Where my faith and creativity collide! A freedom freelancer, prayerful painter and clarion for Christ.

(Week 11) “Know Your Why: Why am I painting pets?”

Starting this year, I made a writing goal, among many other goals, as did most people. Check out my blog post for details,

“Be Alert; Be Present. I’m About to Do Something Brand New” January 2, 2016

 but in a nutshell, my goal was to blog once a week with a painting that was the visual expression of the written post.

So far, I am only one week behind; so this week I hope to have (Week 11) and (Week 12) posted by Sunday, March 27, which is Easter.

I recently started painting pet portraits.  I am an avid dog lover, actually animal lover; therefore, it is really no surprise that I would want to paint the furry friends.  I was scared, at first, that I would not be able to capture their personalities but the more I worked at it the brushstrokes came.

GiGi the Shih Tzu was my first attempt and I was hooked!

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GiGi the Shih Tzu

But why?

Most of you who read my blog or who have checked out

“Some of My Favorite Things” , know that I am crazy about podcasts.   In the links below, you will find a podcast and a  YouTube video that spurred the hunt for my “WHY.”

“Know Your Why” Michael Jr.  (only like 4 minutes, please watch before reading further:)

“The Happy Hour” with Jamie Ivey: Bonus Happy Hour #2: Emily Lex

I struck gold on the “WHY” treasure hunt!

When I think of certain songs, I am immediately transported to a memory.   I have a sound track to my life, and I realized I also have a pet-parade that documents my seasons.

Since there is nothing new under the sun, I figured you may have these pet memories as well, the pets you:

dressed up when you were little,

told all your secrets to,

cried with,

giggled with,

stayed home sick with,

slept with,

watched TV with,

danced, talked in funny voiced to and played chase with,


spanked and then felt horrible,

took to the vet,

grew up with,

helped up the stairs or get on the couch when they were too old to bounce on their own,

and those you have buried through the years.

Stained carpets and jagged edges on upholstery and table legs document the puppy years.  We can almost still see our pets in the worn spot on the rug, where they used to sleep.  Never once did they look at us with disappointment when we made our worst mistakes, and when we felt like the world couldn’t care less whether we lived or died, we were greeted with wild excitement by the furry ones who couldn’t wait for our return.

Those who have experienced “animal therapy” for themselves do not need proof but there is Scientific research that supports what we already know for those who need it.

Animal-Assisted Therapy: AAT …

“Animal-Assisted Therapy has been shown to help children who have experienced abuse or neglect, patients undergoing chemotherapy or other difficult medical treatments, and veterans and their families who are struggling to cope with the effects of wartime military service.

With new research and a continued commitment to professionalism, AAT will continue to grow in mainstream healthcare acceptance and practice – one more tool to enhance individuals’ well-being, and one more reminder of the vital and multifaceted role that animals can play in every aspect of our lives.”

Below is a link to a story from one of my favorite shows that airs each year, CNN Heroes.  This particular hero has seen first hand how animals can be instruments of healing.

CNNHero: Cowgirl uses horses to motivate at-risk kids

“For the last 30 years, Kelly has helped children in Hartford stay on the right track through her nonprofit, Ebony Horsewomen. The program offers horseback riding lessons and teaches animal science to more than 300 young people a year.
“We use horses as a hook to create pride, esteem and healing,” said Kelly, 66. “They learn that they have ability. They just have to unlock it.”

Can you see how painting pets has a deeper “why” for me?


will you go on a little journey with me?

Do you remember the name of all the pets you have had through the years?

Take a minute and do a pet inventory.

What pets do you remember and what were their names?

Here is my list:

***As I went looking for pictures to document my life through the lens of pet memories, I felt it was important to include this picture of myself.  I’m “Rockin” the rocking chair with some killer bottom teeth!

Why would anyone have felt the need to save this moment?

But if they felt it was special enough to capture in a photo, I felt I should immortalize it here on the blog to be shared for eternity:)

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***Sorry for the “chase the red ball” distraction;

Let the pet-parade begin:

Queenie, the collie/ german-shepherd mix

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Queenie and my crew! (It is clearly Christmas and I am dressed to the nines surrounded by “The Johnson Boys”-Good times, good times!)

Queenie was actually the neighbors dog, but she took a particular liking to the brother dressed in the enormous coat above.   The neighbors eventually gave us Queenie and that is all she wrote.

**A rescue squirrel, that I saved from the neighbors dog-I cleaned it’s wounds, feed it cat food(or tried to), made it a shoebox home, gave it water from a eye-dropper and prayed for it in Sunday school, only to come home and find out someone had thrown my squirrel away! Yes, you heard me right.  It was tragic and I had many a sleepless night thinking about that squirrel that I almost saved!

**Tiger, the cat that scratched me in the eye because I wanted to eat cat food out of the same bowl with him.  (Proud moment, why in the world would anyone want to do that and high five to Tiger for recognizing the ridiculousness and getting me to leave.  Tiger was relocated to a “farm” after that incident.  For years I believed that until one of my bothers, I’m sure, informed me that it was my fault Tiger had to go to kitty heaven too soon.)

