hank came home with us on december 5, 2017 and we have been beside ourselves with love for him ever since. we love the way he rotates his big, bat ears around, we love his snorty, white noise machine breathing, we love his little button that is too tiny to wag, we love when he rolls around on his back looking for a belly rub, we love when he snuggles up with us on the sofa, we love when he howls along to theo’s trumpet playing, we love when he picks up sticks four times his size and carries them around, we love when he flops down with his legs splayed out behind him like a frog and we love the way his bum wiggle waggles left to right when he is trotting about the neighborhood.
and we forgive him EVERYTHING. we forgive him when he muddies up our freshly washed, white sheets, we forgive him when he makes our eyes water with the strength of his silent but deadly fooeys, we forgive him (and look the other way) when his hot pink jellybean comes out, we forgive him when he chews up my reading glasses or the remote or lucy’s brand new uggs, we forgive him when he forgets to wipe after his potty and leaves a brown smear on the sofa (i’ve had it cleaned professionally TWICE since he moved in), we forgive him when he brings a stick into the house and leaves chewed up wood bits everywhere, we forgive him when he marches through the piles of folded laundry and knocks them all down, we forgive him when he pulls the batting out of lucy’s stuffies (wait - she MIGHT not always know about this), we forgive him when he hides just one of our socks under the bed and we throw the other one away, we forgive him when he sheds his blonde hairs all over our black clothes when we are late for a meeting and we forgive him when he whimper whompers at us during dinner because one of us might have ruined him and fed him from the table. we forgive him because we love him so. (my children like to remind me that if they transgressed in any of these ways, i would probably sell them on eBay… i don’t know WHERE they got that idea, but i am pretty sure that if i did, i could get a lot of money. in photos people can’t tell how cheeky they are or know that they don’t always flush or that i frequently have to remind them a bazillion times to put their shoes on or brush their teeth or put on sunscreen and that i often have to take the iPad or phone away from them by force… in photos they just look like they would have a high market value.)
we wanted to show hank how much he means to us by having him properly immortalized so i was delighted when i was introduced to the work of janet swanson. janet has been painting professionally for over forty years. her work has been published in books, shown in various galleries and won many awards in juried shows. she is currently teaching art at the colorado mountain college. her newest endeavor is pet portraiture.
(janet and one of her subjects.)
janet has always had a natural affinity and connection to animals and she strives to bring out the particular personality of each subject in her paintings. she creates realistic portraits with modern, minimal backgrounds. janet works from photographs so we spent a lot of time deciding which one to send to her. we had photo shoot after photo shoot with hank, trying to capture him from the most flattering angle… we realized that a downward shot emphasizes his adorable face, rather than his “sturdy” build (he is a bit sensitive about his frame living in exercise obsessed boulder - i know this because he has started posing with his head tilted upward like women “of a certain age.” he is perpetually on a weight reduction program, but there is only so much outdoor activity that hank and i can take!) ultimately, we chose a baby photo because REALLY have you ever seen a cuter pup? we are so happy with janet’s depiction of hank… now my kids are wondering why i never had paintings commissioned of them.
* i would NEVER sell my children on eBay… i love them so much… especially when they are sleeping!