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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words

My Story for Joey

By: Kay Sampson Smith

Having been one to care for homeless or injured animals, finding homes for them, or keeping them myself, brought me, about seventeen years ago, into the world of a little black, mixed breed dog that I later named Joey. After dropping off my son at school one morning, the parking lot was crowded with cars, coming and going, and it was just starting to rain. The large drops were making a flat kind of splash on the warm asphalt. Suddenly out of nowhere, I saw this little being, frantically darting around the moving vehicles, and miraculously avoiding being crushed by the wheels. I jumped from my car, leaving my door open in the rush, and began hunting for the little one, (under cars, around cars) so afraid I would see him laying lifeless somewhere. I couldn't find him. How could he have vanished so quickly? I had heard no cry. After hunting desperately for some time, the cars were beginning to thin out. I finally gave up, returning to my car. My heart almost stopped beating when I climbed into the seat and looked over at the passenger side, only to see a little black dog, with sparkling dark brown eyes, sitting there looking at me, as if to say, "Hello, I've been waiting for you." Tears were in my eyes as I gathered him up into my arms and just held him there, safe, where he seemed so content. I knew he was where be belonged. Still, I asked around the school and neighborhood, and ran ads in the paper. No one answered. I was not surprised or sorry because we were already sharing a special love that I felt surely must have taken many lifetimes, to become so deep and spiritual. So, as we began a life together, Joey tolerated the others that I also loved and cared for, with a kind of patient dignity, but he was always special, and he knew. As the years passed, he helped me through life's turns, always there with the unconditional love that bonded us so closely together.

I am an artist, and one day as I was working on a southwest painting, (a series with a wolf theme); my wolf cub began to look more and more like Joey. When I realized that my preconceived plan for my painting was changing without much thought, I wrestled it back, until the wolf cub was returning. This has been one of the deepest regrets of my life. If only I had realized how much more it would have meant to me to have a painting of my Joey, than to have completed the wolf painting. Some Native Americans, I have since learned, believe that when this happens, it is a great gift to the artist, from the spirit world, an honor and blessing. That is a wonderful thought.

As my little black Joey grew old, he became my little grey Joey. He gradually lost his eyesight and his hearing, so I became his eyes and his ears, loving him even more. He seemed content, and his patience and bravery showed me how noble and grand the spirit can be. I spent many hours just holding him, and those were the most peaceful times of my life. Joey passed away several years ago and the loss was severe for me. I feel that I will never really be through the grieving, though I feel that my life was so greatly blessed by having been a part of Joey's.

A year or so ago, I read Shirley's "Out on a leash", and was so emotionally touched, and able to relate to the incredible insight of feelings and spirit, that I was inspired to do a painting of Shirley and Terry. I knew as the painting progressed that it was also about Joey and me, and love shared by humans and animals. In the painting there became such wisdom in the spirit of Terry, and peace and love showing through in the face of Shirley. I was unfamiliar with much about aura colors when I was working on the painting. I have only recently read, "The Camino", yet I painted Terry's spirit color in light purples, and Shirley’s reds and purples in depth colors, all merging with the mountain hues. The walking stick that I represented in black was interesting. I didn't realize until after reading "The Camino", why I put it there. Near completion, the painting became so alive, with Shirley, Terry, and the vibrant nature they had become a part of. It seemed to emit a strange humming sensation, and it gave me a feeling of great energy, I think I have never felt before. It was exhilarating, and I stepped back from the painting and said, "Oh yeah, is this what psychic painting is all about? " I knew for sometime that Terry's eyes, in the painting, had followed me as I moved through the room. When it was finished, I asked my son to walk through and see if he felt the eyes followed him. Then he said, " But look, haven't you noticed? The head turns and follows, not just the eyes." I had noticed actually, but said nothing for fear someone would think I had spent too much time with the painting, and had perhaps, freaked out.

Strange? Maybe, but I know that love comes in uncounted ways, all bringing special blessings, and our lives intertwine many times, in many patterns. We give up, sometimes, that which is most important, for something much less rewarding. We let go of that which we love and is deeply a part of us, in pursuit of something more momentary, and in time gives us less happiness. And by the way, to this day my wolf painting stands unfinished, and I know somewhere under the wolf cub, there is my little Joey, unconditionally.

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