This story really begins a few weeks ago. I follow a local rescue group (Rescue One) on Facebook. It's really my neighbor's fault. She fosters for them and we helped one of her foster dogs get adopted a few months ago. I found myself 'liking' their Facebook page to follow along with the process. Just so you are warned, if you like their Facebook page, you will get sucked into the mostly sad, sometimes happy stories of all kinds of animals. So there you've been warned.
And that's exactly what happened to me. On September 3rd, a dog was rescued from a home in Springfield, MO following an eviction. She was extremely emaciated and unable to walk. She was named Tsui (pronounced Choy) after a Chinese woman who was starved by her family, but saved by strangers.
The group found Tsui a foster dad and began nursing her back to health. I read every post, watched every video, and found myself lost in the photos of her. Her eyes have so much to say about her life. I thought about Tsui and all that she's gone through. I thought about all the people who are loving and helping her now. And I felt the need to paint. I couldn't focus on anything else. I just wanted to paint this dog.
Over the next few weeks, Tsui ate and napped. She had physical therapy, acupuncture, and massages. She watched the Chiefs game and rode in a convertible. I painted and repainted her portrait. Every time I saw those sad eyes on Facebook, I'd return to the painting and do another layer. (see a little of the process here.)
Yesterday as I put another layer on the painting, I felt done. I don't know that the painting is finished but I feel like my need to paint this dog has passed. I clicked over to her Facebook page (she has her own now!) and I watched her latest video. There she is, at a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center, walking on a treadmill in water. It's a beautiful sight and it brought tears to my eyes.
She's gonna be ok. She's getting the care and the love she needs. I no longer feel the need to paint her face. Now I look into her eyes and see her quiet fight, her will to live. She's no longer broken down. She has her people now. Though I've never met Tsui, she took a little piece of my heart. If you'd like follow her story or help with her recovery, find out more at Justice for Tsui and Rescue One.