Jesse

Julie Marks

Los Angeles, United States

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Artist's Description

The love affair began on March 15th, 1975. I was in a pet store buying supplies for a trip I planned to take with two of my dogs. I was looking for a new bed for my dachshund, Ethel who was named after Ethel Mertz, the plump and fun loving cohort of Lucille Ball in the famous T.V. show, I Love Lucy. I glanced at the back of the store and was alarmed to see ten red puppies in a cage too small for half the litter. From a distance, I could see that the smallest puppy was on the bottom of the pile of her sisters and brothers looking distressed and miserable. My friend was ready to leave and kept calling me, but I was spellbound by the little red puppy with sparkling amber eyes. Often dogs in pet stores are delivered from puppy mills often mistreated, neglected and starving. One of my hopes is one day these cruel factories will be shut down with fines to the owners who perpetrate these unspeakable acts against our devoted best friends. I belong to PETA and the Humane Society who are working to shut down puppy mills to stop over-breeding puppies like Jesse in inhumane and intolerable conditions. Seeing first hand the emotional torment these puppies suffer is alarming and Jesse ignited my passionate mission to stop manufacturing puppies as if they were objects, not live sentient animals. Before I entered the pet store, I had only raised dachshunds never considering that I would want to buy another dog that day, a red Irish Setter that I knew would take a lot of my time to heal her wounds after her painful entrance into the world. Now at ten weeks, she glanced at me for a moment and quickly averted her eyes as if she felt there was danger if our eyes met for too long. My friend had been waiting for more than a hour that seemed like a minute to me as I was magnetically pulled into the cage of this sad and beautiful puppy. I felt she desperately needed attention to prevent further harm to her beautiful soul mirrored in her striking and very somber amber eyes. I hardly heard my friend speak when she asked me why I was taking so long pressed against the glass unable to pull myself out of this rip tide between me and this enigmatic puppy. Time stopped and nothing mattered. I knew I had to grab her now and start loving her back into being before it was too late. I named her Jesse and for six months, I sat on the kitchen floor looking at her, touching her gently and hoping she would begin to trust again. When I first brought her home, her belly was bloated from starvation and all she could swallow was Pepto- Bismol and some rice since it was obvious she was starving for many weeks. To say my efforts paid off is an understatement. Jesse grew into my first major attachment to a dog. We shared my bed and all that Malibu, CA had to offer, especially body surfing in the Pacific. She was a natural in the water enjoying the fury and the peace of the sea. Jesse sat for hours as if she was meditating never moving a muscle. She seemed to have gone back to a place so primal and private yet allowed me to be her silent partner as we both gazed at the majestic beauty of the sea. She allowed me to become a part of a mystical experience that enhanced her wisdom and grace. In retrospect, I saw her as my teacher, one who had given me a window into the autistic mind of the children I would later have the opportunity to treat in a special research group. We grew together and when she passed away, the great spirit that forced its way out of her body left me stunned yet feeling blessed to have known this magical soul. The most profound lesson Jesse taught me was about trust, patience and profound love.

Artwork Comments

  • Angi Baker
  • pinkyjain
  • niggle
  • Irene  Burdell
  • Jeremy Harrington
  • Kathie Nichols
  • Crockpot
  • Quigi
  • Julie Marks
  • Keeli
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