Wednesday, March 19, 2008

In Memory of Mary Ann

I've been thinking about my late dog, Mary Ann a lot lately. I mean really thinking about him, like waking up crying in the middle of the night. He passed away three years ago on April 10. He was 12 years old to the day. He was a happy, crazy incorrigible dog and I loved him so. I got him when he was 6 weeks old. Yes, I named a male dog Mary Ann. I wanted a cocker spaniel named Mary Ann and there were only males in the litter. He was fixed anyway. I was in my last year of college when I got Mary Ann. We grew-up together. He let me cry in his fur when my heart was broken. He taught me how to mother and love and care for another living thing. In 2005, he slipped a disk in his back while he was running down the stairs and became paralyzed. We had an emergency surgery done and hoped that he would regain his ability to walk. He didn't. A month passed and one night, while I lay on the floor curled around his broken body, I quietly asked him to tell me what to do. An image of him running on the beach (his favorite thing to do) flashed into my mind. I was overcome by the realization that he was miserable. He was too proud to be paralyzed. He didn't want me to remember him like this-he wanted me to remember him as a happy, vibrant dog, running on the beach. My husband and I had him put down within the week. When we walked into the vet's office, I was terrified he would struggle like he always did at the vet. But he didn't. He laid his head in my lap and was so peaceful & calm as we waited for the vet to come in and administer the shot. I've never regretted the decision to put him down. I will always remember him running on the beach. Everyone says you have one pet in your life who is the ONE. Mary Ann was mine. I was pregnant with my daughter when he died. In some way, I feel like he felt his job was done-he taught me how to be a mother and was passing on the torch.

So all these sleepless nights lately, remembering my lost dog and today I came up with this pet portrait idea. I think little Mary Ann, the boy dog, was trying to be my muse and my emotions got in the way. I'm hoping that I'll sleep better tonight.

Oh! I do have another dog, named Jack. (YES! He's a boy!) He still mourns Mary Ann the way I do. Don't tell him he's not the ONE. I don't want to hurt his feelings! I did a portrait of him too.

I'm thinking of doing commissions of these. It would make me feel better to help people capture the unique personalities of their pets (living and passed). Maybe I'll donate some of my sales of them to an animal Mary Ann's name, of course!