Let Sleeping Dogs and Children Lie

Here we have my entry into the "Animal Art Awards 2012". A combined life and pet portrait of Bon and furchild enjoying a quiet moment together. I knew the moment I saw these two buddies snuggling together that it would make a gorgeous painting so I grabbed my camera before they even realised I was there. I love the light falling across Bon's dress, the simplicity of the colour palette, the composition and the pure love and contentment of these two friends. I found time in the school holidays to focus on getting this started...and finished. Phew. What makes it all the more special for me is that our beloved Furchild is getting old. We have all noticed her slowing down; finding it harder to get up in a hurry; excitedly enjoying her morning walk then happily sleeping the day away. It breaks my heart to think of her not being part of our family and knowing that it may be only a few short years until this is a reality. She turns 9 in November. She may have only 3 or so years left with us. Genetically, being a large breed and a Golden Retriever her days are numbered. So very, very sad. I can't even think about it without tears coming to my eyes. She is such a joy to me. When Bon turned 3, I knew we were ready to bring a dog into the family. I researched and read and searched some more. I visited every pet shop and rang a zillion breeders in my quest for the perfect dog, with the perfect breeding and the perfect health to bring into our per...not so perfect family. I had a long, long list of attributes I was looking for...Accredited breeder, good parentage, vet checked, wormed, vaccinated, blah, blah, blah. I even had our name down for an unborn chocolate labrador in the eastern states. One day, on a whim, I checked the local buy and sell everything and anything paper. There was this small, insignificant ad selling an "Unwanted Christmas Present". I rang Dude (who thought I was crazy) and organised to see this pup...problem was, she was miles and miles away from our house. Dude ran late leaving work, we got stuck in traffic, then got lost and our 2 very little, excited girls were getting sleepier and grumpier by the minute...We arrived home at 10.30 pm with two sleeping children and a very delightful, grey, dirty, neglected, unwormed, unimmunised 12 week old puppy who had never been inside a house or even been given a name. How had this happened? It was love at first sight. The biggest problem we had, after getting a huge thumbs up from our local vet that we had a perfectly healthy pure bred Golden retriever (And yes, she was from a reputable breeder) was naming her. My choice was "Pearl"; she was as precious and as beautiful as a pearl that's for sure. Dude though, thought he would have issues with his manliness calling out "Pearl" at the dog beach. So...after much deliberation, we named her after a hotel instead!! Yep. We named her after our favourite hotel in Mauritius...the Shandrani. She's Rani for short. Our beautiful golden-haired girl with the Indian name. It means Princess. She has another name too...my Mum calls her Marilyn, like that other beautiful, dizzy blonde the world has always loved. Here we are, nearly nine years later. I can't imagine having brought up the girls without a dog in their early childhood. She has taught them about the unconditional love that only a gentle family dog can teach. I grew up with dogs and so did Dude and though Rani has been our first dog as a family, I know she will not be our last. I can't imagine not having a dog in my life. Yes, they are expensive to look after, and boy oh boy, Golden retrievers are fur ball factories, but the house would be so lonely without the constant companionship a dog can offer. I'm so glad to have finally painted Rani and that Bon happened to feature with her. My challenge now is to get a photo as good as this one with Bel. A painting such as this is a family heirloom...something the girls will eventually hang in their homes when they have children and pets of their own. Never underestimate the joyful memories a dog can give. Thanks for reading my ramblings! Hope you like my latest painting. Mia x
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