I have two of the most beautiful border collies you would ever want to see. They are from the same litter - sisters. When we first got them, I thought I was going to go crazy trying to train two dogs at once, and two that are so very smart! But eventually, they trained me and now, six years later, all is well.
Because there are two dogs, one has to be dominant. This painting is of Meg, the "submissive" dog who allows her sister, Tess, to believe that she is the dominant one. (Meg, obviously, is the smarter sister.) Since they were tiny, we have had trouble feeding them. Unless Tess somehow communicates to Meg that she is allowed to eat, we cannot get Meg to even have a bite. There is growling, and snapping, and showing off their pretty teeth and gums, but it is all posturing except that often, Meg won't eat. She has actually gone for 6 days without so much as a mouthful.
Lately, I have been watching The Dog Whisperer on National Geographic channel. Caesar Milan is an amazing "trainer of people and rehabilitator of dogs", in his words. A few days ago, when we were putting in time between a wedding and the reception, we dropped in at Chapters, and picked up one of Caesar's books to read. He gave some suggestions for the exact situation we face with these two siblings - so we began the very next night. Honestly, it took 2 times before the years of snarling and growling and posturing was over. Meg has eaten every night since then - every night! And Tess? She leaves and goes into her kennel until we call her to tell her that she is now allowed to eat!
This painting was a joy to do. It came together quickly and easily, and I hope to do one of Tess at some time. These dogs are wonderful companions. Even though they are outside dogs, they are very affectionate, and work hard at getting us to throw their balls until we are all exhausted. They howl beautifully with the coyotes, and relieve the porcupine of quills every couple of years or so. The few gophers that have ventured near the house have met their end quickly and efficiently. They play tag with one another around the house - one hides in the grass, the other runs around the house, up to the other, touches her on the nose, then the second one runs around the house while the first rests in the grass. They are great dogs - and keep us laughing and having fun!
If you would like to purchase this painting, or commission a painting of one of your pets, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.