Custom Dog Memorial Portrait- twelve months on
Memorial dog painting with reference photo of Fox Terrier . Hand painted on the Coffs Coast, NSW by Australian pet painter Opal Pastro

It has been a full year since I said goodbye to my beloved Goldie Girl. She was such a spunky little thing, full of mischief and funny little habits that were annoying at the time, but fill my heart with happy memories now.

She was a little dog with a big energy and an even bigger eye for food. You would swear she was part Beagle by the way she could sniff out a treat.

I’m remembering her fondly today because it was on this day twelve months ago that I kissed her sweet head and held her for the very last time. I am remembering the panic and dread of those horrid last days, trolling through Google to find out when it was the right time to make that call to the vet and let her go.

In the end, she made the decision herself. It was definitely time to go and she was so tired and so ready for her eternal rest that she slipped away easily with a mild anesthetic. It was such a sad relief to see her face relax as the pain and life slipped away from her.

Her passing has change her kennel mate, Layla from a vivacious fire cracker, to a much more loving and sympathetic companion. We have grown closer, and she enjoys the extra attention she now gets, but she has also aged somewhat in this past year. I think she misses Goldie’s mothering and friendly presence, even though the last year or so of Goldie’s life were distracted with dementia and the diminishing of mobility and senses.

I’m so glad I have Goldie’s memorial portrait to look at everyday. Sometimes I talk to it, like she is behind those warm brown eyes and my heart is warmed by the heart felt moments we shared over the happy sixteen years we had together.

Whenever I talk to a person about commissioning a memorial portrait, I honor the experience I had at losing Goldie. Now I can truly empathise with the loss and legitimate grief a person can feel when they lose their pet. It isn’t just a dog, cat, horse, bird or rabbit. It is a true friend who has touched the heart of a human and enriched their life.