From Art Student to Artist: How I Got My Girl Back! Contributed by Dawn Rexrode

Dawns Golden Retriever
When I was younger I loved to draw. In high school I didn’t take art but chorus instead because that’s what all my friends did. My senior year I decided I had enough of chorus. I wasn’t enjoying it at all so I switched to art and loved every minute of it. I wonder now why I wasted all those years in chorus.

As I headed off to college I had no idea what I wanted to do. I took basic classes, never considering art as a career option. I grew up in a family that didn’t consider art as a means of making a living, rather as a hobby.

Many years later I moved to the beach with my parents and got a job as a secretary. I stopped drawing, got married, and had two girls- who I sent to a local school of the arts. I loved seeing what their art teacher was teaching them. At the end of one year a note came home saying the teacher was looking for a parent helper for the following year. Something inside of me got really excited. So that next year I went in and said I was willing to help. In the class twice a week, I helped cut paper and get supplies ready for the children. Most of all I loved talking with the art teacher and watching her teach and actually started learning myself.

Digging out my old art supplies, I started drawing again. I took things in for her to see and help me with. She recommended I give colored pencils a try and I did. I drew a picture of my Golden Retriever and really impressed myself. Upon posting the drawing for friends to see on Facebook, I immediately had friends say how good it was and that I should draw more pictures and even ask me if I would draw their pets- which I did. I ended up creating a Facebook page for my drawings and people I didn’t know began to also request drawings. I was making money for something I loved to do. What a great feeling that was!

Last year after the Newtown Connecticut. school shooting I was watching the news and there were lots of Golden Retrievers with handlers who had come from all across the country to comfort people. I started doing research and felt inspired to draw of one of the photos I saw. I shared it on their Comfort Dogs Facebook page and several of the handlers and followers commented on how much they loved my work. Since that time I have received many commissions and donated drawings of comfort dogs to their handlers. Many people have told me that I’m a blessing to them and that my work is a gift from God. What a great feeling it is to hear that.

I have found my true passion again- It makes me feel whole. I was missing something in my life by not drawing and once I started doing it, my life was so much better with less stress and much more relaxation.

I still volunteer at the school every week and will do so as long as that teacher is there. She has become a wonderful friend. “The teacher comes when the student is ready.” What a true statement that is. I was meant to see the note about the art teacher needing a helper and was ready for a change in my life. This experience helped me “Get My Girl Back” and I will be forever grateful! If you want to get your girl back, download the first chapter of Traci’s forthcoming book, Get Your Girl Back at

Story contributed by Dawn Rexrode, DE.


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