When my dog was a puppy, he was so small I hung a pink cat collar on him, with a bell, so I could find him when I let him out in the yard.
When he was a young dog, he dashed out the door every chance he got.
When he was a bigger dog
well he wasn’t so big, but
When he was an adult dog
he led me for miles on our daily walks
He liked town more than country
but he understood trails
and he stayed close
We walked neighborhoods with many houses
We hiked trails with tall trees
The trails changed
The neighborhood changed
When he was an older dog, our walks got shorter
but still sometimes he surprised me
When he was a senior dog, his eyes clouded over
and he didn’t climb steps
so I carried him.
When he became a sick dog
and then my late dog
I carried his ashes home
I tucked his collar in my pocket
and I went for a walk.
My oldest dog died right around the time I finished studying illustration. In the weeks that followed I continued taking daily walks, at first just once around the block, which was all she could handle in her last days, and then longer walks along trails in the park where we used to go when she was young and strong.
Meanwhile I was an artist in need of a practice. I started a few projects, but what interested me in school felt less compelling after graduation. So I began a series based on places to walk with a dog, and the sketchbook became my practice.
A year and some months later I fostered another dog, with no intention of falling in love again, but I did. Now Shadow has become my model. I most certainly plan to draw and paint other subjects besides dogs, but..well you know, plans…