I had many wonderful submissions, but one story imparticular had me staring at the screen for a while after I read it. It was submitted by Joe Steinfeld, a wonderful responsible dog owner, about his award winning Neopolitan Mastiff, Minerva.
"On Labor day 1999, my mother called to tell me that my brother Jonny had lost his long battle with cancer. By then the news came as something of a relief, the news was not unexpected, and we don't tend to be over emotional people. So my tone of voice was matter of fact as we discussed funeral arrangements, etc. But my Neopolitan Mastiff Minerva stood and licked my leg during the entire conversation. She never did this before or since, she knew something was wrong. After the conversation I sat awhile and collected myself, surrounded by my three dogs before preparing to go to my parents house.
Now here is the part I don't expect people to believe. In 2003, Minerva succumbed to osteosarcoma. (Less than 7 weeks after her mother Juno died suddenly of heart failure.) I contacted an animal communicator. With no prompting from me, and apropos of nothing, she told me "Minerva didn't like the phone, because sometimes the phone brought bad news. And one time it brought very bad news. And you sat down and were sad for a very long time." True story.
Minerva wasn't done yet, I soon found out. When I contacted Joe to tell him he had won the contest, he sent me her pictures. I often know what size canvas I want to use when I see a picture. I was trying to take a nap one day, but Minerva wasn't having any of that. Those who know me well won't go NEAR me when I am sleeping..I resemble a BEAR!!! Before I knew what I was doing, I was on my feet, and went to my office and grabbed a canvas, and brought it into the kitchen. (I NEVER paint in the kitchen...) I realized the canvas was quite big, and wanted to check with Joe to make sure he had a spot for it. That evening, and before Joe could give me the green light, I found myself painting away...and Minerva basically was in my kitchen in under an hour. I told Joe the next day what happened, and he said "Thats weird...we used to call our kitchen "Minerva's kitchen", because she used to get chased into it all the time, then finally started guarding it from the other dogs!"
It hadn't occured to me until he said that, but I had never painted a portrait in my kitchen! So, when she is done being painted, I will miss her mug in my kitchen...but will be happy to give her to her Dad.
Thank you Minerva, and to Joe.