During this time of year, things happen that are often surprising and heart-warming. Sometimes when you plan on a great gift for someone else, it becomes a gift for you, as well.
It all started when my daughter, Jen, fell through the ceiling.
Yes, I’m serious. She was in the attic getting some stuff down and took a wrong step, literally through the ceiling of her son’s room. Long story short, that fall damaged a few things, one of which was a photograph of the dog she grew up with: Jessie, a gorgeous German Shepherd who was the best dog I’ve ever had.
My all-time favorite photo of Jen is a pic of her on the floor in my kitchen dressed in pj’s with her arm around Jessie on the first day we had her in our home. Jessie was about 8 weeks old, one ear up, one ear down, huge paws, tongue hanging out. They bonded in that moment and after that, they were best friends.
When Jessie passed at the age of 19, Jen fell apart even though she hadn’t lived at home for years, but that dog was like the sister Jen never had. Jen’s fall scratched up the portrait of Jessie at her best, sitting under the apple tree in our Vermont backyard.
I took the portrait from Jen, who asked me to get it fixed somehow. She had a tear in her eye as she relinquished the photo.
My friend, Deborah Bradsher, is an artist who normally sketches houses for homeowners, but she’s done a few animals, so I asked her if she could create a pencil drawing of Jessie. She took on the project with a promise to “try.” I told her I wanted to give the sketch to my daughter for Christmas.
When Deb finished, we met for lunch in downtown Durham, where she shared the sketch with me. It was wonderful! Jessie came alive on that page.
But even better than this gorgeous portrait of Jessie . . . Deb pulled another portrait out of her bag, one I didn’t expect at all . . . a portrait of Izzy!
This was a huge surprise that I absolutely loved! Just like she had with Jessie, Deb brought Izzy to life. His eyes are perfect, and the look on his face is one that I see all the time.
I told Deb that she could sell these portraits, and she’s so modest that she doubted whether anyone would buy one. I’m determined to prove her wrong, so I’m posting her information here. If any of you dog lovers want a portrait of your baby, this is the artist for you!