My friends Lynne Farren and Mary Preston, both artists, have taken on the task of tree designers for the Humane Society's entry in this year's Mary Bridge Festival of Trees. Lynne's idea was to have many local artists use small 5x5 inch canvases to portray either a cat, a dog, or a rabbit, which she would then use as ornaments on the tree. According to the Humane Society, cats, dogs and rabbits are the animals most likely to end up in the shelter. I was honored to be asked, and, collector of strays that I am, said yes of course I will help out! Rather than work in my current methods, I decided to just paint little portraits of my two beloved pet friends- my 14 year old cat Spanky, and our wonderful 9 year old rescued Border Collie Cody. I have had Spanky since he showed up at a backyard barbecue in July of 1995 as a rather skinny older kitten. My son and nephew showed him how to get in the cat flap, and that was that- our old cat suddenly had a new little brother. No regrets. He has been a good (if sometimes wacky) cauliflower-eared addition to this family. He still hides under the bed when the doorbell rings, but he has made friends with a real dog. That is something I never thought I would see.
Cody came to us in (I think?) 2004. My friend Inga is a foster mom for the Border Collie Rescue people, and my partner Brett's daughter was looking for a companion for her very busy Belgian Terv. We all fell in love with gentle, reserved Cody at first sight. Lives change, and when the daughter needed to find a new home for Cody, there was no question whether Brett and I would keep him. We already thought of him as ours. Before he was rescued, he had been abandoned and living feral for some time. He was polite, but bonded with the Terv first, unused to kind humans, unfamiliar with play and fun. Now, at the ripe old age of 9, he is still polite, but he has learned to live with a cat, and has discovered the joy of play. Especially frisbee. I am so glad we invited these homeless pets into our lives. I think we got the best part of the deal.
Anyway, here is my foray into pet portraiture. I have no plans to quit my day job and start painting pets from this day forth, but I hope whoever gets to take this tree home can see how much I love my guys.