**Ms. Kitty, the fat cat that my brother spun around and around in the kitchen until she began peeing like a wild sprinkler.

**A nameless guinea pig that turned green and died while I was at school.  My mom picked me up and took me straight to Baskin Robbins to sweeten me up, before delivering the fatal guinea pig news.  Sad to say, I do not remember crying, so I guess the ice-cream worked.

**Ms. Kitty had a litter of kittens.  We set up a big box in our bathroom that had a red heat lamp and we watched her birth 6 slimy, precious balls of fur.  We promptly named them after the Peanut characters, of course, because that is what all sane people should do: Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, Pigpen, Peppermint Patty, and Charlie Brown.

Just before my 10th birthday,  my parents surprised me on Christmas Eve by giving me a radio, or so I thought.

A tiny black and grey schnauzer jumped out of that trickster box and right into my heart.  We had Gretel for 15 years.  When I got married at 23, Gretel came to live with me in my new home town.  She was territorial, moody, precious and mine.  She loved me through every heartbreak in high school; she stole food off my plate and would bite a stranger to keep me safe.

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Gretel (#1) Christmas Eve 1979

We are almost done.

Boots, the black schnauzer-We got Boots from a breeder in Tennessee and his daddy’s name was Clint Black.  Boots was my yappy side-kick, who ushered in my 3 children.  He was their first pet. He licked many a tiny face, ate pacifiers and baby food, cleaned up under a highchair better than a vacuum, christened 3 different homes before going home to “doggie heaven” after 13 years of priceless memories.

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The 2 black balls of preciousness were the “grief girls”,

“grief” because we bought them on a whim 2 days after Boots died, from a man in a parking lot, where another lady was returning her puppy(huge red flag), as we drove off with ours.

For the next 2 years these “tiny terrors” pooped, ate it and threw it back up every morning!  I am not exaggerating.  Not only were they the “grossest” little monsters but they barked and fought each other 24/7.

Prior to this 2 year doggie nightmare, I may have judged someone who gave their dogs away.  When I gave these cra cra’s  to schnauzer rescue (who finds them loving homes),  I did not flinch.  It was one of the best days of my life!

This doggie debacle almost made me boycott animals forever.

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Gracie and Gretel (#2)

Remember, I said almost!

A year after the stinky memory of the “grief girls” faded, we began to think about getting another dog.  I swore I would not get 2 but then again, things change.

Meet the angels that descended from Heaven, dressed like baby orcas, with fur as soft as down, and faces that could melt the coldest heart:

Lucy and AJ!

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These babies have been my side-kicks for the past 6 years.  We were introduced to Mr. Trey, the Shih Tzu breeder, several years ago and he reminded me of the “dog whisperer.”  There is a verse in proverbs, “The godly care for their animals…” Proverbs 12:10 and Mr. Trey is the epitome of this verse.  He makes a living breeding Shih Tzu’s but it is obvious these animals are more than income to him.  I can call with any puppy problem or need and he answers, meets the need or sends me to someone who can.  He is generous with his time, talents and treasure and he loves my babies as much as I do.

Trey’s love for his animals is a reflection of the love he has for Christ.  His door is always open to people and pets and that gift of hospitality is just one of the ways God shows out through this man of faith.

**Just Below are contact links Mr. Trey and his Kennel.


Lil’ Cowboy Kennel – Contact us

Breeder Trey McDowell on Facebook

Remember GiGi, the Shih Tzu? She is from Trey’s kennel.  I sent Trey this pet portrait because I knew it would make him smile.  He immediately shared the painting.

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GiGi the Shih Tzu

Shortly after his share, I was commissioned to paint Belle.  Belle had just passed away and they wanted a painting to celebrate the faithful life of their furry friend!

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Belle, the Schnauzer

I am incredibly humbled and honored to try and capture the personality of our faithful secret-keepers and four-legged followers!

I am thankful for the “pet-parade” of memories in my own life and I pray this post spurs a pet-inventory of your own.

If you have been considering a pet and a shih tzu seems to be calling  your name, I pray this post leads you to the best breeder in the world, Trey McDowell.

If you have been considering a portrait of your pet, I pray this post leads you to me, in a comment on the blog or katiewilson40@gmail.com .  I would love to hear some of your pet stories and I would be thrilled to attempt to capture their spirit on canvas.

But most of all, I pray this post leads you to “Know Your Why” and may your “what” always reflect the deeper “why.”


Today, my “what” is to paint a pet portrait and to write this post.

What is your “what?”

More importantly, what are our “whys” that ultimately point to:



Please feel free to reblog or share this post or simply leave a comment if it touched your heart in any way:)





About Katie Wilson

Where my faith and creativity collide! A freedom freelancer, prayerful painter and clarion for Christ. #amwriting #Compel Forgiven and Free Living a life that says: COME AND SEE!

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