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  • Writer's pictureKevin Roeckl

Remmy portrait finished!

Remmy came into Walt and Frann’s life at the age of 8, a rescue who had lived a very hard life. It took months of patience and dedication to help Remmy settle in and trust, but he went on to become very deeply loved — a dog who was bursting with life and personality, keenly devoted to protecting his beloved family. (And his cherished “Pig”.)

Frann had gotten on my portrait waiting list, to give Walt the surprise gift of a portrait of Remmy for Christmas. I became more aware of Remmy in 2021 when I began seeing Walter’s frequent memorial posts about Remmy on Facebook. All the posts ended with Walt “Sending noseys and kisses up to the sky to you, Bubba”. I saw a man who loved his canine partner beyond words, and was heartbroken and deeply grieving the loss of beautiful Remmy. I was honored when I was able to start on Remmy’s portrait in early 2022, a process that can be very healing to people wanting to capture the beauty of their lost loved one.

It took all of January for Walt and I go to through Walt’s thousands of photos of Remmy and decide which ones to use for the portrait. The centerpiece would be the photo Walt called his “Mona Lisa” photo — Remmy living his best life playing in the river near their home. I worked on Remmy's portrait through February and March, until injuries forced me to close up my studio at the beginning of April….only days away from finishing this complex portrait. I thought of Walt and Frann often while I was laid up. I was finally able to get back to work on Remmy a few weeks ago, working only very short sessions in my studio.

Fine art portrait of black Doberman, with five depictions: two head studies and three full body. The center depiction is the dog dashing joyfully through a river scene.

I came to know Remmy so well that I loved him too. And I understood the loving partnership between Remmy and Walt that ran so deep. Walt shared many memories of Remmy when we were designing the portrait. I want to end with some words Walt wrote to me. Anyone who has loved a heart dog will understand them:

“Do you want to know why I think I fell in love with Remmy and thus our tight bond? (Besides that he was an awesome dog, I really believe). As much as I love my family "wife, kids, parents, sister" and friends, for the first time in my life I was loved by a soul with nothing wanted in return, all he needed was to be loved by me and have my heart, there was nothing more we both needed from eachother and it made it so simple for me as a human to love him and give him the one thing he wanted.”


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