His name is Lukas and he’s the current holder of the Guinness Book of World Records for the Smartest Horse. His owner and best friend Karen Murdock is a loving and enlightened woman who’s devoted her life to teaching a simple yet powerful method of training animals using kindness and affection.
When I first learned of Karen and Lukas, I wanted to create a portrait of Lukas as a donation to them for their tireless and humble efforts. I contacted Karen and we set up an appointment.
Upon meeting Lukas, I was overwhelmed with how affectionate, interactive and communicative he was. Eager to express the love and devotion he and Karen share, he spoke of his gratitude for being rescued (he’s an off the track thoroughbred) as well as how important their work together has become. I asked him if he realized what an impact he was having on the lives of both people and animals. His matter-of-fact reply was “Well, it’s just what we do”. When I queried him about his up-coming portrait, (I always ask my animal subjects if they have anything special in mind for their painting) he said he wanted it to speak to Karen’s heart. “She and I are like one.”
As the weeks progressed and I worked on Lukas’ portrait, we posted photos of the painting on his facebook page along with communications Lukas and I were having. His fans watched as Lukas’ portrait unfolded; I was thrilled to share my remarkable experiences with such an exceptional horse.
Of all the animals whose portraits I’ve created, Lukas is by far one of the most unforgettable; I was deeply touched by him. His dignity, his uplifting sense of humor and most importantly his message of kindness, dedication and love are far reaching. Lukas continues to inspire individuals and organizations all around the world. Through the work that he and Karen are doing, people from all walks of life are recognizing animals as the highly intelligent, living souls they are. Karen and Lukas are showing others that by treating animals with the respect, patience and tenderness they deserve, our lives can be filled with unconditional love, hope and wonder.
Debra Saum Blog – To find out more about animals, true stories, her art, books and other great stuff please visit Debra’s blog.