So there I am, standing in a line, with the other contestants on Skin Wars, wondering what next will happen next. The challenge? Super heroes. As a kid, I was into puppies and bunnies and unicorns. *Still am… but also… I was DEEPLY into Wonder Woman. I have distinct memories of twirling down the driveway, imagining I was WW, transforming, deflecting bullets with my bulletproof bracelets, dodging bad guys until I could hop into my invisible jet!
Besides Wonder Woman, I really didn’t know much about super heroes. Lucky for me… the guest judge who came onto the set, was Lynda Carter herself! Of course, I was over whelmed. My goal on the show was not to cry; (that much!) But I felt my face getting red, and I felt the tears welling up in my eyes, and my throat tightened, as I found myself face to face with my inspirational idol.
Everyone asked me, what was Lynda Carter like? Well, for one, absolutely gorgeous, strong, tall standing, stylish, kind, and with gentle eyes. http://youtu.be/Qe40crACkug As I started to imagine what my design would look like, I knew I wanted some Wonder Woman flavor to my character. I painted Rescuer Rosie, because if I were to paint myself as a superhero, that is who I would be.
I am the transport girl for animal rescues and wildlife rehabilitators. I pick up a dog, bird, squirrel, one winged vulture, baby bunny etc at point A and drive it to point B. I have personally delivered and released hawks, eagles, and other raptors, I’ve dealt with vulture vomit and possum poo, gopher tortoises, as well as dogs and cats. When I worked BRIEFLY for the Orange City Animal Control in December of 2007, I got a call in to pick up two puppies. There was no address. My instructions were to drive into dilapidated neighborhood, and look for a kid on a bicycle, who would then take me the rest of the way, to show me the puppies. Now, if that sounds shady as hell to you, it also did to me! I found the kid, and he rode on his bike in front of my Honda Element, and he led me to a house, which was half built, and not inhabited by anyone. There in the back, was a large metal crate, which was rusty, and inside it, were two completely emaciated puppies, quietly sitting, waiting, and as I approached, their tails began to thump, and they began to cower away from me. I was totally shocked. I asked the boy how long they were there for, and he said, they just showed up, but were keeping him up at night, crying. I tried the door on the crate, and it was rusted shut. I then went to pick up the crate, which had no pan at the bottom, and both of the puppies fell out of the openings with their awkward, thin legs. I scooped up the pups, and put them in the back of my truck, to eat and drink and they did so, as if they hadn’t ever had anything. I then started to question the kid, and the next door neighbor, who asked for financial help feeding his own dog. I told him I was available to take his other dog, right then and there, if he wanted to surrender it to me. He declined. I left the scene, taking note of his name and his circumstances with his dog. I started to drive to the shelter, looking at the babies in the rear view, thinking… Okay… you guys have 72 hours to be adopted, before you are euthanized… and it’s 5 o’clock, and the animal pickup is closed… my instructions were to take the puppies to the outside crate area, where there is no warmth, and leave them in there, in the freezing cold, to be booked in the morning to the kill shelter. There had to be another answer. I was desperate. I knew I couldn’t bring the dogs home to my house, because I have my own animals to care for and couldn’t risk their health if the puppies happened to have a virus or a mange. I saw a fire truck at a pizza place in DeLand, and whipped in, asking the firemen if they would want to do a good deed… nobody could help me. Then I pulled into the natural food store, thinking, surely someone would have compassion, just a place for the babies to stay overnight, at any rate… no such luck. Just as I was about to accept that my efforts were in vane, I saw the vet at DeLand Animal Hospital leaving for the day. I pulled up next to him, and pleaded with him desperately, to help me, that I would make a donation, and that I couldn’t bear to see these animals die… it was only my third day on the job. He looked at them, their giant eyes, their tiny bodies, and he accepted the challenge. The clinic named them Bonnie and Clyde, and I visited them every other day and I was surprised as they fattened up quite quickly. “It’s amazing what food can do…” said the good doctor. I played with them in the yard, and I watched them beef up and be happy dogs, living in the moment, and I heard they were adopted by separate owners, but they also have play dates, and lead spoiled lives, as they attend the doggie daycare, of a client I used to paint murals for! To this day, this event, was the BEST thing I ever did. Ever. It felt so good to be a part in saving these precious lives, and enforced my passion for helping small creatures. When I was given the challenge at Skin Wars, to do a Super hero based on myself, I knew it had to be about animal rescue. I picked one of my favorites to plug on the show, Second Chance Rescue in Bunnell Florida, which you can read all about, and see pictures of in the Philanthropy section of this website. I wanted to illustrate all the different kinds of animals that are helped there at Second Chance, including pigs, dogs, cats, peacocks, cows, horses, goats, geese and ducks! I felt like it was important to show the faces of these animals in the top part of my superhero, but then I also wanted to add on some clothing details, like a magic leash, instead of a magic lasso… and enchanted dog biscuits and a garter with donations. I also included hands as a part of my design. My thought was, it takes several helping hands of the rescue machine to make a successful rescue. First there is the person who reports the abuse, or calls for help on behalf of an animal. Super important. Next is the person who goes to get the animal. Then there is the foster who takes the animal overnight, sometimes for weeks, until it is vetted and adopted. The Vets that give their lowest costs to help the rescue. Then there is the rescue itself, and the adoptee… and lastly, the worker who makes the home check, and makes sure that the home is safe for their newest family member. So without each of these people, animal rescue would be a broken rope swing.
I made the knickers on Rescuer Rosie to look like Wonder Woman’s (I thought Lynda would love that) and I sponged on Glimmer Body Art Glue to coat the farm boots of my hero, (the same kind of cowboy boots that rescuers wear to muck stalls) and then dumped lots of gold glitter all over them! I also painted an alter on the back of my hero, as a remembrance of all the animals that we couldn’t save, their lives are not in vain, and we remember them. We can’t save them all, but the ones we do save… it matters to them.
My superhero piece was a very personal, tribute to the animals who have given me these incredible rescue experiences, like a “thank you” to Bonnie and Clyde. Even though the judges didn’t understand my artwork, I’m so glad that I painted it the way that I did, because maybe it touched the heart of someone else, maybe someone got some education, maybe someone will look up Second Chance and make a donation. This moment on Skin Wars is my platform, and of course I’m gonna stand up for what I believe in. Here is the “Ask Shannon” recording from after the Lynda Carter episode! Enjoy this funny stuff!