Thursday, May 23, 2013

Words that made me cry

I received an email from a fellow animal lover who had lost her little dog at the too-young age of 8. She was devastated. Absolutely heart broken.

My heart aches for those of us who find ourselves experiencing the deep grief of pet loss. 

She sent me these words:

First of all I need to say I'm crazy about your work, you are a wonderful artist!
You paint the Angels as if you paint their souls, your work brings out the shine in them that each person fell in love with.

Of course, that made ME cry. 

Being a pet portrait artist is a bittersweet job because:

I get to share the love and joy animal lovers have for their fur kids. 

I get to say “I KNOW!” a lot, in response to comments like: my dog trashed my Landie/kitchen/riding boots/veggie garden/ boyfriend’s cell phone – but I still love him, you know?

I get to laugh with them when they tell me how their dog swallowed christmas decorations which they could ID on the x-rays. 

I smile knowingly when they tell me that their horse is an awesome teacher because they taught them about life and they’re a better person because of it.

I’m the complete stranger who empathises with the animal lover sobbing into the phone when they lose their cat/dog/horse and they’re suddenly faced with a gaping hole where there animal friend was.

I’m the complete stranger who hands over a pet’s portrait and watch their person dissolve into tears in front of me. 

I’m the person who knows exactly how they feel because I’ve been there – last year and the year before that when my Jack Russell Terrier crossed over… and the time my mare was bitten by a snake and I couldn’t save her; and the time my cat was run over outside my house; and the time Venus, my Lab dropped down dead; and the time I was away at college when my childhood dog died and I couldn't say goodbye.

I know exactly how my client’s feel and what they’re going through.

So when the same email continued with:

My baby Angel Lady passed away on Monday, my heart is torn apart. She was such an important part of my life each and every day. I know my Angel is watching over me and I know I have not completely lost her, just physically.

It brings home to me how important this drawing business of mine really is. Because I get it. I DO understand and know how much it damned well hurts when we have to say goodbye to our animals friends.

Her email ended off with: 

Thanks for your kind words, its good to know that you know how much it hurts.

Then I know, its not just a drawing of a girl and her dog –- it’s so much more than that.

Lady – 594 x 841 mm, Pastels

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