For my 40th birthday, my husband, Garry, gave me a piñata -- a black and white dog with a name tag reading “IOU.” This was Garry’s way of recognizing that it was time for us to have a family dog, and we immediately started our search for the perfect puppy. We visited the ASPCA, the Humane Society and local animal shelters. We went to pet stores, answered ads in the paper and searched out breeders. We looked for more than a year, but were unable to find our dog. At about the time we had finally decided to settle on a cute but not perfect puppy, I received word that my father was terminally ill. Although it had been many years since my father and I had been in contact, I decided to call him.
After getting through the difficulties of reconnection, I was telling him about our search for a puppy. He told me that he had been breeding Border Collies for the past few years, and said that he had a puppy from his most recent litter that he thought would be perfect. The next morning he put Lucky on a plane in Dothan, Alabama, and she arrived in Bangor, Maine just before midnight. When Lucky came off the plane, she was standing in her kennel looking out at us with the most soulful eyes I had ever seen, and I wondered if she had been standing with anticipation for the entire flight. "Lucky" rode home with us, entered her new world and embarked upon her new life. Since she had grown up on a farm, she was not used to being allowed in the house, no less upon the furniture. And although she had been around horses, cows, sheep and other dogs, she had never had to share her space with two cats. But Lucky was very gentle, adjusted with grace and immediately became part of our family and our Maine way of life. Each morning Lucky and I would walk my daughter, Jenny, to school, and each afternoon we would meet her to walk back home. Lucky loved to go to the beach and herd the waves lapping at the shore. She chased squirrels and would stand at the base of a tree barking madly as the squirrel would sit in the branches and chitter away. She went with me to the art gallery where I worked and became known throughout town. She loved to hike the trails of Downeast Maine with us, and when we got kayaks, she would ride in mine as we paddled about, wearing her bright red life vest and drawing applause from everyone who saw us. She went with us to Elmira, NY, for Jenny's first day of college, four years of parents' weekends and graduation. She became such a part of our lives, it is a wonder how we ever lived without her.
In the fall of 2004, Lucky became the central inspiration for my art. She is extremely graphic, expressive, loved to pose, and I began a “Lucky” sketch book, drawing her from different angles, and in different poses, settings and styles. From these sketches, I embarked on my Lucky rugs, each depicting Lucky in a different Maine scene, and each with a bit of my hair and Lucky's fur (which a friend spun together for me) incorporated in it. As I think about them, my seven “Lucky” rugs are filled with unintended coincidence. The seven rugs were started seven years after my father passed away. I hooked the first six during a seven month period one winter, completing the last rug of the series in early spring by deciding to incorporate my cache of Lucky’s tags, one for each of the seven years she had been part of our family. Lucky continued to enrich our lives until January, 2011. She kept us fit and healthy. She inspired and comforted. She brought pleasure and entertainment. She stimulated and motivated. She was our constant companion, and became a friend to the many wonderful people who make up our Maine community.