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On Wednesday, June 18, 2014 around 5:30 p.m. I had to say goodbye to my best friend of 15 years. He was a constant, my baby boy and my best friend. He was and still is my main inspiration for creating my animal-related paintings and pet portraits.

He was with me through thick and thin. I love him and although he is still with me in spirit, I miss him dearly every single day. I’m adjusting to this next chapter in my life, and as hard as it has been, I wouldn’t trade our time together for anything in the universe. There is nothing in this world like the friendship between a human and animal companion. I am truly grateful for whatever forces are out there that they brought Rushmore and I together and allowed us to be such good friends for such a long time. He taught me a lot about myself and about life. I miss you Rushy-poo, you will always be my main man.

If you want to read Rushmore’s biography you can do so here:
http://www.willeskridge.com/rushmore/

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I grew up with a veterinarian as a father and an artist as a mother. Having a father as a veterinarian instilled in me a deep affinity for animals. All the animal companions we took in were rejects from Dad’s practice whom clients had left behind.

Helping out at my father’s practice gave me direct behind-the-scenes access into the lives of animals on a daily basis. It is hard to pinpoint an exact time, but I was very young when I slowly realized that animals were not all that different than humans. Time and time again I saw various cats and dogs expressing emotion and feeling beyond basic instinct. Witnessing both happy moments and not so happy moments between owners and pets made me realize the massive impact animals have on humans and vice versa. Some call it energy. Some call it spirit. But we can all agree that there is something connecting us all. To paraphrase: We are not animal beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having an animal experience.

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