Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Smile That Warms the Heart

Just look at that smile. My Tucker had a smile that just melted my heart and made friends wherever he went. Sadly, he's now with us only in our hearts and memories.

Knowing how much I miss my friend and confidant, my husband gave me the best Christmas present ever: a portrait of Tucker.

The artist, Lorraine Bollinger, did an amazing job, and I let her know (see the text of my letter to her below). If you or someone you love has a pet that they love or have loved, consider getting in touch with Lorraine ( She's a wonderful artist and a wonderful person.

Dear Lorraine,

You made me cry Christmas morning.

Our family lost our dog -- my beloved golden retriever -- this past September very suddenly and very unexpectedly. I've been grieving and missing him every day, wishing he could still be here with us.

On Christmas morning our family was happily unwrapping gifts when my husband handed me what turned out to be the mailing tube that held Tucker's portrait. When I unrolled the paper and saw his gentle, smiling face, it felt like he was right there in front of me. You'd captured his happy, laid-back personality and the warmth in his eyes perfectly. So, of course, I burst into tears. After some hugs from my sons and kisses from Annie (Tucker's friend and fellow dog), I rolled up the portrait and started planning how I'd mat, frame, and hang his portrait.

It's hard to describe the feelings that go through your mind and heart when you look at an image of your beloved pet that's been rendered by an artist who not only has the skill to create a beautiful piece of art, but who also obviously understands the bond some of us have with our pets. Many, many thanks for sharing your talent and helping me remember the joy and love Tucker shared with us all.

You might be interested to know that I took the photo from which you worked to give to a resident at a retirement facility Tucker and I visited each week. "His smiling face is the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night," she told me a few weeks after receiving the picture. "He gives me the strength to make it through each day." Now his portrait can offer the same comfort to me that his photograph does to that lovely lady.

Again, my sincere thanks for sharing your gift with my family and me.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Laurel and Ed, this is so touching. In 2000 we lost our black Lab, Koko (named after Koko Taylor 'cause she had the blues when we found her!) and that Christmas my mom, now deceased, and an artist, drew a pencil portrait of Koko and framed it, signed by her. It is small, a 4x6, but when I opened it that Christmas, I burst into tears. Tears for the loss, tears for the thought and tears for the whole circle of love. We never forget the pets.
    Well, long live Tucker! He's out there and probably nearer than we know.