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  • Published: 14 Feb 2016
  • Updated: 14 Feb 2016
  • Status: Complete
Drawing Competition: something with significance to me


1. Ginger

At first glance, this painting is just of a cute dog, and nothing more. When this piece was hung up at the school art show in January, many people praised me on the techniques I used for the watercolour or the details of the fur. But I knew, it was a painting that was much more than that. This painting took a lot of effort and time, but most importantly, my dedication. My endless dedication to keeping a pet, and the dedication it took me to paint her the best I could, with my whole heart. I painted it because I love this dog.

We adopted Ginger when she was only six months old. She was terrified of us, crying as we brought her home. And when I saw her, I was stunned to realize I was in the exact same position. My family and I had just moved to Canada from Korea, and the culture difference was huge. I had a new school, new friends, and everything was so horrifyingly frightening I didn't know what to do. So watching the dog that first night, roaming our apartment in new-found curiosity but in also fear of something new, I knew I wanted to take care of her for a long, long time. And as days and weeks and years passed, of course we developed a bond that only a girl and her dog can have. She'd cuddle up with me when I feel lonely, when I feel tired, and her silence when I needed an escape from the world helped me trudge through my day. I struggled with the new environment of Canada, and every day was hard. Whenever I felt as if I couldn't fit in or like I would burst into tears, it would feel better when I came home to see that someone, even a dog, was waiting for me, ready to be there if I cried.

While my family moved to Canada eight years ago, my father still lives across the world from us because of his job. My mother is always waiting for a call, or a message, saying he'll come back or that he got a day off from work. Which is about twice a year, if we're lucky. When he has to cancel a trip back home, or tell us he won't be coming back for another few months, my mother would become upset and miserable, and Ginger would know. She crawls into her arms and licks her face until she momentarily forgets about missing my father and smiles. That's one of the things I love about Ginger, a little furball who can't talk, function, think or act like a human, and dogs in general. They're goofy and naive, but they always make you smile when things are hard.

Now I see her greying muzzle, her slower pace, and already long naps, and dread the day where she'll leave us. At age eight, she's already a senior. And it terrifies me every day that she might collapse or never wake up from one of her naps.

But while I know I will mourn her, I will be grateful. She was the first thing outside of my family that I loved truly as my own. And I feel that because I did, and I do, I can take care of and love so many other things. Including myself and the person I'd grown into all those years in Canada.

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