Jazz was an untrusting and aggressive dog when he was rescued.The rescuer wondered at her own sanity for giving him a second change, but she continued to work with him. The Journey was a long one, but Jazz finally learned the ropes so well, that he now works as a therapy dog! Patience sometimes rules the day! (By the way, I’m very close to completing paintings and stories for a 2nd “Give Me That Dog” book.)

the rescue of an aging dog
I received this great story from a couple who only adopt older dogs they find in shelters. Our 2nd “give Me that Dog” book will be published this fall. Many of the stories sent to me were a little more difficult to paint for one reason or another. As in any great dog story, many of these 2nd edition stories have brought sadness and joy into my studio. People who work to make a dogs life better, are an inspiration and have some amazing stories to tell. It is an honor to share their stories.

the “out of control” room

Every day presents new content to my life. The garden is the mediator of the turmoil of every day.  There’s nothing like removing a weed and planting a flower, or placing a big rock just where it should be to provide some balance. Some of life’s problems just have to exist!

Meanwhile, I’ve had time to paint another “living with dogs and cats” painting.  …its a way of dealing with turmoil…


Painting is a conversation. Sometimes the conversation stops…and then, later, it begins again. The room in the painting was too empty. Nothing like my life!  Now it is full of the memories of past  and present dogs in my mind…and even some of the dogs I’ve met along the way…a whole company of dogs. Now it seems like a good conversation. I’m  nearly finished with this canvas.


Some Enchanted Evening…or day

I wrote a note to myself the day after Helen was gone…it was kind of a list about what dog you might rescue if you went to a shelter.  People sometimes say to me, “oh, I could never go to a rescue place because I’d want to take all of the dogs home”….and I always say, “no, you won’t, but then again, you might see a dog that just calls out to you! “It’s that some enchanted evening thing!

The dog might be a crazy dog like Luna or Helen…..or even closer to some unknown edge or territory that you will be exploring. You’ll know that’s the one!  Be brave and strong and go on an adventure with that dog!

Go to a shelter. Sit with that mystery crazy dog at the shelter…and walk around a little and go back for a few follow up visits. Know you can handle the dog!  Luna was always distant and crazy at the shelter, and so was Helen. So, I had to take them home to really discover who they were!  Expectations are a waste of time. An open mind is good.  The amazing part was that when I brought Luna home, she slept in the backyard for three days. After she was rested, we discovered she had separation issues, so that was the challenge we dealt with. Ultimately, she learned that we were coming back, and she could just chill while we were gone.

Helen continued her hyper active performance for about 4 months.  We simply had to kennel her  to get any work done.  It took about a month before she knew she was really home and accepted our routine.  She learned the rules of the house, and she knew what time it was.  She had a regular schedule that we agreed to and could easily abide by! She loved to take walks.  Her nose didn’t work either so there was never any stopping to sniff and, of course, she didn’t care a whit about other dogs !  Her hearing was marvelous, she could hear a pin drop!

Losing a dog

I'll have another please!

Helen, my yellow blind lab, died the day after I returned from my trip to Seattle. She came from Animal Haven , a no kill dog rescue, in Kansas City.  I heard about her on the radio driving to KC and just went and got her.  She was  out of her mind in the shelter, but better when I got her in the car.  No one knew where she came from….just found wandering on a road and turned in to the shelter.  She loved to ride in the car, and she quickly learned  schedules and then made us stick to them. I’m sure she ran trains in her last life. She became our time of the day reminder….as in: Time to walk, time to eat, time to go outside, time to eat, time to watch tv, time to go to bed.  For awhile she slept in my studio at nite,  but as she got older and less trustworthy, I thought she’d be better off in the kitchen. Our vet, Dr. Johnson, gave her excellent care as she struggled with heart trouble.  Yesterday she slept on the front porch all day and wasn’t interested in eating. Then, I knew it was time to let her wander to  yellow dog heaven with all the other free dogs.  Her best qualities were that she hardly ever barked,  she was a great energetic walker and could even walk off lead on this walking path we have in Weston.   She never really liked affection. I think she thought we were going to trick her by being nice first…. but she did hang out with us and I think she enjoyed the life around her. Her tail did wag all day.

What’s the perfect age to retire? How will you know you’re ready?

the perfect age to retire has no number.  I can’t imagine not having some compelling reason to get up every morning.   I’ve worked at many “jobs” in my life from banking, teaching to being a sales person…and now it seems I’ve found the job that I’ve done all my life while I was doing all those other jobs….painting!  I’m lucky!

I always painted while I was doing other work to make an income. The creation of Bellacompany really set me free from the schedule of others (pretty much) and has allowed me to take the time to really paint more as well as give some assistance to dog rescue agencies.  I have no concept of retirement….and can’t figure out what one would do in it!