange remorse. I am parting with a piece of myself that I will never see again. It really is quite strange.
Fortunately, I am blessed with a house full of rescued cats and dogs that are my constant muse for my art. They give me so many ideas for more paintings that it feels like I have ping pong balls bouncing around in my head…I have to write them down or I will clutter them out. My website has been a great place to share my ideas and I appreciate everyone who reads and comments here.
Every life is precious…and that means the sweet animals too! God Bless and thanks for your support over the last two years!
Pet Rescue Art: Do we see our pets again after death?
What I am working on in my studio usually speaks to what is going on in my head and heart…lately is it grief and sadness. Grief is such a strange journey…its unique…no two losses are the same but no single experience of the loss of a loved one is about the loss of just that one loved one. When we open up for grieving it usually re-opens many old wounds that never completely healed. I find that my sensitivity to everything around me is heightened when I am experiencing grief. My ability to truly feel the experiences of another person or animal is so acute that it is physical. It is both an awful and awesome place to be emotionally and spiritually.
I am of the opinion that we never “get over” the loss of someone we care about. Rather, we just learn to live with the pain. The piece of our heart that breaks when they are gone remains broken and becomes part of who we are forever. It is part of becoming truly human.
I also believe we see our pets on the other side of life. Not because I “need” to believe that nor believe it is something polite and appropriate to say when anyone is in pain over the loss of a beloved pet. I believe it because it is logical to believe it. It is congruent with a Christian world view to believe it. And there is tangible evidence that we see our pets again. To say that a living creature is lost forever when it dies would constitute a belief in a world view called ” annhilationism”. Annihilationists believe that anything that is alive is gone forever once physically dead. The problem with that belief is that collective human intelligence (and by that I mean almost every single society that has ever walked this planet) has rejected annihilationism. Almost every society has believed in the spiritual birth of something new after death. While those belief systems vary, of course, what they hold in common is that there is something beyond life in the flesh for creatures. To hold the view that any creature, human or animal, is annihilated after death would put you in conflict with most of humanity…so which view does it make logical sense to hold? A Christian world view holds that all of creation is redeemed and part of God’s plan…while I will write more on this at another time…to exclude our beloved pets from God’s redeemed creation would be in direct conflict with a Christian world view. While it’s not as common to talk about it in a contemporary culture that does not want to deal hands on with death and dying…stories of what happens during the dying process and accounts of Near Death Experiences tell us a lot about what awaits us on the other side. And these experiences include interactions with animals; particularly pets already gone.
I like to think of the pets gone before me as waiting for me…which is selfish…really I hope they are running and playing with others and doing what they were meant to do naturally. But I know I will see them again. I hold this belief so strongly that while I love life on this side…I look forward to it on the other side just as much.
I have been painting Sparky, my beloved black lab who recently died. The painting is taking awhile because sometimes I am too emotional to work on it. It is a painting of how I picture him looking down on me now. (ok…tearing up as I write this…). I will share it when its done. I believe its completion will bring me as close to closure as one can get when a loved one dies.
Thanks for reading my posts and viewing my art. Much of my art is for sale at my ETSY shop. Sparky’s passing has opened a new chapter in my pet journey…one that is very focused on a new member of our family, Buster. Buster is a reactive dog that came here in a pretty wild state…I have decided to start chronicling the ways I have worked with Buster’s reactivity in hopes it can help other dog parents dealing with reactive dogs.
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