AFTER BARNEY – Is It Normal To Have Posthumous Plans For Our Four Legged Besties?

Over the weekend lots of lovely people came to see my new dog paintings.  Conversations flowed (along with the wine) and one chat in particular caught my attention – what plans do you have, if any, for when your beloved dog passes on?

Barney by Samantha Barnes Artist

We, humans, are not good at talking about death, many of us don’t plan for it – not until we have to.  I’m not only talking financially – the nearest Carl & I have come to talking it through is having our wills firmly in place and a life assurance policy to cover the mortgage.

Have you heard of meetups called ‘Death Cafés?  I like the idea of them, they are informal coffee mornings where we are prompted to talk about our own demise.  On the tables are question cards to prompt discussions & stimulate ideas.  I’ve not been to one yet but I am definitely interested.

Standing by my wall of dog paintings, I was asked how many portraits I make posthumously (after the dog has died).  I explained that nearly a third of all portraits I have completed were made this way.  To my surprise, one of my guests exclaimed that when it came time – her Jack Russell was going to be taxidermied.

Wow!!  I thought -  that really is something.  I’m not sure I could do that with Barney (my cocker spaniel) but the thought of it really got me thinking.

Naturally, Barney was one of the first dogs I painted.  He is my guinea pig for new techniques and I love painting him.  His portrait hangs in our snug, as I was looking at it the other day, I thought about how much comfort I will get from his portrait when his time has been and gone.

He is my sun, moon & stars (along with my husband and children!)  My personal plan for him is to have another dog in place for when the time comes.  He will, of course, hate it, but the thought of going from Barney to nothing is unbearable.

Come another 2/3 years, I will be found at my local rescue centre – opting to home a dog that needs unconditional love no matter how old, how many legs or how spud ugly!  When that one gets to a certain age, I’ll get a puppy and we will begin again.

For now, though, I’m off to lavish some more love on Barney.

I’d love to know if you have any plans.

Best wishes.

Samantha