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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Sammy," Golden Retriever Portrait Painting...and Sweet Story

Sammy, 5"x 7", oil on canvas panel,
10% to Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue
(SOLD, thank you!)

Can I just say that one of the best things about painting other people's dogs, besides the actual painting itself, is in getting to know a little bit about their precious pups. I would like to share the sweet story of 'Sammy,' a Golden Retriever much loved(and missed) by his family in Canada :

Sam was given to us when he was four years old. According to his French previous owner, he was restless, scared of loud noises, chewed everything in sight, was untrainable and oh yeah - he may have been hit by a truck sometime in the past so he's scared of the road. The previous owner had to get rid of Sam because he actually belong to his sister, who was getting divorced, moving to an apartment, and could not reclaim her dog. For Sam that meant going to a shelter or find a new owner that didn't' mind his bad habits.

When we first went to look at Sam, he squirmed out of the house, ran up to us and jumped up on me covering me with mud. He was a big happy puppy as far as I knew, and we agreed to take him right away. Then we were told about the habits mentioned above. I didn't believe a word of it. And when we got him home, we didn't see any signs of misbehaving.

What we did see was a big gentle dog, that loved to play, swim in the river, tease the kittens, carry as many tennis balls as possible in his mouth (three), and chew the caps off of two-liter bottles. Sam seemed to know every trick before we taught them to him... we just had to find the French command words.

My favorite images of Sammy are:
  • The black and white female cat Oreo, holding his head in a vise like grip and licking him clean, He would try to move but she would reel him back in.
  • Our youngest daughter sitting with Sammy by the back door, her little arm over his big head, just chilling... he didn't move because he knew she would fall over if he did.
  • Holding him tight at the Canada Day fireworks. It was true that he was scared of loud noises, thunder, big trucks and fireworks, so I would hold him tight at fireworks. If I just held his leash he would drag me across the grass. The only way I could subdue him was to get all four of his feet off of the ground, and hold him there. I can't imagine what he could do if he was terrified or angry. After the fireworks I was a sweaty quivering wreck.

We miss Sammy. He was our home alarm, winter blanket, backyard friend. He died at 112 (in human years).
(*Photo used with permission, flickr id: Omega Man)


  1. I have loved reading about your blog and your dogs. I have four dogs as my partner had two and when I moved in had to bring my two along.#Your pictures are lovely, i wonder if I could paint my pets on fabric? using fabric paint?

  2. Thank you...not sure about painting on fabric...you probably could, I just am not sure how much detail you could actually achieve, but good luck!

  3. Oh Lara, Don't wait for a special occasion to have a get together. You paint. Make yourself some invitations, and invite your friends to tea. It doesn't have to be a special occasion to have tea you know, just a few hearts. Hearts are what connects you. We laughed yesterday, we shared tears, we shared memories and made more new memories. Starting getting your invites out today. Thanks for stopping by honey, and I look forward to hearing from you soon with pics of your tea. I signed up to follow your blog, if you have not done so, please pop over and sign up to follow mine as well. I want to stay in touch. Country Hugs and Love, Sherry

  4. You are right, I paint so much these days I take little time out, and I miss my girlfriends!Thank you so much and I will be sure to follow your journey as well! God bless! :o)

  5. What a lovely story about Sammy! Reminded me so much of my own Golden who had a similar, previous existence before he came to bring us so much joy.
    Your portrait has beautifully captured the delightful character that is the Golden Retriever!

  6. Thank you! There is nothing quite like a Golden :o)

  7. Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing. I am glad to know our Yellow Lab isn't the only one who likes chewing bottle caps off. It's like a mission with her.