Tara
painting of Tara Some lessons I learned from Tara:

It's perfectly acceptable to wiggle and dance when you're happy.

Don't be afraid to suggest an alternative when someone gives you an unreasonable command.

What matters is who loves you now.
Photo of Tara Susan met Tara at a time when Tara's owner was having difficulty caring for her, and the poor dog was actually being housed in a storage unit. Neglected, underfed and fearful, this gentle giant was in a sorry state. Susan volunteered to take Tara home and care for her temporarily. As they spent time getting to know each other, Tara bloomed. She gained weight and her sweet nature surfaced. More than a year later, when Tara's original owner wanted her back, Susan adamantly refused. Susan and Tara had bonded, and she was not about to betray that bond by returning Tara to her previously abusive environment.

After Susan's partner, Ari, commissioned me to paint Tara's portrait, I visited their home to meet her and get a sense of her personality. When I arrived, Ari and Tara were in the backyard. Ari was holding a bowl of hard-boiled egg yolks.

"We're getting ready to play her favorite game," he explained. "Tara loves food, especially egg yolks, and this will keep her busy for at least twenty minutes." Ari then tossed the egg yolks into the yard and Tara took off like a shot, scrambling madly for every little crumb. "She'll find them all, believe me," he laughed. "With the food hunt and her daily walk, we make sure Tara gets her exercise, which is important because she does love to eat."

When the egg yolk game was over, Tara realized that someone new was on the scene, and she rushed to meet me, her tail wagging with glee. She posed willingly for several photos, as if to say "Look at me. I'm one of the lucky ones!"

I had to agree with her.



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