A Story- Drawing Custom Pet Portraits- How I coped with the loss of my dog

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My dogs have always provided me with serious emotional support for me over the years as I have fought with what I thought was anxiety/depression. My dog Rocky had been there for me all through high school, the heart breaks, the groundings, and misunderstandings. He was my 3rd dog I had growing up. My first was Sammy, a BIG white fluffly Samoyed and Susie a black and white border collie mix. About a year or so after Susie passed in 2003, my sisters and I talked my Mom into taking us to our local animal shelter to look at dogs. It wasn't her plan to adopt a dog, but when we saw Rocky...we fell in love. You know that feeling when you found the one? More like...when the dog chooses you? You just know. Rocky was only 6 months old at the time, had these big brown eyes and just wanted out to play. My Mom also fell in love, but you can see the worry that crossed her face. We brought little Rocky home and he scoped out the entire house. Funny part is, we didn't tell my Dad. Well, my Dad came home from work, and little Rocky went running to him. I remember the surprised, yet happy look that crossed my Dad's. Unforgettable. My siblings and I called him our brother, as we didn't actually have any brothers in our family.

Years had passed, my older sister got married, I moved out, my sister 4 years younger moved out, and my baby sister got engaged. By 2017, I was living alone, single with my own dog of 6 years Zeus and Anahata, 2 months old, who I added to my little family a month prior. We visited my "brother" Rocky and my parents often as they only live 15 minutes away. In December 2017, Rocky was the "ring bearer" in my baby sister's wedding. Yes, we put a large tux on him. Although he had a hard time getting around that day, you could tell he was excited to be there. My family all knew that this would probably be his last winter. It was heartbreaking. In November 2018, I lost my "brother" Rocky after we discovered he had leukemia and his life was quickly taken from him at the age of 14. I cried for days. The last time I saw him was on Thanksgiving and I knew he didn't have much longer, and totally lost it in front of my best friend who was visiting out of town. My poor 'puppup'. That Christmas, I drew a portrait of Rocky and my baby sister at her wedding for her present. Rocky meant so much to us, and drawing helped me cope with the loss.

I wanted to get a tattoo in his memory so I searched for hours online for something affordable. Finally contacted a local artist who was able to give me a cute rendition of Rocky when he was at his prime. The process took for what seemed forever. I thought to myself, this should be an easier hassle free process for anyone. So I started to draw the pets in the family and got surprisingly good at it. Recently, I was diagnosed with ADHD, and life began to make much more sense. My creative side hobbies were all over the place, but I fell more and more in love with digital drawing. I had all the tools I needed in my hand and was able to keep my focus for hours at a time. For the past month, I have drawn over 40 portraits (including humans and misc. things) for friends and family who requested it. Including my own Rocky below for my mother who has been having a hard time coping with his passing. Recently, I decided to open my own Etsy store to test the waters in hopes to bring back some color back into other's lives and capturing their furchildren at their best for a memory to last a lifetime. Drawing has been helping me stay creative and live in a more positive way. You can find my work here www.etsy.com/shop/artbymyssfit