Love.

Judge under the photograph, “Love On the Beach,” by local fine arts photographer, Peter Mendelson.

I happened to get up from the banquette during a Zoom doctoral class- needed a little pistachio snack, sustenance for all this writing.

Between the time it took to grab a few pistachios and my return, Judge wiggled under the table and positioned himself in perfect proximity- he patiently awaited my return.

My stealthy, determined friend, (who by the way, was trying all night to accomplish this very feat captured in this post), achieved his goal.

Who says, “No dogs on the banquette?” Well, I did.

Until, I didn’t.

I rely on Judge. I want and need him around. What’s to say that Judge doesn’t feel the same wants and needs sometimes? Actions speak louder than words, and for that very reason, Judge can hop-on-up, any time.

And yes, this goes for Daisy too. She just had better things to do, like thrust a clean pair of socks, rolled tight, up in the air and catch it about 100 times. Needless to say, those socks went back into the wash.

And Just Like That…

Judge, one ear up, one ear down, before I pressed “play.”

Last night I did ✨a lot ✨of writing. The entire time, Judge rested his head upon my Ugg slippers…

I took a quick break, sat by the fire and watched an episode of a go-to favorite television show. FYI, nostalgia is a great motivator. I reverted back to my days as a graduate student, living in Manhattan, with this particular HBO series-of-choice.

Judge made sure he sat by my side, happy to watch Sarah Jessica Parker’s fictional character, Carrie Bradshaw, navigate Paris, lose her “Carrie” necklace, come oh so very close to losing her sense of self…

And just like that…

The “Carrie” necklace made its way back to where it was supposed to be all along, the “Big” embrace on the Pont des Arts, Carrie, you’re the one…

The episode ended. Judge resumed his position- his head rested upon my Ugg slippers.

I continued to type-away.

The Canine Compass

A chilly Sunday evening brings me to think of warmer days.

Yes, I’m grateful for the faint summer breeze that lingers in my memory. I’m equally grateful for the night’s crisp, fall air, and for the love I receive, no matter the season, from the beautiful being that is Judge.

Judge’s love realigned my trajectory, pointed me in the very direction that I started out on when surprised with my very first puppy. I was 4 years old when this furry-best friend entered my life. From that day forward, there’s always been a dog, or two, or three, by my side.

As I reflect, it comes as no surprise to learn that the comedic legend, Gilda Radner, once said, “I think dogs are the most amazing creatures. They give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.”

From age 4, to this very moment, dogs have taught me how to love, to help, to be silly, to make mistakes, to listen, to comfort… how to be fierce in the name of justice, to stand in stoic support of the weary, to do what’s right…

Ah, there were never more truer words stated than those of Gilda Radner. Forever grateful that I, too, can attest to the validity of Radner’s perspective, all because of the unconditional love I received from my canine companions of yesterday, and from the unconditional love I continue to receive from my canine compass of today.

Variations on ‘Brad’- Pop Art Meets Human-Animal Relationships

Pop Art, meet Human-Animal Relationships.

Variations on ‘Brad’ © J. Maricevic, 2021

Let’s be honest, dogs know everything. Whether we verbally tell them our thoughts, or they feel our energy, or the energy of a situation; dogs know.

And it was that all-knowing, canine superpower that inspired my original, Roy Lichtenstein-esque, digital representation of the human-animal bond. For those unfamiliar with Lichtenstein’s artistic style, he incorporated the name “Brad” in some of his Pop Art creations. It is important to note that Lichtenstein never referred to this “Brad” with a positive connotation.

For my piece, I emulated Lichtenstein’s use of the name, “Brad,” with the intentions of having “Brad” be any ‘one,’ or any ‘thing,’ that impacts an individual’s physical and/or emotional welfare and security.  

Wait, what about that canine cognition connection?

I know, from personal experience, that an individual’s physical and mental strength is restored, and their emotional fortitude reinvigorated, by the unconditional love from their four-legged friend. Dogs have the ability to identify when a “Brad” is lurking in the crevices of their person’s mind, or in the shadows of real-life, and dogs know when, and how, to intervene. The selfless-love of the all-knowing, canine companion, reaffirms a human’s sense of self, and in turn, sends the message to “Brad,” that this human, their human, is strong, confident, and supported.

So, “Beware, ‘Brad’,” for nothing can deter the empowered, especially when a dog is right by their side.