Red: Australian Shepard

52″ x52″ Oil on Canvas 2018

Human: Sara Lubinski  Brownsville, Minnesota, U.S.A.

I have loved many dogs in my life, but there was something very special about my relationship with Red.  I found him on a rescue site after I lost a young border collie to an illness.  I was cruising rescue sites online in the wee hours of the night, and there he was, a year old neglected youngster in foster care, about 30 miles away.  My inquiry was countered with an invitation to meet him.  When his foster mom opened up the back of her truck, he leaned out and wrapped his paws around my neck, gave me a nibble on my nose, and laid his head on my shoulder.  Eleven years later, he passed away at my side in the middle of the night.  

He was goofy and klutzy and quirky, an Australian Shepard with a soft, thick coat, a stubby tail and a sweet smell.  When he greeted me, his body would twist in to a “u” shape in joy, often accompanied by a lively vocalization, a woofy big hello.   He couldn’t catch a ball or a Frisbee, often cringing away from flying objects tossed towards him. I could only guess he had missed out on important development skills during his neglected puppyhood. He had a sort of elegance too, a certain tilting of his head, a stillness of posture sometimes that was beautiful to see. 

He was high energy, and even with lots of long walks and games, we would find him burning off more energy, leaping at tree branches 6 feet above his head, and with perfect accuracy, bite the same spot until it fell.  He was so eager to please, he would wait in place on command, not moving an inch until I returned from the neighbor’s or the mailbox. When I was gone, he would wait in the carport until I returned.  

Red noticed everything, never missing a scampering squirrel, a soaring red-tail, or a tiny sparrow. He loved those walks on our country road! At home, we would sit together on the deck, his shoulder leaning into mine as we watched the birds, squirrels and chipmunks.  He would help me find the cats, just like any good herding dog who needed to work. What I’ll always remember most, however, was the way he looked at me, his long gazes so filled with love and a sweetness I can’t describe.  I hope he saw the same in my eyes. He was my heart dog.

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