05/15/2013 10:44 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Immortalizing My Dog

Felice Shapiro

I love my dog so much I had her face painted on a bowl that I don't plan to eat out of. It's for display.

I love my doggie, Jazz, who is now 8 years old and came into my life less than a month after my Wheaton, JoJo, went to sleep at the foot of my bed and didn't wake up in the morning. JoJo was 10.

I had no idea that when your world turns upside down, four paws may be the only thing that creates ballast and comfort.

My boys made me get Jazz, a spanking-new puppy, just two weeks after our beloved JoJo died, just three weeks after they lost their dad.

"I'm single, and you're both off to college next year, so I can't get a dog."

"Ridiculous Mom, this house is depressing without a dog (not to mention) we need a dog. And about being single, you'll figure that out."

I agreed to a pet store drive-by. From the moment we entered the pet store, our spirits lifted -- adorable cockapoos clamoring to be claimed. Within minutes, my boy had a little one in his arms. He looked at me with an ear-to-ear smile and said -- PLEASE!

Irresistible. A few hours later, we walked out of the pet store with a runty little Cockapoo who we instantly named after their dad's favorite music genre -- Jazz.

Turned out Jazz was a New Age puppy born for the task of healing. Despite her starved look, she was up for anything we dished out, except food. No matter, she ate what she needed and she was ready for play and love.

Jazz has slept in my bed with me ever since, and I am convinced her mission on earth is to make everyone feel better.

Not only did Jazz become the centerpiece of our life, but she is now the centerpiece on our kitchen table. I discovered an amazing ceramicist who paints dog portraits on all kinds bowls and plates -- I was referred to her by my dog-loving friend, Katie.

If you want your pet to become a permanent fixture in your home, I recommend this amazing artist, Anne Bullard, to all pet lovers. Check out her site at

Read more from Better After 50:
The Dog Is Dead And That's OK
Losing My Hearing and Finding Jill
Empty Nest? Nurture The Dog
The Science of Happiness and Pets