Valentine’s Day is a Little Different for Me

I have a great husband who always does something for me.  He gets me things and a couple of times has cooked me lobster (the frozen “humane” kind – NOT boiled alive) and so it’s not that different.  He likes to make me feel special.  I do little things for him, but he keeps telling me that Valentine’s Day is for the girl, not the guy.

The reason it is a little different for me is that it’s the day my Basset hound of 11 years, Fred, died.  Two years ago.  He was getting older and had lost the ability to move and was really sick.  I won’t go into more detail other than he was the sweetest, goofiest best dog ever and had a howl that every time I hear on a video I still tear up.  He was my first dog ever.

This was a picture from me and him years ago:

Me and Fred - 2009

Me and Fred – 2009

This is what I drew in two and a half hours.  I love it.  It was done using the paintbrush and pen from the “Sketchbook Pro” app which I love.  I would love to have their subscription but that’s like currently out of my pricerange.  I love this picture and am happy that I drew it.  I only teared up when posting to FB.  My husband is right – remembering Fred like this is the best thing to do.

"Me and Fred on Black" by Rebecca Galardo

“Me and Fred on Black” by Rebecca Galardo

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Art as a Way of Expressing Intense Emotions – A Path to Healing

I’m obviously not a doctor of any sort.  I don’t write in depth on the subject of pain or intense depression with physical symptoms.  All I know is that in my life when I have felt the most depressed, worthless or helpless some form of art (be it writing, drawing, playing the guitar, painting, etc) has always, ALWAYS been a huge contributor to pull me out of that funk.  Movement (or exercise) and cleaning/organizing have contributed too.  I have never taken medication for depression (I did once have a prescription for anti-anxiety during a VERY rough patch but I didn’t end up taking all of those pills: they didn’t seem to help) but I definitely don’t imply that art is a replacement.  Speak to a doctor regarding these things.

I didn’t post anything yesterday.  While I didn’t start this blog with the intention of daily posts, I certainly wanted to post any day I had time and I did have the time yesterday.  I was just in a bad mood.

I am passionate about animals.  I always have been and I guess that passion and sensitivity isn’t going away.  I haven’t known a single other person in real life that gets so intensely involved, but through the Internet I have met a handful.

I’ve recently taken to a neighbor’s dog.  He got a dog he couldn’t handle.  Whether he got it or someone got it for him (which I believe might be the case) there was no research done into the type of dog that would be best for his family (PLEASE do a little research before you get a dog!  It takes maybe 15 to 30 minutes to look up bread types and the requirements for happy integration & now Animal Planet has an awesome BREED SELECTOR to help!!!).  She’s a very active and incredibly strong lab mix – and he’s in his 80s or 90s and is not really the active type.  I finally got the nerve up to go and talk to him about her spending time with my dogs so she’d have companionship.  She was kept in a large pen outside with nothing all day long.  He just didn’t know what to do and couldn’t physically handle her.  I wouldn’t demonize him ever, it was just a no win situation.  He said yes, happy that I was helping and asked me if I could “take the puppy out of her” so that she could be inside with him.  That warmed my heart!  It wasn’t long before my daily training/walk/playtime had become a real highlight of my day.  I imagined she’d be my running buddy once I got her to work well with leashes and that would be her daily exercise to get all that energy out.

Alas, to yesterday.  I go over and, despite my efforts to walk and train her, he’s gotten another dog, a smaller dog and it was already on its way.  He said he’ll be looking around trying to find someone to adopt her and he has a lady helping.  He told me she’d stay in her pen until they could find her a new home.  It made me sad to think this wouldn’t be her home, but it was okay.  He was getting a companion he could handle and she would find a new home.

My normal playtime routine went as usual and when I got her home the lady from the Humane Society was there to take her.  I was floored.  I thought she’d stay.  I thought I’d still have every day to help her with her behavior so that when we found a home she’d be ready.  And now she’s just being shipped off to the humane society??

I handed her over and left, already crying.  I just can’t take her with my three dogs and three cats.  One of the dogs is smaller than the cats and Ginger has never even seen a cat before!  I just can’t risk anyone getting hurt, including her.  And feeding the 12 animals I have at the moment is no small financial feat.

They have my number.  If worse comes to worse, I can foster until they find a home.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not devastated, mostly for Ginger who never did anything wrong and is now down her buddy and training partner, the only person she got attention from.

Clearly whatever pro-animal, anti-ditch-your-furry-family ads/shows/movies played in the eighties and nineties did their job well when it comes to me.

Now to the art.  I am doing the 100 Faces in 100 Days challenge.  It never said those faces have to be human.  So last night, while a live art class played in the background, I pulled up a picture I’d done of Ginger and took out my Wacom Cintiq.  I drew a light sketch to start off with.  It took about 15 minutes to get about right.

Capturing the Sketch

Capturing the Sketch

Because of the light, it’s hard to see the entire sketch.  So here it is:

Initial Sketch

Initial Sketch

Then I started adding little details, then got really into the eyes.

It's in the eyes.

It’s in the eyes.

I spent the rest of the time adding little details, doing her fur, more on the eyes and finally scribbled in color for my sleeve, jeans and background  I was up 30 minutes past my regular bedtime to finish this drawing.  2.5 hours.  I am not a fast artist at all, but I like the end result.

"Me and the Gingeroo" by Rebecca Galardo

“Me and the Gingeroo” by Rebecca Galardo

I think the eyes and tongue look the best from afar, but the overall picture isn’t bad.  It’s not perfect, something seems off proportionally, but that’s okay.

Here are some close ups:

Tongue

Tongue

Eye 1

Eye 1

Eye 2

Eye 2

While this artwork didn’t stop me from being upset at the thought of her in a kennel, it did help me feel better about the time I got to spend with her.  I know I’ll look back on this picture and remember a really happy, playful, sweet girl who just needed a better home.