Being stuck in your house (sheltering at home) means it is harder to see your loved ones, get out and buy gifts, and it also means that your pets become your best buds (even more so than they already were).
This past Christmas, I gave two incredible gifts to the long time boyfriend / girlfriend of our two children. I am kicking myself for not having taken pictures, but I asked my talented sister, Jade, to paint the portraits of Tiger (a cat, obviously, not an actual Tiger because we all know how that ends up!), Maeve (a cat) and Tanner (a dog). The recipients were thrilled with the paintings and I am told they now take up special places of honour in their homes.
My sister didn't just paint them for fun, it is her actual business and she's great at it. You can check out her website here and see for yourself!
I've shown you her work before, but it bears repeating. These are our cats, past and present.
This one is Scooter (the cat-with-no-tail).
He is "unique", or "challenged" as we like to say. Won't use kitty litter, sleeps on smooth surfaces only, meows like a three pack a day smoker, and has only recently decided that it is o.k. to jump up on your lap for brief moments. But we love him for all of his oddities. This is the actual Scooter wearing his Christmas ruff (which incidentally, my sister sews herself and sells on her website).
You can see how she captured his wide-eyed innocence and quirky nature in the painting.
This is our beloved Samson.
He was one in a million as brown tabbies often are. He was the calm intelligence in the cat family. A handsome, perfectly symmetrical boy, he looked to Scooter as a project he couldn't train. Sammy was cool. Just cool. He was the Steve McQueen of cats. We lost him a year ago in November. We still miss him.
The three cats in the middle collection are cats who have also passed on.
From left to right, Kitty, Nelly, and Boots. Yes, I know the names are on the paintings as well, and I like that she does that. Kitty was my first cat as an adult living on my own, in my first year of teaching. I wasn't married yet and husband was away at school in another country! She and I were each others' company. Every day when I came home from work and opened the door of my undesirable two story walk up apartment, she would greet me with all of her cat toys laid out on the floor. She lived to the ripe old age of seventeen and was a beloved member of our family.
Next was Nelly, small in stature, big in personality. She was a "talker", entering a room meowing and answering all of your questions. Her biggest joy was a sick human, so she could curl up on your blanket and not leave your side for hours on end. She had an enormous purr. She lived to be nineteen years.
Boots was our second cat, the first one purchased by both husband and I in our first year of marriage. He was more dog than cat. I have no idea if he actually was a Maine Coon cat, but he fit all the descriptions. He fetched toys, came when you called, had enormous paws, and I'm pretty sure was able to say "Mama" when we encouraged him. He died early from kidney problems. He and Kitty were best friends.
I really cherish these paintings because they are grouped together and when I look at them, I think back fondly to family memories because of course, our pets are part of our family.
Mother's Day is coming up (for us, in early May), birthdays, or just a "thinking of you" present to those elderly parents who are sheltering at home and have had special pets in their past. I can't think of a more unique, special gift to give. My sister can do it all from a photograph emailed to her. She gives all the instructions on her site. For the horsey set in your world (and come on, they LOVE their horses), she also does paintings of horses, dogs, even a gecko!
Check her out at Abstract Pet or maybe suggest her to someone else. Thanks for letting me shamelessly promote my only sister. (I have brothers, too, but they don't paint pets -haha!)