The galleries of artCentral are filled with beautiful, friendly dogs, dogs and more dogs exquisitely rendered in oil and watercolor by Michael Steddum.

The galleries of artCentral are filled with beautiful, friendly dogs, dogs and more dogs exquisitely rendered in oil and watercolor by Michael Steddum.
All will be available along with fine arts prints and notecards for Michael’s upcoming exhibition: “unleashed! DOG SHOW” opening Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, with an artist reception, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. The public is invited. Admission is free. The exhibit continues through Nov. 12, 2017, generously underwritten by HOMETOWN BANK. For information call (417) 358-4404.
Anticipating and making plans for Michael’s exhibit, David’s and my conversations — at home and at artCentral — have been very canine centric about the dog companions we’ve both enjoyed.
I reminisce about missing my Australia Shepherd, Sasha, and Lab-Collie, Lucia. Both were with me for almost 20 years, passing shortly before I moved to Carthage. David knows how much I loved them.
Now with us are David’s beloved six-years-old Wheaten Terrier-Poodle, Chiquita along with his ancient and grand white cat, Ding. For me they’re like a priceless furry dowry — the ready-made family David brings to our marriage. We talk to them and about them a lot.
David and I often get what we talk about. We’re frequently amazed at how quickly our thoughts and words turn into realities. I’m holding our newest as I write.
Waking one recent morning, preparing to set the tone for our day by speaking our intentions, we reflect on the fullness and fast forward twirling of our life. We agree we want to simplify and create more spaciousness — to have more room to receive newness and to savor the newness that comes.
We speak our intentions accordingly and launch into the work of our day. Meeting up for lunch we stop by one of my favorite places — our local feed store where we restock supplies for our feathered ones—our four laying hens. I’m always quick to go in fast and get my first breath of all those grainy aromas I love.
David, slows me down saying, “Did you see that sign on the door, the one offering Aussi puppies?” In my eagerness to be inside, I passed right by. I go back to check the details. Sure enough six-week-old pups are available not too far out of town. The attached picture shows a litter of red merles—plump, little brothers and sisters gathered around their communal feed bowl. My heart sings just seeing them.
“Do you want to go look today?” asks David who is scheduled back at the library for his afternoon gig in reference. “Oh, yes! yes!” say I, “then we can go again tomorrow afternoon and choose one together. Today, I’ll just look.”
I do. I go and I look and then I just can’t help myself: I write our check without ever putting down the littlest, bright blue-eyed female I chose and gathered up the moment I saw her.
Now we’re lamenting how fast she’s growing and learning, her puppyhood slipping by so, so quickly. Trying to anticipate her ever changing needs, I’m speed reading “The Art of Raising a Puppy” by the monks of New Skete, famous for training pups. So far, our love and instincts seem to have us doing most things right.
The day we bring her home we take her to Art Walk and watch our chilled out little wonder being passed without even a whimper from one set of arms to the next — woman to man, man to child. The book says this is perfect socialization.
By the second day we know her name — Lasyrenn (“la se wren,” the siren). In Haitian Creole legend, Lasyrenn, is the patron of artists and musicians. She turns poor, ordinary women into community leaders and healers. She pulls them beneath the waters and gives them spiritual instruction and newness of life.
We’re giving Lasyrenn lots of stimulating newness, like her name and the monks suggests. While we paint fire hydrants, she sleeps in her artCentral green kennel. She has a mini swim beneath the fountain in Central Park. When keys jingle she knows her food is ready. She learns to go up and down our front steps, following Chiquita’s example.
While we look forward to sharing Michael Steddum’s marvelous painting skills in “unleashed! DOG SHOW,” we’ll continue to practice honing our own skills at the art of raising a puppy — our words made manifest as our precious Lasyrenn.  
The opening reception for “unleashed! DOG SHOW” is 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Friday, October 6. The public is invited. Admission is free. The exhibit continues through November 12, 2017, generously underwritten by HOMETOWN BANK.
For information call (417) 358-4404.

 Gallery hours: Fridays & Saturdays noon-5 p.m., Sundays 1 p.m.-5 p.m. All other days call (417) 358-4404 to schedule a visit.