What do dogs have to do with art?

As some of you know, we have two dogs. Mac is a 10 year old blind Standard Poodle that is a certified Therapy Dog.  He works with seniors (outside of his home) and children in the ‘Paws  to Read’ Program. Children book appointments and come to read to him at our local library. Our other recent addition is a rescue called Jed who is now 14 months. He has brought Mac back to life after Mac lost his litter mate suddenly a year ago. Jed is working at learning how to find scents that are hidden, kind of like bomb and drug dogs do. Both love what they do, and excel at it, which is great.

I understand that Mac played a key part in our local library winning a government grant Literacy Award (beating out two major cities), all the judges said having a Paws To Read program and Mac helping kids to love books and become confident readers was a key factor. He is doing amazing things with a 5 year old autistic boy, and another 5 year old with behaviour/reading problems. He is the magic…I am just the chauffeur. His story is part of an exhibit- True Grit- at the Dufferin County Museum .

Jed and I have started to do Trials to test his abilities. The first trial, he missed finding the smell hidden in 1/20 containers…as much as I ‘willed’ him to check every box, he was more interested in the smells on the floor. Fail #1. I was determined that we would do better in searching the room, as I would guide him by boxing him in and controlling him with a short leash. Unfortunately I  was so busy with my agenda that I missed him telling me where the scent was and called it being in the wrong place. Fail #2. The last test component was to find the hidden smell on one of three cars out in the POURING rain and GAIL FORCE winds. I had little, okay really, no hope for this one. Well he found it and passed this portion! Over the next two weeks, we practised at different places,  some friends who have been doing this for awhile were great with pointers –  loosen the leash, let him do his thing, watch him, pay attention, trust him! Have fun!

So we headed out to Trial #2. We needed to ‘pass’ the container and room portions to get his first title. I was determined to let him enjoy the sport, try to pay attention even though very nervous, and to loosen the leash controls! He found the scent hidden in container # 9/20 in 18 seconds…and he found the scent in the boys locker room, hidden in a suitcase among the 5 pairs of sneakers, on his own!

So I think I have figured out a few things from all this – GET OUT OF THE WAY.  TRUST.  And surprise, I cannot control the outcome!

Funny how much these lessons apply to other things, like painting.  I know that I think too much sometimes about the outcome and really it’s not about the end result as much as it’s about the process and journey.  I have to remember to get out of my own way. And most importantly continue to play, experiment and have fun. To trust.

I have posted some of my new works in the Galleries pages, I am trying to apply some of these lessons and to continue to explore. I hope that you enjoy some of my new pieces, I would love to hear your comments!

Oh, and  you know I have to share some pics of the boys at work…


Have a wonderful June.

Hope to see you at the Riverdale Art Walk this weekend!

All the best.


Posted in Blog.