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Lumbee, the Splatter Dog

Soul Animal Stories

Lumbee found his way to our family as a foster dog. He had been trained in a women’s inmate program for basic obedience and he also knew some good tricks. After 2 families returned him to the rescue, the administrator contacted me.  

When we arrived to meet Lumbee, he was a rumbling swath of energy with gangly legs and a tail wagging his entire body. He was a BIG puppy. I immediately suspected that the previous family rejections may have been inspired by his size and enthusiasm. His happy face didn’t have any sign of hesitation or worry. He was overjoyed to meet us.  

After arriving at home and walking around the yard for a while, we took the proper safety precautions and introduced him to our dog Daisy. She was happy to meet Lumbee and it took her no time at all to warn him about crowding her space. Lumbee took her warning seriously and respected her immediately.  The same was true with the cats. Our resident senior cat had no problem with a slash across the face when Lumbee tried to bury his nose into her side. After that, he wasn’t really interested in the cats and went out of his way to give them space.

We continued to proceed with caution, taking him on walks and exposing him to different places and people. We introduced him to kids. He LOVED kids. I can see how people might have confused his awkward enthusiasm for playing with balls to be aggression.  I observed it to be pure, focused, enthusiasm that required supervision. 

As time went on, we were smitten by his charming smile and endless devotion to being up for whatever the task at hand. He wanted to be doing whatever we were doing. He would settle in his crate overnight and he never chewed anything (except his toys) or made a mess in the house. He continued to grow. He continued to win our hearts and we decided to adopt him. 

He matured at 90 pounds and stayed fully focused on balls and entertainment.  We called him Big Love. He spread joy to everyone he met and always wanted to be with kids when they were around. He was the best at making people smile and believed with all of his heart that he was a snuggly lap dog. 

While snuggling on the couch, I noticed a lump in his flank area that we kept an eye on. Eventually, the vet suggested that it be removed and tested. It was a mast cell tumor and which is a form of cancer in dogs. Through his treatments he became a favorite at the vet hospital. Everyone was delighted to see his happy smile and giant wiggles no matter what the situation. One vet commented that he was the happiest “sick” dog she had ever met.

He was 3 years cancer free. Bouncing and wiggling his joyful energy out to anyone willing to meet him. His loud and authoritative, sometimes intimidating, shepherd bark didn’t match his wiggly enthusiasm. His coonhound song was one that inspired everyone to sing along. And most importantly, he was the most comforting, 90 pound snuggle buddy a person on the couch could ever meet. (…did I mention that he thought he was a lap dog?)

The soul portrait by Harriet captures his essence. It shows his wonderful smile and enthusiasm, and his ability to radiate joy. We are delighted to have such a meaningful piece of art that reminds us every day of the joy that Lumbee brought into our daily life.


When I opened the soul essence portrait of my dog Lumbee, it was like he  jumped right out of the box to greet me! There was an instant connection.

 This beautiful art reminds me that energy of our connection is alive and well! Harriet was able to capture that essence in a piece of art that we are happy to display.  When I put the portrait on the wall, Daisy immediately jumped up to inspect the painting with ears at full alert and tail wagging. She glanced at me as if to say she was equally delighted to have his energy take form through this painting.


Animal Communicator