As you can tell, one of my life’s passions is dogs. I love my own furry friend Lefty as much as any family member, because he *is* family. If I lost him, I’d grieve him deeply. Owners celebrate their pets’ birthdays, confide in them, and have images of them on their cell phones. The memory of a beloved pet is intense; when a beloved pet dies, it’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your sorrow.
I’m a licensed, board certified art therapist, specializing in grief, loss and bereavement, and it’s perfectly ok to grieve in your own way, for as long as you need to. Grief has to run its course, and one way that I’ve been able to offer comfort to other dog lovers is to create a lasting memorial portrait of their beloved pet.
There are many ways to manage your feelings. Write about them privately, blog about them online, research pet support groups to speak to others, and even prepare a memorial for your pet.
My portraits aren’t simply copies of a photograph; they capture the essence of the animal. I strive to portray the emotions, the personality, the memory, and the uniqueness of your pet. Coping with the loss is something that can be eased a bit by seeing your dog through another set of eyes.
I would like to share some of the sentiments from owners whose dogs are no longer with us, but still a memory in their owners’ hearts. Whether a beloved pet has passed or is showing his or her age, a portrait – painted, perhaps from one of your favorite photographs – will honor your pet, now and forever.
My name is Andrew French and my mom is Barbara Dickey. You painted a portrait of my dog Gus. Thank you so much for managing to capture his “essence”. It’s just perfect, although it did bring a tear to my eye. I love it and now he rests in my office. Have a wonderful holiday and all my best wishes in 2013.
Sadly, we found out today that Annie has aggressive bone cancer and the bone in her front right leg is practically gone. There was no indication of this until this morning. The vet let us take her home and said we should see how she does over the weekend but it’s obvious that we will have to put her down tomorrow.
Our hearts are broken, and this coming 11 days after the death of my father is really hard to take. But we know that we’ve been lucky to have her for the last 9 years and we are grateful for every day. She’ll be leaving a great legacy behind. Jane, we are so thankful that you did her portrait, it will be a comforting source of joy forever.
I got a call from Andy at about 11 am, saying that Watson had died last night at about 3 am. He was the most wonderful of dogs and I am so grateful to have your amazing portrait of him so that he stays with me.
Again, I thank you for that wonderful gift. It is great to look at him happy, healthy and hugged and know that he was so deeply loved all his life. He was 11 1/2 years old and my first grandchild. Even though he lived far away, I will miss him every day and your beautiful portrait will keep him in my heart and mind forever!
Please visit my web site, Pets By hArt, to see additional portraits.