Therapy Pets

Therapy Pets

“The Boy”

My fiancé and I adopted Zee shortly after we moved into together. We went to a shelter in Herkimer, NY and as soon as I locked eyes with Zee I couldn’t walk away from him. We were told he had been in a shelter for over a year and developed arthritis from laying on concrete for so long. His last owner was abusive to him and he stayed with a foster family until he was brought to a shelter. He had only been at Herkimer for 3 days when we met him. My fiancé and I both fell in love with him and took him home that day. The third day we had him we realized he desperately needed a crate as he opened a window on his own, pushed out the screen and jumped out the window. We found him at our neighbors house whom he had spent all day with while we were at work and we had no idea. He got the nickname Houdini after that.

Zee was the happiest dog. He loved when both his mom and dad were home together. Every day with him was a joy. He always kept things interesting. Zee was fierce and rebellious. He loved to go on walks and ride in the car, but always had to bark at bicyclists and pedestrians along the way. He loved to snuggle with anyone, always lied on his back, and was a notorious snorer. Every time my fiancé and I would go out we couldn’t wait to get home to be with the boy. Although he always seemed happy, Zee had dealt with a lot of health issues. He had arthritis and Lyme disease. We gave him pills with every meal (and he knew it) and were back and forth to the vet many times. Despite his challenges, Zee was always running around chasing birds and squirrels and making me run after him in the woods in only my bathrobe.

Zee was very much my therapy dog. The year that we adopted him (2020) was one of the hardest years of my life. I went into a deep depression and I remember just being home with him and sleeping all day. After he passed, although he was only with us for 1 year, I truly felt that he was meant to be with us even for that short time. He was there when I needed him the most and it was like when he left he had fulfilled his purpose. I never knew that I would have such a strong connection with a dog, but him being my first dog with my fiancé made him so special to us. I miss him everyday

I painted “The Boy” about a year since Zee’s been gone. I wanted to start working with plaster and thought that my first few projects could be dedicated to my pets as they all mean so much to me. This painting was so fun to create and I love looking at it knowing that Zee gave me the inspiration. 

“Penny Lane”

I got my girl Penny was she was just 8 weeks old and I was 21. She was the sister of the cats my family were adopting and I fell in love with her the day I met her. She was the rebellious one of the litter. I snuck her into my college apartment for my last semester before graduation. She played beer pong with the big kids and alway welcomed me home after a night out. She used to wake me up in the middle of the night and push rocks I had collected onto my desk. That was so fun. There was never a dull day with her. 

Penny moved into my aunts house with me after I graduated. My aunt became like a second mother to her. She loved sleeping in my aunts bed instead of mine. Penny became close to my aunts dog, Finn, and they would wrestle and eat each other’s food all of the time. She loved hanging out in the garage and laying on the seat of the lawnmower. This was the year she went through heat and drove me and my aunt crazy trying to escape to find mate. She always kept us on our toes. About a year later, I moved into my first apartment on my own. The first night I had unpacked everything, but had left Penny at my aunts house while we were moving. I refused to stay that first night in my apartment without her. Since I had moved her away from Finn, I felt that she was lonely and decided to adopt a kitten, Peso, to keep her company. She hated him at first, but grew to be the best big sister and loved her brother so much. 

Penny was a comfort for me. For most of my 20s she has always been there. She was there through every milestone, hardship, and depressive episode. She was there every time I was sick, every night I couldn’t sleep, and every morning when I woke up. When I felt sad or stressed all I wanted to do was pick up Penny and lay down with her. She was and will always be my first baby. My first pet I ever had on my own. For so long it was just the 2 of us together and I leaned on her. Now that she’s gone, I find myself waiting for her to jump on the bed and nestle on top of my chest. She would swat me in the face every morning to let me know she was hungry. I now look at Peso and my heart breaks for him knowing he is without his sister.

I had painted “Penny Lane” a couple weeks ago before I knew that I would lose her. I am so glad that I have this painting now to honor and remember her. This painting was so fun to make at the time and it is even more to me now. 

I know some people may not understand how hard it is to lose a pet. Some may say he was just a dog or she was just a cat, but to me they meant the world. I am still grieving the loss of Penny and I know I will for a while. I wanted to write this blog post to share the impact my pets have had on my life so that you can better understand what this artwork means to me. Art has become such a great therapy for me and I will lean on it more than ever now that I am mourning the loss of my therapy animals. Thank you for reading and if you made it this far I hope that if you’ve ever lost a pet or owned a pet in your life that my work or this blog post will resonate with you ❤️

Thank you,

Shannon Egan Art 

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