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Still in Motion Home  //  Leslie Elsasser - Introduction  //  Selina Roman - Mind Currents  //  Christian Cortes

Roxi Cato - US Army  //  Wildalys Class - US Air Force  //  Agustin Collazo Jr. - US Navy and Marine Corps  //  Michael Congdon - US Army  //  Giovanna Delacruz - US Air Force  //  Amanda Dodd - US Army  //  Dawn S. Hargrett - US Navy  //  Evan Fountain - US Air Force  //  Mark Freeman - US Army  //  Robert Kidney - US Coast Guard  //  Mikko Maki - US Marine Corps  //  Alicia Morales - US Army  //  RaeAnne Swanson - US Air Force

James Alexander - US Air Force  //  Wildalys Class - US Air Force  //  Dwight English - US Army  //  Loretta Fields - US Army  //  Mikko Maki - US Marine Corps  //  Matias - US Marine Corps


RaeAnne Swanson, Memories of My Maverick, 2021

RaeAnne Swanson, Memories of My Maverick, 2021


Memories of My Maverick

I remember the first day I saw him like it was yesterday, even though it was almost twenty five years ago. He was at the Humane Society in Tucson, Arizona and was so excited that I stopped to talk to him. He was just a puppy, about four months old, and he had the most beautiful brindle coat and the stature of a shepherd. After bending down and petting him and talking to him for a few minutes, I got up and turned to walk to the next kennel. It was then that this sweet, happy puppy leaned against the wall and just slid down as if to say, “she doesn’t want me either.”

I knew at that moment that “Kenny” (his shelter name) had to be mine, and that he needed a unique name. It took me a few days, but I decided on “Maverick” because he was a special and a beautiful kind of different.

It is so hard to put into words the love that Maverick brought to me and my children. He was the dog who had to get in the car every morning to take them to school, the dog who spent hours listening to them read books and sing songs, the dog that let them lay on him like a pillow, the dog who loved every person and dog he met at the dog park on Saturday mornings.

Maverick was excited to share in any moment of happiness as if he truly understood what was happening in that moment, and he also sensed when you were sad or upset and he was always there to comfort you.

When Maverick would run to greet you, it was like he was smiling, and he earned the nickname “Smilin’ Mav” from the many friends and neighbors he always greeted with enthusiasm.

I still see him out of the corner of my eye when I least expect it, and it brings back so many happy memories of him, and it often brings tears because I have missed him each and every day since he passed over the rainbow bridge a little over eight years ago.

Memories of My Maverick is my way to honor the life of a special member of our family and share with others the true joy that one “shelter dog” can bring to the hearts of so many.



RaeAnne Swanson, A Split Sky, 2021

RaeAnne Swanson, A Split Sky, 2021

RaeAnne Swanson, Tranquil Reflections, 2021

RaeAnne Swanson, Tranquil Reflections, 2021



For more information:
Email Leslie Elsasser at

Breaking Barriers is a project by USFCAM in collaboration with the USF School of Art and Art History, with Support from the USF Office of Veterans Success, Community Arts Impact Grant Program of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Love IV Lawrence 2020 Waves of Change Grant, and additional support from the ACE Arts for Community Engagement Fund and the Florida Department of State.