MFA: Rescued Dogs
After spending some time deliberating over the different avenues I could take, I found inspiration within a month of starting the MFA program at Western Connecticut State University. A visiting illustrator, Zina Saunders, spoke in a lecture about her recent work on a series of New York residents and their passions and hobbies. She said, 'I wanted to find people who were as passionate about what they did as I was about illustrating.' This was monumental to me, because instantly when I asked myself, 'what am I passionate about?' and the answer was easy. It was a guttural instinct and I knew it would become my thesis project. I have and always will have a deep place in my heart for rescued and sheltered pets. I have grown up surrounded by people in my family who love and care for animals and we have always had multiple cats in the house, most often rescues that we've picked up in the neighbourhood, or adopted from a local shelter. My family believes strongly in adopting shelter animals and so I too have become an advocate for this cause. It is unbelievable the millions of stray cats and dogs that are euthanized every year in the nation because they were found without a tag or address and no one adopted them. Kill shelters are all over the country, and it is very difficult to find enough funding to help with the overwhelming numbers of animals that are brought into shelters every day. I spent my time at Andrews University in my undergraduate program volunteering at the local animal control where we socialized and walked the dogs and played with cats on the weekends. This would be the source of my inspiration that would drive my two-year thesis project on telling stories of rescue dogs.
Diesel was moved into a shelter with other dogs, making him aggressive and over protective of his food and personal space. He’s been learning to share his space and lap time with his furry adopted sister in his new home. Fernando and Emily love him very much, and have taken great attention to make him happy and also help train him to be a sweeter little man as he gets older. He isn’t afraid of letting you see him dance for treats, his little tail wiggling as he gets excited for a tasty reward.
We spent a whole day playing and socializing with the dogs and cats at the shelter, but that day my friend spent hours just with this one dog. The manager said this one hadn’t eaten or touched water for days, and it seemed like it was a hopeless case to try to get it to come out of the shadows. It was pushed up into the furthest corner, as if trying to press itself into the wall and disappear. And to my astonishment a bright, red beam of fur came prancing out into the sunlight.
Zoey is a high energy pal and she is the biggest cuddlebug, but she has had her hardships before she found her new home. Found by police after a series of tornadoes ripped through the south, she was traumatized by the loud sirens and stormy weather, but has since been given a new home with lots of love and patience as she learns not to be afraid of the sounds of trains and alarms. She will always find a way to fit into your lap.