Laura J Smith Portraits in Pencil
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© 2008 Laura J. Smith
Reference Photo taken by Laura J. Smith

In June 2007 our family adopted Emma a beautiful female boxer from the local humane society. We had Nikki who was 7 and her mother Adrienne who was 10 years old at the time. Adrienne was slowing down and we wanted a best friend for Nikki.

Emma and Nikki became the best of friends playing together until May of 2008. Suddenly they began fighting occasionally and my husband and I put everything aside to focus on trying to save their relationship.

We committed ourselves to walking them daily and put our best efforts into changing our home to a balanced "calm submissive" one. However in August their fights became so frequent that they couldn't be in the same room together anymore. It was clear we had two options. 1)Take Emma back to the humane society to an unknown fate. 2) Consult a local behaviorist.

We took the two dogs to a behaviorist and for 10 weeks Emma went to live with her. Every night after work my husband and I would stop by and work with Emma on her lessons, and then go home and work with Nikki. We did little else during all these months. Our lives were basically on hold. I did no artwork. We finally brought Emma home for about two weeks when we felt it was time but it wasn't to be. They started fighting again. There just wasn't more we could do.

While Emma was living with her, the behaviorist absolutely fell in love with her. One night in tears we brought Emma to her to live permanently as her new dog. It was a perfect new home. Emma loves her and loves the other dogs she lives with.

For us, we struggled with how to quit trying and how to accept the loss of her as a member of our family. From May to October it was all we focused on. Its been hard to move on though we're trying. While shedding many tears I drew this portrait of Emma so we will always have her with us in some sense. It also helped jar me back into my studio.

I will always love Emma. I know that time will heal this wound. She's happy with someone new. I would like to believe that Emma needed to find us... to find her. We did our part. I'll be Okay.

I've set the WIP to an appropriate song and added some family photos of her on a video for you to see how the portrait progresses. Thanks for letting me share Emma with you.