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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sassy

Sassy
Oil on canvas, 12x12. Not for sale

One day a few years ago, I signed up to put my art on the Hygienic Gallery's then-new art network page. The Hygienic Restaurant (which wasn't... hygienic, that is), on Bank Street in New London, Conn., was a fixture in my youth. Then, it was open all night, and was at times a tough place, a low-down dirty shame kind of place and a funky all-night-diner kind of place. Now, it's an art gallery kind of place, and a mainstay of downtown New London.

So I signed up to put my work on its homepage, and in short order, got an email from a woman named Lori who made wonderful animal paintings and also was a Red Sox fan. She'd grown up around here, but was living in Long Island. We became friends, sharing emails and art over the internet, and eventually meeting. I'd say we are friends for life.

Her husband moves around for work, and so he and Lori and their dogs are living now in New Mexico. It's a long way from anywhere, I think, but she's painting and making friends and rescuing animals, and learning her way around.

This painting is of Lori's dear old dog, Sassy, who died this week at the age of 17. She reminds me very much of my old girl, Kaja, who's about 14.

I know that when I open my heart and my life to a dog, it means opening myself to the pain of losing that dog. I miss every dog and every cat I've had, and when I hear of the death of a beloved pet, it brings all those deaths back. But I'd never trade the joys of sharing this life with these pets. Never.

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