And she smiles again.

Two doors down from our house, live the Oxners.  Ironically, Kelly grew up two houses away from me, a fact that until now I had not thought of.  A few years ago Dennis and Kelly approached me about drawing a picture of their little springer spaniel, Jessie.  Kelly had just the right photo for a reference pic, one that Danique Rowsell had captured during their family session. Danique is a super-amazing photographer, with unlimited talent, who, with a single snap of a shutter can capture the true character of her subjects, whether they walk on two or four legs.  I have learned so much from her, and you have to check out her site .

I am so glad I was able to give Dennis and Kelly the gift of always having Jessie near by, as this past year, in the arms of her mom, Jessie said goodbye to our world.  When I heard the sad news, my heart ached for Kelly. Then I started thinking about all that made this pup special.   She had a horrible start in life, coming from a breeder who would eventually be shut down for neglect and mistreatment. Jessie had had mange, and almost didn’t make it, if it had not been for the love of Dennis and Kelly.  Jessie was a frequent guest at our backyard fires, keeping our other neighbour’s lab and my guy, Casey, in their place. Didn’t matter if she was only one-third of their size.  Come nightfall though, up into her mother’s arms she would go, for as brave as she was during daylight, she hated being outside in the dark.  Kelly and I joke about the time she chased Casey back into his yard, snapping and barking at his heels, and him with his tail between his legs.  She was known to hide her tennis balls, so as not to loose them to the neighbour’s dog.  Out of all the dogs I have known, she had the most personality of them all.


Months go by, then comes a text from Dennis, “we have a new pup”. To say I was shocked doesn’t really express how I felt when I heard this. My first thought was “Oh no. This dog will never live up to what Jessie was”. Then I realized that it wasn’t fair to think that.  So over the lawns I go, to meet the Oxner’s new addition.  Oh boy was I surprised.

Lexie was tiny. Lexie knew no fear. Lexie was helping her parents heal.  Jessie, you will never be forgotten, but take comfort in the fact that you mom is able to smile again.

Christmas was upon us, and I got a call to see if I would take some pictures of Lexie and her sister Annie. Annie now lived with Kelly’s father, and she thought it would be a nice gift for him.  As I walked through their front door, two dark shadows came out of nowhere and bee-lined it right for me. For a moment I actually felt like I was in a movie where tiny alien fur balls were about to attack. I do have one pic that backs up that feeling, though it is a bit out of focus, cause they move and move fast.  As for who is who? One is fearless, the other, timid. One likes to stick out her tongue, the other is a bit bigger. No matter what, there will be confusion and entertainment when they get together. PS this post was done using my iPad, so I hope the quality of the pics isn’t too bad.

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