I delivered a long awaited portrait commission yesterday of a Scottish Deerhound to a wonderful couple. When I knocked on the door, I knew they had lost not only "Ellie", but also another older Deerhound while waiting for the portrait. They had gotten a new puppy about 7 months ago and also had one other 12 year old dog. I was immediately greeted by what appeared to be an adult. It is unusual for a deerhound to be so exuberant with strangers, so I realized it was their new puppy "Penelope". The couple then told me they had to put their older dog to sleep last week. They had lost three of their beloved dogs in less than a year. The sadness of that was replaced by the new puppy who captured your heart right away. After lots of kisses she quickly retired to the couch in typical Deerhound style.
When I unwrapped the painting, I had my usual nervousness as to whether it would capture the essence of the dog they loved so much. They looked in silence then both expressed how much they loved it. I think they were holding back tears because of the flood of memories it brought back. The daily walks on the beach and how she would love sleeping on their bed. Anyone that has dogs in their lives knows the feeling well when we lose them. We lose a part of our own heart and vow never to go through it again. Yet, we shortly welcome another puppy or rescue into our lives to once again give us the unconditional love that only a dog can give. They decided to "hide" the painting from puppy Penelope so she would not decide it was an early Christmas gift to unwrap. She had once again filled their hearts with love and the joy of owning a dog.